EA Sports UFC 5 Review: Is It Worth The Three-Year Wait?

EA Sports UFC 5 Review: Is It Worth The Three-Year Wait?

  • MMA News
  • octobre 28, 2023
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It has been more than three years since the last EA Sports UFC game. The latest entry into the series came out on August 14, 2020, and has held up for fans over time. That’s why it came as a delightful surprise when it was announced on July 8 that EA Sports UFC 5 would be released on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 on October 27 for $69.99. 

Fans who pre-ordered the deluxe edition paid $99.99, which let people play the game three days earlier. It also included downloadable content like boxers Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson being available at no additional cost. 

EA Sports UFC 5 Deluxe Edition 

Image Credit: EA Sports

Over the last three months, more details, including gameplay footage and new feature information, have been shared to excite fans. However, some cautious gamers felt the game looked too similar to EA Sports UFC 4 and wondered how much improvement the developers made to the latest title. 

I got an early copy of the game to play for this review. Having experienced and enjoyed the previous game, I have a good outlook on what is different with EA Sports UFC 5. I was also skeptical about the newest entry into the series as well. The reason was because of how close the announcement and release date were to each other, as it felt like not a lot of marketing was done for a game three years in the making. 

Is the game worth the three-year wait? 

In this review, I share my thoughts on EA Sports UFC 5 and give a rating of 1 being awful to 10 being perfect. 

(EA Sports)

Let’s Address The Glaring Issue of EA Sports UFC 5: The Roster

One of the significant issues of the latest game is that the roster is almost identical to EA Sports UFC 4. Certain fighters like CM Punk and Brock Lesnar do not return in the newest EA Sports UFC series entry. However, many fighters who have not fought in the UFC for years, like Paige Van Zant, Johnny Eduardo, and Thomas Almeida, are playable. 

The lack of active fighters that weren’t in EA Sports UFC 4 that are in the newest game is egregious. After three years between games, it’s shocking that top-ranked fighters in their division, like Geoff Neal, Drew Dober, and Ian Machado Garry, aren’t playable.

The flyweight roster in EA Sports UFC 5 has only 13 fighters, with five characters not active in the company like Jussier Formiga. To put it into perspective, the current UFC Flyweight rankings consist of 15 fighters, including top-five flyweight contenders Manel Kape and Amir Albazi, who are excluded. 

The saving grace is that EA Sports has added new characters over time at no additional costs in the past. However, seeing the lack of new fighters with their time between games is still very disappointing. 

Image Credit: EA Sports

Character Design and Real-Life Authenticity 

EA Sports UFC 5 is the first of the series to use Frostbite Engine, and it was a great new feature. The majority of the fighters look incredible to their real-life counterparts. A few look questionable, like Aljamain Sterling, who even spoke about it on Twitter. That said, this is the best-looking game of the franchise, and I was blown away by what EA Sports was able to do. 

One thing I wished EA Sports would’ve done to nail the authenticity of UFC is to have real music that fighters would walk out to. I understand that may be costly, but it adds another sense of realism to the game. For example, one of the signature walkout songs for Conor McGregor is Notorious B.I.G’s “Hypnotize,” which would’ve been authentic to have in the game. Instead, they gave him a generic song with bagpipes as the instrumental. Unfortunately, EA Sports couldn’t get most of the signature walkout music for fighters. 

Image Credit: EA Sports

Is The Gameplay Better Than The Previous Game?

While EA Sports UFC 5 falters in some areas, the gameplay is not one of them. I shared in my review from the beta version that I played that this is the smoothest striking and grappling has felt in a UFC game. I’m happy to say that this makes this new installment from EA Sports stand out from EA Sports UFC 4. However, there is more to it that makes it unique.

One of the new features in the game is that cuts and bruises on fighters can play a significant role in a fight. Doctors can stop a fight if a cut is too bad. Another example is if a fighter gets hit in the eye too much, their eye gets swollen, making it harder to defend against attacks from that side. This adds a sense of realism to the game and makes players want to be cautious of how they approach a fight. 

Image Credit: EA Sports

This was also the first time I felt that attributes in a UFC game mattered. Fans will have to be mindful of how they play against someone else. For example, Derrick Lewis may have a 100 overall in punching power but be slower than other heavyweights like Jon Jones. This makes fans think of ways to get closer or lure their opponents in for the big highlight reel knockout “The Black Beast” is known for in UFC.

For fans who were not a grappling fan in the last game, it feels better in EA Sports UFC 5. The game adds more animation for transitioning on the ground, which feels seamless and more manageable. I was amazed at how it looked to battle on the ground and try to go for a submission when playing against others. 

The gameplay is a huge step up and makes you wonder how EA Sports can take it farther if they make another game years from now. 

Image Credit: EA Sports

What’s It Like Playing Online?

The online aspect of EA Sports UFC 5 is what I think will hook fans to want to play the most. Of course, the game has a career mode, but the experience of playing against people in different parts of the world is what makes the game fun. Since the gameplay is better than in previous years, hardcore fans, I believe, will enjoy improving their skills to beat their competitors effortlessly. 

You can also use your created player to climb the ranks against others. This could lead to you being ranked in an online division and becoming a champion. Another nice aspect of the game that will continue the replay value for a while. 

I ran into glitches, like a fighter disappearing from the cage. Another glitch that I had was the camera would move around by itself while grappling, which I’ve only experienced while playing online. Hopefully, EA Sports will address problems like these to make the online experience smoother and more enjoyable. 

(EA Sports)

EA Sports UFC 5 Career Mode

The series’s newest game does improve the career mode, but there’s still more that could be done. Like the previous title, you are trained by the game’s original character, Coach Davis, as he helps guide you from local competition to the UFC. After a few fights, you find yourself with a Dana White Contender Series fight, which you can win and get a UFC Contract. 

It has the same setup as the last game, but they added cutscenes that give the characters more emotion and tell a story. This helps make the experience more personal as you try to make it to the UFC, but it feels like more could’ve been done. However, it is unsurprising as fans have looked at other EA Sports franchises like Madden and see the same problem. It is still a step up from the previous game and does create the potential for what they could do in the future. 

Image Credit: EA Sports

Overall Rating For EA Sports UFC 5

I must reflect on their improvement from past franchise games when rating this game. There are frustrating things like roster choices and the accuracy of the fighters to the game that bring it down a bit. The glitches on Online Mode are something that seems fixable but is not ideal. 

However, EA Sports UFC 5 is a good leap from past titles. After a three-year wait, you wish for it to take even more significant steps, but it’s a great move forward. What they could do with a potential EA Sports UFC 6 excites me. Although, this could be another long wait for the next game. Regardless, EA Sports UFC 5 smashes its predecessor and makes the wait worth it. 

I give EA Sports UFC 5 an 8 out of 10. 

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