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    UFC 5 is more brutal and realistic than ever before


    The UFC is the big show when it comes to mixed martial arts. The staging, the atmosphere and the action are unparalleled. With UFC 5, the martial arts magic will also be transferred to the consoles. tested the fighting game.

    UFC 5 kicks off with a duel that martial arts fans have long dreamed of. With Jon “Bones” Jones and Stipe Miocic, two MMA legends face each other in the cage. As a player you take on the role of heavyweight champion Jones, who is suffering from a cut on his eye. The fight is won after a short introduction to the game mechanics, followed by super slow motion and an atmospheric award ceremony with thunderous cheers from the audience. With its martial arts simulation, developer EA Sports wants to show how intense action, brilliant graphics and demanding gameplay come together. If you want that UFC feeling, you can get that on the NextGen consoles, but the test shows that a lot of it was already available in this form in the predecessor from 2020.

    The real-life title fight between Jones and Miocic was supposed to take place in New York in December, but Jones had to cancel due to a muscle injury. And there is a big focus on injuries in virtual cage fights. The new Frostbyte engine makes the damage from punches and kicks visually more realistic than ever before. Gaping wounds, swelling and blood spatters make the game even more realistic and brutal.

    Until your nose breaks

    There are 64,000 animations alone that visualize facial injuries. This also has an effect on the gameplay. If the eyes are affected, the ring doctor can enter the octagon, examine the cut or the swelling and, if necessary, stop the fight. This is an innovation that forces the player to pay attention to his cover or avoid punches and kicks.

    In ground combat, the mini-game is no longer necessary - finally. In ground combat, the mini-game is no longer necessary - finally.

    In ground combat, the mini-game is no longer necessary – finally.

    While you are concentrating on not receiving any violent and serious hits to the head, you are of course also trying to work on your opponent. Here the cover can now be broken and greater damage can then be achieved. In ground combat, the annoying mini-game for submission holds has been eliminated. A real relief.

    With Frostbyte comes many new animations. For example, the referee throws himself protectively between the fighters in ground-and-pound to end the fight. The arrival of the fighters now begins in the catacombs, you have the feeling of being there first hand. Overall, the movement sequences of the MMA specialists appear even smoother, the striking is crisper thanks to better hit feedback and the ground fighting is more intense thanks to smoother transitions.

    The look of the big UFC stars is really impressive, but apart from Fedor Emelianenko, Mohamed Ali and Mike Tyson, the roster is unchanged. Actually an absurdity, as a lot has happened in the UFC in the last three years.

    But the new engine is not without errors either. Very cleverly, EA quickly changed the perspective during the legendary announcer intro by Bruce Buffer, who at the UFC events with a red face and downright doggedly shouts “It’s Time” into the microphone, driving the audience to ecstasy, so as not to see Buffer’s facial features having to show it up close. Because: Expressing great emotions is possible via the usual UFC staging of the show, but the faces of the protagonists cannot do that. You can see this in the many cutscenes in career mode as well as inside the cage. After a knockdown, the fighter’s gaze freezes as he falls to the ground; he stares steadfastly at the ceiling, even though he is still consciously taking up his guard.

    UFC 5: Old wine in new bottles?

    The production is as close to the original as possible. The production is as close to the original as possible.

    The production is as close to the original as possible.

    (Photo: EA)

    But these are negligible details. Things get sloppy in the aforementioned career mode. Nothing has happened here in terms of history. You play more or less the same story as in UFC 4, where you end up in the UFC after fights in smaller MMA organizations and chase the title there. In UFC 5, you start in the backyard, beat up three guys at smaller events, and thanks to a knockout that goes viral, you end up with the industry leader and chase the title.

    The bitter thing is that cutscenes and locations from the fourth part are simply remade. You already know the first arena right at the beginning in the backyard, as well as the cage setting under the bridge, where you learn the mechanics of the game. Yes, there are new elements. Instead of the run-of-the-mill gym, you now train at the UFC Performance Center in Las Vegas and with Valentina Shevchenko you have a prominent guide/coach at your side. But the story about an aspiring MMA fighter is no longer really gripping the second time around. A proper story mode would have suited the game much better and provided a breath of fresh air. There are also unusually long loading times between battles for this generation of consoles.

    The German dubbing in career mode is okay, but nothing more. There are simply many moments to be ashamed of, such as the clumsy attempts to translate Coach Davis’ sayings into German. The same applies to the German commentators. It’s better to change the language to English, then you’ll have Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier like in the real TV broadcasts. At least with the online career mode you can let your self-created character compete against other players and move up the rankings and even fight for titles.

    Not enough innovations for the full price

    The “Combat Offers” mode is also new. Here you replay historical or upcoming duels in the UFC and collect experience points that can be exchanged for cosmetic items for the fighters. A very nice addition. There are also alter egos of the well-known UFC greats. A young Conor McGregor or an Alex Volkanovski from his time before the title reign, for example, fight differently than their current versions. These could be considered new fighters, but they’re actually not.

    Overall, UFC 5 is the most realistic fighting game on the market. The look is simply brilliant and thanks to the new engine everything looks more fluid and natural. The fights seem brutal and yet the player has to use his fight IQ to win the cage duels. Unfortunately, the game does not have a roster update and there is hardly anything new in the popular career mode. Anyone who still has the predecessor will find the full price of 70 euros too expensive. Anyone who is just getting started with mixed martial arts on consoles will feel the concentrated UFC power and atmosphere.

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