A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know EA Sports UFC 2 simulates the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a real-world mixed martial arts league for men and women. The simulation can be quite visceral, realistically depicting the damage fighters do to each other's faces and bodies as they punch, kick, elbow, and grapple with one another. Slow-motion shots capture fighters breaking noses, causing facial cuts, and knocking each other out as blood flies through the air and spatters the mat. The fighters are physically modeled after real-world UFC combatants but don't show much personality other than to fight and act aggressive. But it's clear through training that they're disciplined and work hard to become skilled athletes. Parents should also note that this game has plenty of in-game advertising for recognizable brands, plus it includes background songs that have profanity and mention drugs. Players are also encouraged to purchase downloadable content.
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What's it about?
EA SPORTS UFC 2 is a straightforward simulation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a real sport where mixed martial arts fighters face off against each other in one-on-one combat. It includes photo-realistic virtual representations of many famous UFC fighters, both male and female, and allows players to design their own fighters from scratch, creating their physical appearances and choosing fighting styles and skills. Tutorials and challenge modes help teach players the basics of combat, including standing attacks, ground moves, and clinching. Once comfortable with the controls, players can choose from a variety of modes, including UFC Ultimate Team (in which players create and slowly grow their own group of fighters), a custom event creator, and online play against human opponents. There's also a knockout mode, which gets rid of clinching and grappling to focus on standing combat, and a standard career mode, where players can eventually unlock famous fighters such as Bruce Lee and Mike Tyson. Hundreds of fighters are included in the game, but players can purchase more as add-on content.
Is it any good?
The visceral and graphic nature of this sports title pretty much guarantees EA Sports' second kick at the UFC can won't have much appeal beyond the sport's core fans, but it at least caters to a broader swath in that group. That's largely thanks to more accessible controls and fighting mechanics, plus a healthy range of difficulty levels. Rookies can start on beginner difficulty as they learn the fundamentals of MMA fighting, including how to block, punch, kick, clinch, and grapple, and experience a good measure of success as they work through their careers and become more skilled. An easy-to-grasp stamina bar governs not only attack power but also how much damage you'll soak up from incoming attacks. It's still challenging -- especially on harder difficulties and when playing online against other humans -- but should prove less off-putting than its predecessor for those new to the series.
But if you don't much care for UFC, this game is unlikely to make you a convert. The focus remains squarely on capturing the brutality of MMA fights, with thousands of animations engineered to show combatants suffering an immense variety of punishments. You'll see punches that break noses, kicks that slice gashes in cheeks, and fighters getting knocked cold on their feet, landing squarely on their heads as they crumple to the mat. Entertainment in this game is meant to come not only from learning and executing technical skills but also witnessing photo-realistic fighters enduring immense and bloody beatings. It's not going to be for everyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. People don't die in this game, but they're viciously beaten and often depicted with realistic and painful-looking facial injuries, but do you think it's possible for a game without any deaths or even permanent injuries to feel more violent than one in which characters are frequently killed?
Talk about professional fighting. Kids are told not to fight from an early age, yet some of our most popular sports involve adults fighting and trying to harm each other, so how do you interpret this seeming divergence in cultural values?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.