UFC 4 Review: Revamped Career Mode & Online Features takes EA’s title to the next level


It’s been the best part of two years since UFC 3 dropped, but was UFC 4 worth the wait? Find out here.

The wait is over, UFC 4 is finally here!

The brand-new EA Sports title has been long overdue, and you can finally get stuck into the latest instalment in the hit MMA franchise.

We got our hands on a copy – check out what we made of it below.

Gameplay

As always with these UFC titles, there is a lot to get stuck into in terms of controls, combinations and fighting styles.

There isn’t a huge change in terms of how to play the game compared to its predecessors, with the gameplay also taking a similar approach.

READ MORE: Everything we know about UFC 4

Stand-Up fighting seems pretty similar to UFC 3, but that’s not an issue, as that wasn’t an area that needed improving an awful lot.

CLINCH! Clinch fighting looks SLICK!

Stamina is a slight issue as you run out of steam very quickly in UFC 4.

It’s all part of the game, you’ve got to time your attacks properly but this aspect might take some getting used to.

However, clinch fighting has really gone up a notch.

READ MORE: UFC 4: Full Soundtrack REVEALED

It feels much smoother than in previous UFC titles and whilst it was an area that was somewhat overlooked by many in the past, we feel it will be a key component to many fighters game throughout UFC 4.

Whilst the ground game as a whole feels very similar to UFC 3, the takedowns are definitely much slicker.

More freedom than ever in Career Mode

UFC has had a decent Career Mode in the past, but it’s bigger and better than ever in UFC 4.

It starts in the same way as always, allowing you to design your character, picking your fighting styles and customising your appearance. You will then link up with Coach Davis who will take you through a few tutorials before it’s time to get stuck in.

Coach Davis UFC 4
Coach Davis! The Coach is back to talk you through your early career

There is also a new tutorial mode added for those Career Mode novices who want to learn how to play the game as they go along.

There is more freedom than ever before when choosing the perfect path for your fighter. You are given the choice of four different routes to start your career – the traditional WFA route as seen in past titles, Dana White’s Contender Series or even straight into the UFC.

EA SPORTS™ UFC® 4 20200813133624
ON THE BAG! You will have to work through a few drills during your early stages

You’ll have to prove your worth to make it though, and the new Fighter Evolution System will focus on exactly that.

You will have to perform in a couple of trial matches straight off the bat.

These trial matches are similar to the ranking matches you experience online – the better you perform, the higher you will score and therefore the better terms you will be offered on your UFC contract.

UFC 4 TRIAL MATCH
PERFORM! The stronger you perform early, the better your UFC prospects will be

The choices you make will play a key role in the progression of your career.

For instance, you will be faced with situations where you will have the option of a big-money fight, but you’ll be heading into with an injury.

READ MORE: UFC 4: Top 10 Fighters

Do you take the glitz and glam of the fight knowing you’ll likely lose, or do you hold fire? The choice is yours.

Career Mode feels more complete and personal than ever. There’s plenty to get stuck into and, with the ability to reprove your worth should you drop out of the UFC, the options are endless.

Fight Now

There’s not an awful lot we need to discuss here.

There are four options in the classic Fight Now mode:

  • Fight Now – Classic UFC Rules
  • Stand & Bang – No Grappling, Ground Work or Submissions
  • Knockout Mode – Knockout to win
  • Custom Fight Now – Choose your own rules
KNOCKOUT MODE UFC 4
KO! Knockout Mode is back!

As always there is the choice of eleven weight classes:

  • Strawweight (W)
  • Flyweight (W)
  • Bantamweight (W)
  • Flyweight
  • Bantamweight
  • Featherweight
  • Lightweight
  • Welterweight
  • Middleweight
  • Light Heavyweight
  • Heavyweight

As always it will be a mode that you’ll be playing locally with friends and, with the return of those fan favourite’s Stand & Bang and Knockout, it will still get plenty of use.

New Online Modes

In terms of the biggest changes in UFC 4, the online modes takes the biscuit.

There are two new modes to get stuck into as well as your classic quick fight mode.

Online World Championship

For you competitive UFC players out there, this is going to be music to your ears.

The Online World Championship mode brings ranked competition to the UFC title, meaning that the biggest and best UFC players will square off against each other more than ever, and those who play more socially will avoid being pummelled by the elites.

EA SPORTS™ UFC® 4 20200813135225
COMPETITION! You will rank properly for the first time in UFC 4

The weight classes will rotate, meaning that EA will choose which set of fighters you can select from, stopping players from using the same fighter over and over again.

Blitz Battles

This is another new online mode that’s been added, and one that we really enjoy!

The Blitz Battles mode is a six round rapid-fire tournament in which the rules per tournament are always rotating in order to keep you on your toes.

MINUTE TO WIN IT UFC 4
MINUTE TO WIN IT! This is one of many ever-changing modes

We’ve tried out the ‘Minute to Win It’ mode, which gives you 1 minute and 1 Round to defeat your opponent as well as the ‘KO Mode’ which pits you against an opponent in a best of three KO battle.

READ MORE: EA’s Brian Hayes on chances of seeing more special characters in UFC 4

It’s a fun change to the standard UFC modes and adds the best of the customisable Fight Now modes to the online side of the game – a nice addition.

Visuals & Sounds

It may not be coming to the PS5 and Xbox One Series X, but there has been a big focus on the way the game looks/sounds.

Here are a couple of improvements which caught our eye:

Lighting looks Slick

It’s a subtle change, but a noticeable one nonetheless.

There appears to have been some minor changes to the lighting in-game. This puts more of an emphasis on those in the ring and slighly less on the crowd than in UFC 3.

The crowd are as raucous as ever, but this puts the real focus on what matters. The fighters.

High Impact Moments

The changes to the lighting is only the start.

The new High Impact Moments feature means that those key moments in the fight – heavy punches, kicks, takedowns etc – look better than ever.

UFC 4 Visuals
VISUALS! The visuals in UFC 4 are on point!

There is a noticeable change to the facial and body ripple deformation on impact and a whole new stun VFX and SFX sequence to highlight heavy damage.

In short, the graphics game has been taken to a whole new level!

It’s not the biggest change in the world, but the addition of two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier to the commentary team is a good one.

READ MORE: UFC 4 UPDATE – Post-Beta Patch – Gameplay, AI, striking, submissions, EA Access & more

He’s impressed in the real world with his UFC commentary and it makes a nice change to the standard commentary team of Jon Anik and Joe Rogan, with the latter no longer part of the game.

Overall Thoughts

We’ve waited a while for it, but EA have done a very good job with this one.

UFC 3 was – and still is – an incredibly popular title and, for a sport that doesn’t have the yearly updates than other typical sports do, releasing a new title always proves tricky.

To read more about UFC 4 Career Mode, including the all-new fighter evolution system, head here.

The updates to the Career Mode and the new Online Game Modes means that the game can be enjoyed by more people than ever before.

The improvements to the competitive side and the social side means that no-one is left wanting.

UFC 4 takes all the positives from its predecessors and adds that little bit extra to make it a mainstay in any sports collection.

RealSport101 Score: 8.5/10

READ MORE: EA’s Brian Hayes explains new & improved features of Career mode

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