Posted August 13, 2020 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

EA Sports UFC 4 Review-in-Progress

There are times in a persons life when things can get tough. Times like right now, where the only people I’m allowed to physically see are my wife and daughter because of COVID. So, as I surveyed the landscape of upcoming games, I looked for the most un-COVID game I could think of. A game where I could do all of the things the world has told me not to do. A game where I could let my imagination run wild and pretend that the world wasn’t imploding for half a second. What is the most un-COVID thing I could think of? Kicking people in the face and grappling them on the floor, of course, just like I did back in 2016. Here are my early impressions of EA Sports UFC 4.

Booting up the game for the first time, I was thrown straight into the story mode. Unlike other games that focus on giving you options up front, EA Sports UFC 4 puts you straight into the game’s campaign, familiarising you with its controls and systems. I both liked and loathed the approach, because while it was great to be given a crash coarse on the game, it also meant that my first hour was spent in fights with no way to work on my character’s stats or abilities, and no obvious way to check out any other parts of the game.

With that said, the opening of the campaign gave me a good look at some of the different fighting styles in the game. Each fight introduced an opponent that used a different style, while the down periods between them introduced new mechanics and combos. I walked into each fight with a new set of moves to try out, gradually building my repertoire. Even if it felt like it ran on a little too long, it was certainly an in-depth way to bring me up to speed.

The opening also gave me a good feel for how the game played. The controls were responsive, with nothing getting in the way of my strikes, and the strikes felt impactful as they landed (both on my opponents and myself). I could feel and see the difference between lighter and heavier strikes, with satisfying thuds as my leg cannoned into the side of my opponent’s head. Being grappled onto the ground feels suffocating and oppressive, just as it should, with the weight of my fighter holding an opponent down. Successful blocks cause limbs to bound back, while damage begins appearing on your skin as more hits land. I’ve only played for a short while yet, but the game feels like it should.

After being thrown into the main menu of the game after completing the opening of the campaign, I spent a bit more time working on my character before continuing my career as an up and coming UFC star. There were plenty of stats to dump my earnt points into, and having spent so much time already fighting I was able to pinpoint the specific areas I wanted to improve, such as stamina and kicking power. Yes, I might have picked Kickboxer as my fighting style. From there, it was onto accepting fight contracts, continuing to expand my fanbase and move up to bigger and better opponents.

There’s still plenty of modes I need to jump into and features I need to check out in EA Sports UFC 4, but the early going has been good so far. The slightly too long opening to the game ended right before it would have gotten too frustrating, but the excellent fight mechanics have made up for it. I’m eager to put more hours into the game, so stay tuned for my full review of EA Sports UFC 4 in the near future.

EA Sports UFC 4 is being reviewed on an Xbox One X console, with a review copy provided by the publisher.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.