This was the first time anyone got to experience MMA in a video game, and it was a hard task to balance solid gameplay. The dreamcast version is more polished, both graphically as well as the controls. The Dreamcast version also offered a career mode, which this release lacked. The Playstation version was terrible in comparison, though still a fun game to play with some friends. The gamplay focuses on grapples and reversals, and striking does not play enough of a key role. When you first start, you may find yourself quitting before you even understand the controls, due to the controls you must press 2 buttons for takedowns and reversals. Your opponent will take you to the ground and make you tap in about 20 seconds if you dont know this. Once you learn the controls and understand how to counter submissions you will have a much better experience. Various fighters have unique takedowns, strikes, and submissions, but the AI often leaves the pace of the fight going in the same direction the whole time. The clock runs very fast, but you can set the amount of time and number of rounds, so if your fights always end in the first round or always go to a decision, you can adjust to keep fights more interesting.
UFC offers a 16 man tournament, with limited recovery between fights, which can make things more challenging. The roster had a lot of great fighters, but still left many out. There is a Create a Fighter mode, which helps with the small roster, but it is also very limited. After winning a 16 man tournament, you can enter a title defense mode. However its very weak. You have to defend the title, but you never lose your title if you lose the match, you just fight them again. So there is no reason to defend your title and you might as well fight exhibition matches. This game truly shines with 2 Players that know the controls. Once you learn the controls, matches against the AI go instantly from being impossible to a walk in the park.
My Final Verdict: This game is a decent attempt at a 3D fighting game at the time, but falls short of capturing the MMA experience fans were looking for. I do recommend this game if you’re playing with someone else. I would recommend getting this one on the Dreamcast if you have one. Though there have been so many MMA games out, this is pretty much only going to appeal to the nostalgic today.
Single Player Experience – 4/10
Two Player Experience – 5.5/10
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