EA SPORTS UFC 5 Review: Gorgeously Brutal and Realistic (PS5)

Every punch, kick, knee, elbow, strike, and hit matters.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 Review: A Gorgeously Brutal and Realistic MMA Fighting Game (PS5)

SUMMARY

  • EA SPORTS UFC 5 is a visually stunning MMA fighting game.
  • Each fight can be approached in a variety of different ways.
  • The Real Impact System and Cinematic K.O. Replays stand out.
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EA SPORTS UFC 5 is undeniably the most realistically brutal mixed martial arts fighting video game, which is owed to Electronic Arts’ exclusive Frostbite engine absolutely stealing the show from the very first shot. Aside from some of the renderings looking a little goofy during the non-cinematic cutscenes, the fighters mostly look extraordinarily crisp and real, with gorgeously lifelike environments and arenas to provide the ultimate MMA experience.

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One of the standout aspects of EA SPORTS UFC 5 is the introduction of the ferocious new Real Impact System, which adds further levels to the severity of fights as it can completely switch up the player’s plan of action.

Which basically means that if a fighter gets cut, bruised, or wounded during a match in EA SPORTS UFC 5, it actually has drastic effects on gameplay elements like offense, defense, stamina, and movement, potentially changing the overall direction of the whole fight.

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Another interesting addition to Electronic Arts’ mixed martial arts title is the Doctor’s Checks and Stoppages feature, which, as the name suggests, forces a medical professional to intervene in the brawl if either fighter gets fatal injuries, just like it happens in the real MMA sport. And that does not even scratch the surface of everything that EA SPORTS UFC 5 has to offer.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 is now available for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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The Real Impact System in EA SPORTS UFC 5 Adds Intense New Layers to Every Fight

The Real Impact System in EA SPORTS UFC 5 ensures a unique and brutal ferocity in each fight.
The Real Impact System in EA SPORTS UFC 5 ensures a unique and brutal ferocity in each fight.

The impressive Real Impact System in EA SPORTS UFC 5 gives immense importance to each hit and strike to the face, which can cause various injuries such as cuts, swelling, and bruising in astonishingly and highly accurate facial damage locations. In fact, there are countless (over 64,000, according to Electronic Arts) possible damage combinations that a fighter’s face can take, and it is not just for graphical purposes either since they all play a significant role in the outcome of a match.

For example, landing a brutal hook on the right side of an opponent’s face can cause a cut, leading to their right eye not working properly, which makes it hard for them to see, so that side would be more prone to damage because they would not be able to properly predict and analyse the incoming strike.

Similarly, an opponent’s nose can be targeted in an effort to make it harder for them to breathe, which leads to their stamina recovering a lot slower. Another great example of the newly introduced Real Impact System in EA SPORTS UFC 5 is that if a fighter receives excessive low kicks to their calf, it could potentially hinder their overall mobility, causing them to limp during the match.

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Because of this amazing gameplay system, each fight comes equipped with a unique and intense ferocity, as it ensures that every single fight can be approached with numerous strategies and game plans.

Someone's going to need a doctor.
Someone’s going to need a doctor.

In addition to the Real Impact System, EA SPORTS UFC 5 also introduces Doctor’s Checks and Stoppages, which make the referee stop any fight during which either player gets a little too injured and call the ringside doctor to see if the match should continue or not. For example, if the aforementioned right side of either fighter’s face is damaged and they continue to take hits on it without being able to properly protect it, the doctor may declare them unfit and stop the match.

So, there are plenty of ways in which players can try to win a fight, giving them more options to strategize their remaining moves.

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With EA SPORTS UFC 5, it is also clear that Electronic Arts was aiming to give players a wide variety of moves, including brand new strikes and their respective reactions, which range from spinning hits and elbow action to numerous kicks, punches, and knees. A lot of these moves and animations are obviously inspired by real-life kickboxing pros and icons, so players have a lot of ways to attack.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 also introduces more accurate hit reaction physics and animations, which make every strike that perfectly lands feel extremely authentic.

On the other hand, the newly introduced Seamless Submissions system in EA SPORTS UFC 5 does not exactly serve as an improvement to its grappling predecessor, although it has much more fluid animations. It is honestly one of the most forgettable parts of the MMA game, especially because of how confusing it can be to master in the beginning, its repetitiveness, and the way it breaks all the momentum during a match.

