Recently, The Outerhaven was invited by EA Sports to get an early look at some of the improvements coming to EA Sports UFC 5. While we didn’t get a chance to go hands-on with UFC 5, what we saw looked impressive, and we can’t wait to give the game a try when it is released. Here’s why!
While EA Sports UFC 5 is seeing a number of upgrades and enhancements, perhaps the biggest one is the change of the game engine. While UFC 4, which was released in 2020, ran on EA’s Ignite game engine, UFC 5 is being built on the Frostbite game engine, which is the same game engine that was used for Need for Speed Unbound, Dead Space (2023) and Madden NFL 23. Which also put the rumors that the title would be developed on Unreal Engine 5 to rest. With the upgrade in the game engine, this allows EA to bump up the frame rate from 30fps (UFC 4) to 60fps. Of course, the frame rate isn’t the only upgrade, as the game engine upgrade allows for better visuals, all of which will provide a more realistic look for fighters, the background, and of course, the blood that will be flying when fists, elbows, and feet hit their targets. Needless to say, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions will look amazing. Sadly, EA didn’t mention that there would be a PC version of UFC 5.
It’s not just the visuals where things are more authentic, but there are gameplay changes and tweaks that help push authenticity even further. For example, a revamped submission system that is more transitional-based allows players to move between different submissions and ground positions more realistically, something that fans of the series have wanted for a long time.
Updated Career Mode
We got a peak at UFC 5’s single-player career mode, which has all-new cinematic scenes, which is a nice touch of authenticity that wasn’t previously present in the series. We saw one scene that involved your coach hyping you up ahead of a fight; watching it genuinely made me feel like the stakes were higher than any UFC game I’ve played before.
Along with this more cinematic feel at certain moments comes a new onboarding experience which allows you to learn mechanics while trying to teach you a bit about the actual sport of MMA. Especially with more of a focus this year on Damage, Stamina, and health and their impacts on the gameplay meta. This onboarding experience is also made more authentic than which, for the first time ever, features a real UFC star in a speaking role, Valentina Shevchenko, who will welcome you to the UFC Performance Institute, which is making its debut in the game.
Training Camps and Sparing have also seen improvements taking inspiration from EA’s soccer games. When you have mastered a sparing challenge pack which gives you a grade for the number of challenges completed, you can then simulate that challenge pack in the future at the same grade. Eventually, this will allow players to potentially simulate an entire training camp to get to the fights faster.
With more custom AI templates than ever, with over 200 added in UFC 5, fights should be more challenging and varied than ever before. This also means that when the stakes are high, the fights get even more difficult. You have the ultimate goal of breaking UFC records and becoming the best fighter ever, and that sounds like it’s going to be harder than ever.
A long-requested mode is making its debut in UFC 5, a mode EA is calling Online Career. This will allow you to take your created fighters online against other players’ created fighters. You could, of course, use created fighters in UFC 4 online ranked mode, but with licensed fighters in the mix, there were some obvious issues with that system. Online Career aims to fix that by focusing on created characters only across four divisions.
As you play online career, you will get evolution points to upgrade your fighter, which might look and feel similar to the offline career mode progress, but it allows you to explore different builds. It also has a prestige mechanic, which will allow you to reset your evolution when you reach the level cap and unlock new pathways to become an even stronger competitor.
A feature designed to connect fight fans closer to real-life events, including making predictions on real fights for in-game rewards and fight contracts which are essentially time-limited challenges that progressively get more difficult but offer rewards. These contracts also will become themed around real-world UFC events when they happen. Sometimes you’ll see a limited-time fight week challenge which will allow you a chance to unlock Alter Egos, essentially variations of fighters with a new costume and potentially different skills. This set of features within Fight Week feels like something that could keep me playing for months, if not years, after launch.
Rated M for Mature?
One thing that we noticed when we applied for EA Sports UFC 5 and was expanded on by the developers was that the game was given an M for Mature rating. This is the first time the EA Sports UFC games have ever had that rating. EA Sports UFC 4, for example, was rated T for Teen. When asked about the drastic change, it was stated that this was due to the more realistic aspects of damage. There’s also going to be lots of blood spilling onto the ring’s canvas, and as such, forced the mature rating. Now, we finally say there’s another fighting game to earn that M for Mature rating that isn’t Mortal Kombat.
I Can’t Wait to Play EA Sports UFC 5
I genuinely can not wait to get my hands on this game; for me, sports titles are at their best when they are trying to be as authentic as possible. This seems like exactly what EA Sports UFC 5 is striving to achieve. Time will tell if it can deliver a knock-out, but we don’t have long to wait.
EA Sports UFC 5 is set to be released on October 27, 2023, for Xbox Series X/S and PS5, with the deluxe edition giving three days early access starting on October 24th. There’s a pre-order incentive that will include several bonus fighters, Fedor Emelianenko, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson.