Every year EA Sports delivers a myriad of annual sports games aimed to provide as realistic of an experience as possible while maintaining a fun factor, and this year CGMagazine got an opportunity to check out UFC 5 and this year it gets bloody.
A Smooth Camp
The latest installment of the UFC fighting game franchise has made many notable improvements over its predecessor provided by the preview. This year, EA Sports has opted to use the Frostbite Engine over last year’s Ignite, which has given the title an overall look of polish consistent with what is found on this generation of consoles. UFC 5 can run at a crisp 60 FPS with lifelike rendering.
This attention to detail proves EA is attempting to lose no rounds this time around, and to provide an even more dynamic experience next-gen lighting and shading have been added to really showcase the fighters, their movements, and their performance inside the octagon. Of course with next-gen lighting and movements, UFC 5 will be an Xbox Series S/X and PS5 exclusive title.
Dramatic lighting and moments present in the previous EA Sports Fight Night series of combat sports games were added to showcase pivotal moments in bouts. UFC Legend Daniel Cormier and Jon Anik are present in the booth as the commentary team as they are in real life, bringing fans as close to the action as possible. Further on realism, UFC 5 showcased strand hair technology (which Dustin Poirier, known for caring about his own hair mechanics, would appreciate), and fighter likeness placed at the forefront of animations to provide impactful confrontations.
Facial animations have also been expanded on, so a fighter will outwardly grimace when reeling from a devastating leg kick. This time around UFC 5 has introduced serious realistic body damage. The addition of unedited authenticity allows blood from one fighter to transfer to the other uninjured fighter as it does in the real octagon, which oddly looks similar to trading paint in a racing game.
Body damage goes the distance with the fighter, if a leg is hit too many times a fighter will limp, and the same goes for anywhere else. A poked eye will stifle a fighter’s vision, a broken rib will have a fighter clutch their body, and best of all the announcers will detail this damage as it happens live. Besides body damage, in UFC 5 there are over 64,000 combinations of realistic damage to the face. UFC 5 is the first title in the series to receive an M rating from the ESRB, faces can really get beaten up to the point of unrecognition.
Fighter dimensions have also been drastically improved upon with ‘shapeshifter’ technology. Cover athlete Israel Adesanya was shown to appear exactly how he does in the real octagon. The showcase used the previous UFC 4 rendering of former champion Kamaru Usman to show the drastic differences. EA Sports upped the ante on the realism present, cover athletes are now portrayed by their in-game character models instead of UFC portrait photos, a first in the series and a real show of faith in how realistic everything looks.
The entire submission system has been overhauled to promote seamless transitioning in UFC 5. This is possibly the biggest contention with the bold new direction the franchise faces, due to the lack of information present on the screen and the overall toned-down amount of detail on what exactly is happening.
The transitions are impressive and smooth, with 600 new submission animations added to provide lifelike movement. The current submission minigame present in UFC 4 will be erased and the developers have not commented on whether fans will have an option to bring it back in the game or not. The minigame removal is by design, so players can focus on the fights, but it leaves a few more questions than answers on the ‘fairness’ aspect.
Submission transmission is silky smooth, and UFC 5 showcased a flying guillotine setup transitioned into an arm triangle, then finally to a leg bar attempt. But, it was a little difficult to understand what was happening on screen. The fighters were just moving in ways that felt unprompted, so while it did indeed look pretty, the usage of the “left and the right stick” and “improved responsiveness” moved incredibly fast. The aim was to tone down the previous entries’ “lengthy submission experience” for a more fast and streamlined effect.
New Ways To Fight
There are a large amount of new modes starting off with the new online career introduced in UFC 5. This highly requested new mode for fans allows created fighters the opportunity to advance and get better online while fighting other real-life opponents in the pursuit of championship gold.
The online career will feature created characters facing off, including skill-based matchmaking and division progression across four real UFC fighting weight divisions complete with online rankings like those you would see in the Top 15 rankings present on the UFC website. The progression system may feel similar to the previously present ranked championships, but the online career will allow fighters to grow with fighter evolution points and generate a feeling of true advancement within the UFC.
The new career mode has also been retooled for audiences, and this time around the other cover athlete Valentina Shevchenko will be a part of the onboarding process complete with her real-life voice. An overhauled training camp system is also included, allowing fans to fine-tune their moves in a better system than the previous UFC 4 system where you can gain popularity with other fighters, allowing fighters to adjust their move set for their upcoming opponent. There’s also a complete simulation option, where you can just fast-track into each fight if you know what you’re doing, or if you just want to get straight to the action. UFC 5 lets players fight their way.
With all of the new introductions present in UFC 5, the title is shaping up to be a well-oiled fighting machine. With a staggering amount of improvements, a wealth of game modes including a real-time fight week component, and realism added to each bout this may be a knockout in the making. UFC 5 launches on October 27, and fans can rest easy knowing there will be no battle pass this time around. Fans can also watch the latest official UFC 5 trailer below.