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However, the real hero of EA SPORTS UFC 5 is the spectacular Frostbite engine, marking the first time that Electronic Arts is using it for a UFC title.

The Cinematic K.O. Replays in EA SPORTS UFC 5 Are Visually Spectacular

MMA fighting has never been this cinematic.
MMA fighting has never been this cinematic.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 looks phenomenally realistic in its fast-paced 60 frames per second, making the gameplay feel amazingly fluid and smooth. Thanks to the Frostbite engine, players can rewatch their final hits in all their glory in a beautifully cinematic K.O. replay, which has movie-like camerawork and lighting and is presented in super slow motion.

Witnessing finishing blows with cinematic graphics definitely adds to the visual prowess of EA SPORTS UFC 5 and the hype at the end of each knockout match.

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EA SPORTS UFC 5 also tries its best to make its fighters look and act like their real-life counterparts, and it mostly succeeds with clearly better lighting, facial features and hair, and accurate animations. However, especially during the non-cinematic cutscenes, the fighters’ faces turn laughably emotionless, breaking any kind of immersion that had been building up leading up to that moment.

But that intensity rolls back the moment the fights begin, because when a fighter gets smacked right on the face or body, it undeniably leaves a realistic mark or two, thanks to the applaudable visual effects.

The Blood and Sweat Drip and Spray Very Realistically in EA SPORTS UFC 5

Blood and sweat flow gloriously in EA SPORTS UFC 5.
Blood and sweat flow gloriously in EA SPORTS UFC 5.

Adding to the overall authenticity and realism, the blood and sweat in EA SPORTS UFC 5 flow absolutely gloriously due to a brand new physics and particle system, in which players feel the impact of each hit to make it resemble the real-life Octagon action as much as technically possible. However, where the cinematic knockouts shine, the in-game cutscenes mostly fall flat, as they feel extremely repetitive and reused, especially Bruce Buffer’s repeated introductions.

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The game does not try to do anything too drastically different with them, considering how wrestling or MMA fighting titles from years ago have consistently done the same thing.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 also introduces Fight Week Challenges, which are only available for a limited time during the weeks preceding and succeeding the biggest real-life UFC events, and they come with various rewards that include Vanity Items, Alter Egos, customization assets, and emotes. But nothing can be said about them just yet because the first one is scheduled for the week of November 6, which precedes the UFC 295 match between Jones and Miocic.

There is also another aspect of EA SPORTS UFC 5 that cannot be tested right now called Fight Picks, which is available to do right before actual UFC events, where players are able to make their own predictions for each PPV’s main card.

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Bruce Buffer returns in EA SPORTS UFC 5.
Bruce Buffer returns in EA SPORTS UFC 5.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 automatically puts players into Fight Picks leaderboards as soon as they make their predictions, with the option of checking out custom friend leaderboards as well. The players at the very top will receive UFC Coins after the event. EA SPORTS UFC 5 also has Fight Week Contracts, which is actually a very smart idea to get players associated with random fighters on the roster.

In this mode, a new AI fight shows up daily with its settings already predefined, but with each passing day, the contracts become much more difficult to complete. The reward for completing each contract is in-game currency, and players can clearly see how many contracts they have successfully completed or unfortunately failed.

Since each contract in EA SPORTS UFC 5 comes with preselected fighters, players have no choice but to test them out, which keeps the overall experience fresh and could lead to them stumbling across the perfect fighter for them.

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The concept of Alter Egos in EA SPORTS UFC 5 is very entertaining, and players can choose their favorite fighters in outfits inspired by their most significant real-life moments. New Alter Egos will be frequently added to the game during each Fight Week.

As of right now, at launch, there are four Alter Egos that players can access in EA SPORTS UFC 5, which are Jon Jones from his debut in UFC 87, Alexander Volkanovski rocking his nostalgic rugby outfit, Israel Adesanya from his pre-UFC championship fight, and lastly, Valentina Shevchenko paying homage to her pre-UFC kickboxing days.

In addition to having a Punch Card feature, an Online Career Mode, and Online Fighter Evolution, EA SPORTS UFC 5 also has a proper Career Mode, which is somehow both cringeworthy and wholesome at the same time. Introducing the UFC Performance Institute for the first time in the franchise, Career Mode brings together Valentina Shevchenko, who also speaks now, and the iconic Coach Davis to train and guide the player to a successful UFC career.

