‘UFC 5’: A Familiar Ring with Limited Innovation Leaves Fans Wanting More
The Electronic Arts’ “UFC” series has been a standout in the gaming world, breaking away from the annual release cycle common in other sports franchises. However, the eagerly anticipated “UFC 5” falls short of delivering the groundbreaking changes fans had hoped for, despite a substantial development gap of over three years since its predecessor.
Striving for unparalleled realism in mixed martial arts gaming, “UFC 5” succeeds in capturing the authentic look and movement of real UFC fights. The game’s combat mechanics offer a satisfying level of responsiveness, with a rewarding learning curve for mastering strike timing and grappling techniques. While the overall presentation remains commendable, some animations still falter, coming off as awkward and stiff, leaving a taste of familiarity rather than innovation.
Visual enhancements bring a new level of intensity to the game, as the revamped visual damage system earns “UFC 5” an M rating, a departure from the T ratings of its predecessors. Cuts and swelling occur more frequently, sometimes leading to fight stoppages, creating a more visceral and dramatic experience. While the bloodied fighters may appear grotesque, the added realism contributes to the overall authenticity of the in-game battles, providing a sense of accomplishment after enduring a grueling match.
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In an attempt to introduce fresh content, “UFC 5” introduces the Fight Week mode, allowing players to make predictions on real-life UFC events and earn in-game currency for accurate picks. While the concept is intriguing, it feels somewhat underutilized, missing the opportunity to incorporate a broader selection of classic and dream matches from the game’s extensive roster. The mode’s novelty falls short of translating into substantial gameplay experiences.
The returning career mode, a divisive element among players in previous iterations, maintains its structure with few improvements. Complaints about the lack of engaging narratives persist, with players spending significant time in training camps rather than actual fights. While cutscenes remain largely unchanged from “UFC 4,” players can now simulate training camps, providing a slight alleviation. However, the career mode still primarily revolves around menu navigation and sparring, leaving room for a more immersive alternative.
Despite its merits, “UFC 5” feels eerily similar to its predecessor, raising questions about the justification for the “5” in its title. Live service elements contribute to a sense of the game being half-baked, leaving fans with a yearning for more substantial improvements. The lack of innovation in the career mode is particularly disappointing, contributing to a sense of monotony for those who have experienced previous installments.
Controversially, “UFC 5” fails to innovate despite a three-year gap from its predecessor. While it simulates realistic combat and introduces a revamped visual damage system, it struggles to differentiate fighters and modes significantly from “UFC 4.” The addition of the Fight Week mode, while interesting, lacks depth in gameplay. The unchanged career mode disappoints with repetitive training sessions dominating the experience. Despite minor updates, the game’s similarities and live service elements diminish its value as a true sequel, leaving it feeling half-developed. The underwhelming changes and lack of substantial improvements might warrant waiting for a sale, garnering a mere three-star rating despite its solid gameplay.