The reason videogame sequels are often improvements over their predecessors is because there’s a pretty simple formula that devs need to follow- fix the problems of the old game and add new, interesting features (not gimmicks, mind). UFC 2 is so enjoyable not just because of the addition of the grappling menu during ground battles, not because the graphics have somehow become even better than the 2014 UFC game, but because 99% of the issues the original game had have been fixed. The career mode was a dull and disconnected affair in UFC but UFC 2 adds a new, more engaging training method and the ability to pick from 3 fight offers with varying levels of difficulty and reward. The KO animations have improved tenfold; no longer will your opponent stiffly drop to the floor after being rocked by a spinning roundhouse kick, instead flying and flopping down to the canvas and landing in awkward and painful positions. Your fighter then dives on them and begins the ground n’ pound, something else which has been given a facelift, thanks to some nice camera action and hard-hitting audio effects. The new Knockout Mode is addictive fun, in which the game turns into a more traditional fighting game, a la Tekken or Street Fighter, where every shot counts, and the rounds always end in dramatic and sometimes hilarious KO’s. The addition of an Ultimate Team seemed inevitable following the success of the game mode in FIFA and Madden. The mode allows us to create our own virtual MMA avatars and assign moves and attribute upgrades to them, but it really feels like a glorified career mode. The overhanging chore of applying fitness cards coupled with the overpriced EA store lurking around the menu ensures that it’s a mode I won’t be spending too much time with. The online Championship mode is entertaining and allows the player to use fighters they never would have, due to the random selection of weight class restrictions. The grappling is greatly improved in UFC 2, as the new menu display gives the player an easy and simple way to perform transitions, takedowns and submissions, and the addition of flying submissions adds a whole new level of excitement to the clinch game. In a way, UFC 2 serves to annoy me in the way that it is such an improvement upon the first game, as the FIFA franchise continues down the path of pay-to-win, with devs that seem to have no regard for where the quality of the gameplay is actually going.
UFC 2 is a triumphant and entertaining sport game which doubles the longevity of the first game, as well as fixing most of the issues present in the 2014 edition.