EA’s flagship MMA franchise returns with a number of notable changes.
After numerous leaks, EA Sports UFC 4 was finally announced and will arrive on August 14th for Xbox One and PS4. It’s been more than two years since the last release so what’s changed? Let’s take a look at 15 things you should know before buying.
Real Player Motion for Clinches and Takedowns
Real Player Motion is EA’s fancy animation system which imbues fighters with more realistic movement in keeping with their personalities. Though the previous game implemented this feature to some extent, EA Sports UFC 4 sees clinches and takedowns benefiting the system. Clinches are more intuitive to enter and exit, and transitioning to throws is supposed to feel smoother. Takedowns have also been revamped as you can either dodge a takedown attempt with some nimble footwork or push an opponent into the cage before slamming them to the ground. More variety in takedown animations also makes the entire exchange feel more dynamic and less pre-determined.
Revamped Ground and Pound
The ground and pound system is also seeing its share of interesting new features. When defending against an opponent, players can use head movement to avoid major blows and maybe transition into a counter. A new grapple assist has also been added with attacker choosing between getting up, grounding and pounding an opponent, or going for a submission.
New Submission System
Ever wanted to strike an opponent during a submission? How about picking up and slamming them down to escape a submission? EA Sports UFC 4 allows both of these for even more realism in fights. The system also relies on two new mini-games when going for chokes or joint submissions. Standing submissions and counter-submissions for takedown attempts are also in, meaning a fight can end at any time.
High Impact Moments
New to the series, High Impact Moments can trigger on some of the more devastating hits. Along with facial and body deformation, there will be a slight blue or red hue on the side of the screen, indicating whether you should be defending or capitalizing on an attack. High Impact Moments are meant to add a bit of flair to striking exchanges along with indicating when you should push the advantage.
Revamped Career Mode
Career Mode has a deeper focus this year with fighters evolving based on their disciplines. Players will also see more “diverging career paths” which means you can choose which fights to take. There’s even Relationship Building where players will take on a friend and rival through social media. New skills can be learned in the process and all it takes is a simple tweet or two, just like in real life! If you need to learn the various systems, then there’s an Amateur phase and Sparring Challenge in addition to the Practice Mode.
Weight Classes and MMA Disciplines
To further develop one’s fighter in Career Mode, players will choose a weight class to fight in. You then select an MMA discipline, whether it’s Wrestling, Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu and so on. There are five disciplines in total and EA promises that with the different moves, rivalries and weight classes on offer, no two career paths will be the same.
To further add some variety to the proceedings, there are four new arenas to fight in. These are UFC Apex, Action Avenue, The Kumite and The Backyard. So whether you want the bare-bones feel of an MMA fight in the backyard, complete with tires holding up the cage, or the snazzy arena that Jean-Claude Van Damme fought in for Bloodsport, EA Sports UFC 4 aims to please.
To see a fighter’s strengths and weaknesses at a glance, star ratings are being introduced. There’s an overall star rating for a fighter and individual star ratings for categories like ground game, health and whatnot. You can also view a fighter’s top five moves to better understand what they specialize in. Another interesting twist is live updates for attributes and moves based on a fighter’s performance in the real world, which can lead to some interesting balancing situations.
Pre-order bonuses are a given with every EA Sports title and in the case of UFC 4, that means playing as boxers like Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. Cosmetic items like the Backyard Customization Pack and Kumite Customization Pack will also be received on pre-ordering. If you purchase through EA Sports UFC 2 or 3, then you get 10 percent off on UFC 4 along with 500 points and the legend Bruce Lee. This offer is valid until July 1st 2022 though so no rush.
Instead of separate progression for each mode, EA Sports UFC 4 offers unified progression across the board. This is most likely what the new Connected Player Profile does, essentially tracking overall experience earned. While this should help in advancing through Career Mode, it will also play a part in unlocking new gear and cosmetics.
Over 1600 Gear Pieces
As players earn experience and complete different challenges, there will be more than 1600 gear pieces to unlock. This is in addition to 120 emotes for even more customization. While microtransactions are included, they only apply to cosmetics and it’s possible to earn everything in-game. You can even unlock Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua by finishing Career Mode on the toughest difficulty. “Randomized” microtransactions – which is likely another term for RNG loot boxes – aren’t included.
No Ultimate Team
Interestingly enough, EA Sports UFC 4 won’t have an Ultimate Team mode. According to creative director Brian Hayes, this is due to “overwhelmingly, less interest” in the mode when compared to other EA Sports titles. Instead, the development team focused on providing cosmetic items and challenges while improving custom fighter creation. It’s good news for those burned out by all the other Ultimate Team modes if nothing else.
Rated for Xbox Series X and PS5
The development team is currently focused on “finalizing the game” for Xbox One and PS4 and has stated that it isn’t working on next-gen versions. However, an ESRB rating emerged for EA Sports UFC 4 on Xbox Series X and PS5 on the same day it was announced for current-gen. While full-fledged next-gen versions may not be in the works, it’s possible that free upgrades will be provided down the line. Again, this isn’t officially confirmed so take those ratings with a grain of salt.
Online World Championships and Quick Fight will be returning with the former seeing players advancing through the leaderboards with each fight. However, Blitz Battles are completely new, comprising a six round rapid-fire tournament with rotating rule sets. You can also have flyweights battling heavyweights though which should be entertaining in its own way.
EA Access Trial
Those who are still undecided but want to try the game before launch should take note of EA Access. Subscribers on Xbox One and PS4 can play the early access trial on August 7th for $4.99 (which lasts the entire month and provides access to lots of other titles in the EA Access Vault). Along with providing a feel for the controls and mechanics, one can also complete challenges for in-game currency. This will transfer over to the main game if you decide to pick it up.