A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Emphasizes hard work, training toward a goal, benefits of working with others to reach a goal in the career mode. But at its most basic, it's about beating people into submission for sport.
Positive Role Models
Coach Davis decides to back your character because he sees a will to win and not give up during an unfair fight. Apart from a few appearances in cutscenes, the only time you hear him is during training sessions, when he critiques how you're doing.
Ease of Play
Tons of fighting moves and commands to learn, as well as button combinations to practice, stamina to balance to ensure you're not leaving yourself open to attacks, and timing your strikes. Much of it comes down to trial, error, and lots of practice to know the right time to pull off an attack, dodge, or defend, and that's not counting the ground game, which is a completely different strategy game altogether.
Violence & Scariness
The entire point of the game is to defeat your opponent by knockout or submission, which involves punches, kicks, and submission maneuvers. Players can knock out or injure training partners, and your strikes can cause significant bruising and bleeding on opponents. Knockouts can be particularly brutal, and camera replays focus in on blows that cause lots of damage to fighters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female fighters are shown wearing shorts and tank tops, while ring girls are shown in bikini tops and shorts.
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No language in dialogue, but music features uncensored rap lyrics, with frequent use of "ass," "bitch," "s--t," and other words.
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Products & Purchases
Logos are positioned on fighters' shorts and on arenas for sponsors of UFC, such as Toyo Tires and Reebok. Also posters for past UFC pay-per-views. Game constantly talks about pay-per-view events to drive fan interest. This is the fourth installment in the EA Sports UFC franchise, based on the sport.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that EA Sports UFC 4 is a sports simulation for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game is the latest chapter in the EA Sports UFC game franchise, which tries to re-create the mixed martial arts sport. Violence is the point of the sport, and that isn't lost here, where the goal is to knock your opponent out or make them submit in the middle of the octagon. Players will use punches, kicks, chokes, and other martial arts maneuvers to injure and incapacitate opponents. Bruises and blood are frequently shown as a result of blows, and knockouts look brutal, with replays from multiple camera angles showing the decisive hit. Logos are frequently shown on fighters' trunks, as well as on the octagon itself, promoting brands like Reebok and Toyo Tires. Female fighters are shown in tank tops and shorts, while ring girls are shown in bikini tops and shorts. There isn't any offensive language in dialogue, but music in the game features uncensored rap lyrics, with frequent use of profanity throughout many songs. Finally, the franchise is known for complex play, and this installment is no different, so players will need to commit time to learning the moves as well as the best times to pull off a strike or submission against an opponent.
Is It Any Good?
While this brawler comes out of the corner with some new game features and fight refinements, it loses steam in the depth and replayability department. EA Sports UFC 4 is the latest installment of the long-running franchise, and has some nice additions to the standing game. New this year is the option to both block and sway from incoming attacks, which limits the number of counterattacks you can make but significantly decreases the damage you take -- which is vital to staying upright, especially when facing off against a kick-focused fighter or someone with a larger reach than your player. Additionally, new tweaks have been made to the ground game, with two new submission mini-games and some quick time events to give you an extra chance to provide damage or a chance to escape a hold. While the tweaks to the ground game help, it's still the weakest part of the fighting experience: Transitions still feel a bit clunky and unresponsive when you're moving from one stance to the next, and even with the new Grapple Assist mechanic to help you move into specific positions, like submissions or ground and pound, it's still not as smooth as the standing punches and kicks. Even the upright fights have issues, because your fighters will change stances at random, which can throw off your timing when you expect to throw one kind of kick and you get something completely different.
These issues are highlighted by the Career mode, which is clearly the focus of the game but quickly starts to feel shallow. It's nice to see that virtually every move you make adds experience to your character with their skills, making them a stronger fighter in the cage. It's also nice to see that you can form some relationships with fighters, making it easier to learn certain moves from them or potentially set up rivalries with others. The main issue that crops up with this mode is how quickly it becomes repetitive. Players get the option to spar with training partners, but these guys are way too easy to knock out, which limits the opportunities to improve your skills. You can watch tape on opponents, but they never change their tactics or evolve their game over time, which seems unrealistic, especially during rematches. The same is said for the pre-fight routine: train, maybe do a sponsor's activity, fight, repeat. Even the cutscenes and the coach that introduces the game mode fade to obscurity. His main interaction gets limited to making minor comments during training sessions instead of making this mode into a dynamic, engaging story. That becomes boring, and not particularly thrilling, especially when the game draws out your pathway to the championship. Overall, if you're a UFC fight fan, you'll probably like many of the changes that've been made to this chapter of the series. But after a while, it's hard to imagine not being bored with the same kind of fight over and over again.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.