Waiting three years to deliver a worthy sequel to the head-turning "EA Sports UFC 4," EA Vancouver manages to reinject energy into the mixed martial arts franchise.
A more brutal and punishing take than any UFC game I've played, the new entry revels in the crowd-pleasing violence of the sport, playing up the gritty realism that draws fans to the octagon. That said, the action -- while highly technical -- isn't close to a one-to-one match with the real deal.
Matches in the game emphasize arcade-style elements, with high-flying kicks and wild knockouts. Even the ground game, which tends to slow down real-life fights, is entertaining, with stylish reversals, frenzied beatdowns and a nuanced grapple game.
The story mode helps you live out your UFC rags-to-riches fantasies, with a fighter creator that allows you to add personal touches to your avatar. With loads of game modes and an in-depth tutorial that shows you the ropes without making you feel overburdened by the flood of instruction, you feel as though the work you put in on the bag plays off when you're in a fight.
Arguably the most complete and successful of EA's 2023 suite of sports games, "EA Sports UFC 5" plays well to the crowd and nails the basics in order to emphasize free-flowing action. The period release schedule has paid off well.
Excellent commentary underlines the stellar presentation aspects, which manage to match the fanfare you'll catch on PPV.
Publisher provided review code.