EA Sports UFC Mobile 2, the review of the MMA simulation in portable version



Mixed martial arts fighting comes to smartphones with EA Sports UFC Mobile 2, let’s see how it looks in this review

There are some genres that just can’t find a worthy adaptation on mobile platforms – at least considering the standard fruition of games on smartphones – and fighting games, or fighting games in general, seem to fall precisely into this category. This is unless you can find some particular compromises, changing the standard features to be able to carry a fighting game on a portable device with touch screen, as we see in this review of EA Sports UFC Mobile 2 on mobile platforms, but the results can be rather disappointing for those who expect a faithful transposition of the original classic experience.

A game so strongly focused on the control system and on the timing in performing moves and countermoves can not be well in this context, so a deep adaptation to create an alternative designed specifically for iOS and Android is – at least ideally – the best solution, but obviously risks distorting a bit ‘all the structure to which it should refer, as happens in this case.

EA Sports UFC Mobile 2 on iOS and Android comes from a good work in terms of concept, evolving what was done with the first chapter and adapting it even better to mobile use, but in this way moving away even more clearly from what should be the spirit of a fighting game.

The result is a middle ground, a compromise that works perfectly with the touch screen but fails to be as engaging as a fighting game or a real fight simulation, also burdened by the usual complications of free-to-play games between in-game currencies, energy depletion and micro-transactions. The aim of the game is to evolve your gym by hiring new fighters and bringing them to win matches in order to climb the world rankings, so we see on the one hand some management elements on the evolution of the fighters and on the other hand the main element of the game experience: the fight in the octagon.

Gameplay: fights and workouts

EA Sports UFC Mobile 2, a scene from a fight

UFC 2 takes advantage of the official license of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, offering real fighters from the mixed martial arts organization, which is obviously a big plus for MMA fans. For everyone else, the game perhaps doesn’t have much to offer, beyond a truly remarkable technical impact on mobile platforms, with a very spectacular look even on devices that aren’t overly advanced. In the role of owner of a new emerging gym, we find ourselves recruiting new fighters and evolving them, winning fights and climbing the world rankings through a Campaign mode with progressive matches and limited time live events.

The gameplay is essentially divided between the fight in the octagon and the management of the fighters, with training to be done in the gym, the conquest of new fighter cards and challenges and the use of bonuses and consumables to increase the value and power of the fighters.

The fighting phase in the ring takes place in real time, but is based on a highly simplified fighting mechanics to meet the use of the touch screen and the typical mobile use, with very short matches with an extremely gradual challenge rate.

EA Sports UFC Mobile 2, some of the real licensed fighters featured in the game

The controls are based on quick touches and swipes to perform fast, medium or powerful blows and chain them into combos, with the addition of a few special abilities characteristic for each fighter. Being a game inspired by reality, deriving from a sort of real simulation, the fights tend to realism and do not present the fantastic spectacle typical of the classic fighting game: here we are dealing with real athletes who fight using real moves, so even the game mechanics is necessarily simpler and more repetitive. Basically, it’s mainly about dodging and parrying at the right time or starting your own attacks trying to avoid the opponent’s guard, however the considerable input lag makes it all a bit ‘random, while the artificial intelligence is not very advanced and lowers the level of challenge and strategy required to win the matches.

Entertainment and micro-management

EA Sports UFC Mobile 2, the progression between fights to get to the top

Looking at images and videos it’s easy to notice the most striking aspect of EA Sports UFC Mobile 2, namely its realistic graphics that manages to have a great impact, thanks to animations built with a good use of motion capture. This is probably the most satisfying aspect of the game, which makes you want to go back to the octagon to take part in new fights, at least until you realize that there aren’t that many variables involved and the experience tends to be a bit repetitive. At least, some tactical elements of a certain interest have been introduced: for example, there are different fighting styles to which the various fighters belong, and in order to face a fight in the most balanced or advantageous way possible, it is advisable to select the fighter with the style that can best counter the opponent, according to a circular scheme like “rock-paper-scissors”.

Beyond the rather limited gameplay mechanics of attack and defense, an aspect that tends to flatten the gaming experience is the fact that the fight is mainly focused on the power level of the fighter, which can be increased through the purchase of bonuses in the various in-game currencies. This introduces a kind of grinding, which leads to advancement in the game simply through the purchase and application of power-ups through training rather than actual improvements in the player’s ability. If you combine this with the whole apparatus of micro-transactions is easy to understand how UFC 2 falls precisely in the classic problems of free-to-play, although to tell the truth presents a very gradual introduction and allows you to play for quite a while ‘without running into any paywall.

Comment

Given the impossibility to propose a real fighting game on mobile platforms, due to interface and general fruition limits, the construction of an alternative model like the one present in EA Sports UFC Mobile 2 is however commendable. As a matter of fact, it’s a pretty complete MMA simulation in pocket format, whose actual gameplay – as far as the fight in the octagon is concerned – is mainly undermined by a certain input lag as well as by a certain repetitiveness given by the limited number of attack and defense solutions, but these are the consequences of the search for realism, so they can’t be fully considered defects. The biggest problem of the game is its progressive structure based mainly on the accumulation of experience points and leveling, rather than the actual ability to refine tactics and execution of moves, which turns into a kind of continuous grinding aggravated by micro-transactions. Taking it slowly and philosophically can be an interesting title, but especially for fans of MMA.

PRO

  • Pretty spectacular from an aesthetic point of view
  • Simplified controls for the touch screen work quite well
  • Numerous licensed wrestlers, trainings and fights to perform
  • The mechanics of the fights are far too basic
  • Competition is based more on the power level achieved than on skill
  • Various classic free-to-play drifts
  • Have you noticed any errors?
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.