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The cutscenes are of laughable quality, filled with not-so-subtle advertising and unintentionally hilarious dialogue and performances, but the mode as a whole still feels fulfilling.

The Training Camp Simulation Feature Is a Welcome Addition to EA SPORTS UFC 5’s Career Mode

It actually feels rewarding to retire as the Greatest Of All Time in EA SPORTS UFC 5's Career Mode.
It actually feels rewarding to retire as the Greatest Of All Time in EA SPORTS UFC 5‘s Career Mode.

EA SPORTS UFC 5‘s Career Mode may have voiced cutscenes and new locations, but it is the simulation feature in the training camp that stands out the most. Players no longer need to wait or grind too much to get to their next fight because the game has the option of just simulating sparring drills to reach peak fitness as quickly as possible.

Each sparring session comes with its own Challenge Packs, which, upon completion, gives players rewards and a grade based on their performance.

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But for those who do not want to waste time and want to take part in the real fights, EA SPORTS UFC 5 makes it a breeze to glide through the weeks leading up to them. Although the Promotions feature in the Career Mode is a bit repetitive and sometimes feels pointless, the mode itself is quite rewarding. Finally reaching the created character’s first major UFC fight and going up the ranks to achieve G.O.A.T. status has its own charm and hype to it.

Training sessions can actually injuries and they need to be fixed before the next fight.
Training sessions can actually cause injuries, and they need to be fixed before the next fight.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 also features a great and energetic soundtrack that fits perfectly with the visuals and the intensity of the game, fully focused on getting players pumped up for their upcoming matches. It also marks the first playable appearances of Fedor Emelianenko and Muhammad Ali in the UFC series, at least for those who preordered the Deluxe Edition of the game.

Joining those two is an extensive roster of real-life fighters, including Bruce Lee and Mike Tyson, who are all divided into their specific weight classes.

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There were also a couple of weird glitches and bugs taking place in EA SPORTS UFC 5, with the main one being the customized character not showing up on screen during their creation for Career Mode. But the game mostly runs very smoothly without any kind of issues, which shows that Electronics Arts took its time into optimizing it for launch.

It is also great to see the publisher unexpectedly moving on to focus on current-gen consoles only, because EA SPORTS UFC 5‘s fluidity could have only been possible with the latest technology.

EA SPORTS UFC 5: Final Thoughts

EA SPORTS UFC 5 marks franchise-first playable appearances of Muhammad Ali and Fedor Emelianenko.
EA SPORTS UFC 5 marks the franchise-first playable appearances of Muhammad Ali and Fedor Emelianenko.

EA SPORTS UFC 5 is a gorgeously brutal and ultimate mixed martial arts fighting video game that has the potential to be a long-running title for years to come. The additions of the Real Impact System and Cinematic K.O. Replays provide unique new layers to each fight, while the game looks stunning and runs fluidly thanks to Electronic Arts’ exclusive Frostbite engine. Every punch, kick, knee, elbow, strike, and hit matters, giving players a wide array of options to approach the matches.

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There is a lot to do in EA SPORTS UFC 5, ranging from a highly rewarding and fast-paced Career Mode to a clever Fight Week mode. Moreover, the inclusion of Alter Egos and icons like Muhammad Ali and Fedor Emelianenko is the cherry on top of an already stacked fighter roster, and the soundtrack is absolutely amazing.

Aside from some awkward cutscenes and a couple of bugs, Electronic Arts has truly created a great MMA fighting game that requires players to strategize for each match differently, making every fight feel fresh and more intense than the last.

8/10

8 Out of 10

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EA SPORTS UFC 5 was played on PlayStation 5 and reviewed on a code supplied by fortyseven communications. Featured on OpenCritic.

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Written by Osama Farooq

Articles Published: 331

Extensively talking about everything pop culture is something Osama truly enjoys doing, so when it started to get a little annoying in person, he joined FandomWire and found a whole community to share his thoughts with. He consumes media in almost all forms, including linear story-based video games (The Last of Us), hip-hop/R&B music (The Weeknd), top-tier television (Better Call Saul), classic movies (Superbad), as well as reading books and watching anime.