"The fighting engine is truly like no other."
And don't fail to remember that everything can be countered,
including grapples. This is the most fun part of the fighting engine.
You'll often times get into long rolling grapple matches with another
fighter where you both continually counter the other's grapple and fight
for the top position on the mat. Timing is extremely critical in this
game, but it's more than worthwhile.
All in all there are over a dozen mixed Martial Arts
in the game. Some of these include Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Karate, Shootfighting,
Pro Wrestling, and Capoeira. The latter might sound a little familiar,
as it should seeing as how that's the style that Eddy Gordo of Tekken
3 used. But don't expect to see the fighters in this game dancing around
on the floor. This art is for fast and accurate attacks and evasion.
"... this game has no career mode whatsoever..."
There are over 25 real UFC fighters in the game, as well
as some extra secret unlockable characters to be found as you progress
through the game. The problem I had with the fighter selection is that
all that is displayed about the fighter at the selection screen is his
style of martial arts. No strength attributes, no defense facts, nothing.
So, if you're new to this type of game or know nothing whatsoever about
martial arts, you'll be picking all your fighters purely at random. Unless,
of course, if you choose a street fighter.
UFC: Tapout ends up being a little lack luster in the
game mode departments by offering only 4 different modes: Arcade, Exhibition,
Tournament and UFC mode. Exhibition is a simple one-round, one-match
battle between a fighter you select and a CPU opponent that you also
select. Once the fight is over you merely go right back to the game's
start menu. This mode I found almost to be completely useless unless
you're trying to pre-screen a battle between opponents A-style against
an opponent of B-style.
Arcade mode is much like your standard arcade fighting
bouts that you'll find in many other fighting titles. You select a fighter
and head through a series of randomly selected matches in an attempt
to get the most consecutive wins. This is also the area of the game that
you unlock secret characters, such as Ice-T, Femme Fatale and even the
in-game ring announcer, Bruce Buffer.
Tournament and UFC mode are virtually identical. They
consist of an 8-man multi-fight tournament heading for the tournament.
The only different between Tournament and UFC mode is that the Tournament
mode allows you to select what fighters will be in the tournament and
who controls each fighter (you, a friend or a CPU player).
Each of these modes only goes one round, which only continues
to kill the game's longevity. Oddly enough there's an option in the Option's
Menu to take the rounds up to 5 rounds, yet when I do this it does nothing.
It seems to only work when you're playing with a friend. WTF!?
The problem here is that when you take only 8 fighters
and divide them up into a tournament you then have 2 fighters against
each other to start off with. OK, so now that's only 4 fights at the
start. Then the winners move up to the next fight. So now that's another
fight. Then finally there are two fighters remaining. Now you left with
having only 3 (yes, 3!) fights in the whole tournament - and each fight
will be pretty short. Many tournaments are over in less than 5 minutes.
And provided that this game has no career mode whatsoever these modes
are somewhat pointless in regards to depth.
After taking 5 minutes to beat the Tournament mode you'll
be granted with a screen that only shows the title belt and then it's
back to the start screen. The UFC mode grants you with some ending credits
There's also a Create-A-Player mode to be found in the
game. You can choose from an assortment of around 120 faces, more than
a 50 outfits, some strengths (i.e. quick and agile, powerful striker,
etc.), your skin complexity, a nickname from a pre-created list, weight,
height, a voice and more. And, of course, your fighting style can be
What bothers me is that everything about this mode is
so pre-selected. There's nothing you can really create on your own to
make your fighter truly unique like choosing a hairstyle, some anonymous
items (sunglasses, etc.), shoes, tattoos or anything. It's pretty shallow
in all regards and you're more likely to find people having the same-looking
fighter if you have similar tastes.
There's no adjusting individual attributes with the exception
of your life, stamina (how quickly your character recovers from using
energy), punch and kick skill (these are both just referring to the strength
of each attack). It was almost literally pointless to create a fighter,
especially when the secret characters to be found in the game were probably
what you wanted to make anyway since they have obviously different features
from every other fighter in the game.
Compared to the PS2 version, which is scheduled to release
in May (as of right now), the Xbox version is very weak in the gameplay
department. No career mode, a rather shallow Create-A-Player mode and
purposeless tournament modes - which the PS2 incarnation will have better
of reach - makes this game seem second rated.
Pushing polygon power is what the Xbox is all about right
now it seems, as UFC: Tapout is a visual masterpiece. Fighters look great
at absolutely any given moment in the game. Skin textures and lighting
is well captured, blood is a little cheesy due to it being mainly just
round circles of red on the mat, but it's not that much of a problem.
Where the graphical engine truly shines is in the player
introductions. Much like WWF Raw, UFC: Tapout boasts some amazing fighter
intros. Crowds are fully captured in 3D and each seems to be doing a
different gesture. There's even a nice TV-presentation and mist effect
to the crowds in the intros that only enhances the experience. Fighters
are gorgeous all the way around and even more so in the introductions
with fully animated everything and even facial gestures. This is yet
another eye candy title for the Xbox to place on its graphical trophy
"The submissions and grapples system is the best out there. "
The only bad side to the intros is that all of them are
basically identical in all regards. I really only found myself maybe
seeing 2 to 3 different introduction variations in all - most of which
being just a different camera angle. This gets dull quite fast because
after about 2 matches you've seen them all. The only different is the
fighter that's walking into the ring. But even they do the same gestures.
Sigh…and it is so pretty too. What really kills the presentation of the
introductions is how it all flows smoothly until you get into the ring.
Once you step into the ring though everything changes
(including sound, which we'll get into next). Those nice facial animations
aren't shown until you hit a replay (which looks good) and the commentator
covers his mouth with the microphone so that no facial animations besides
the occasional blinking eye are noticed.
While it gets repetitive, everything is there for the
fighter's introductions - the music the good sounding announcer - and
…the music stops right after you get past the fighter
information screen and you have to listen to the most boring announcer
and pre-generated crowd ever. What happened to the nice sounding announcer
in the fighter announcer? And the same goes with the crowd? Maybe it
was the music. Or maybe it was a completely different engine being used
there. Either way, the difference in quality from the announcer and crowd
is immediately noticed and is much worse when the fight actually begins.
Crowds make one continuous and dull cheering effect and
ring announcer is cheesy. And occasionally you'll hear someone in the
audience scream something (usually a fighters last name) that sounds
Punches sound more like someone hitting a body bag than
anything else, but sound real good when you have someone on the mat and
you hear the impact of their head hitting the floor. All in all it's
pretty decent, just nothing special.
You'll have to adjust the game's volume settings to get
it to sound pretty decent. I basically just turned down the crowd and
sound effects to about ¾ of its max level and that did a little
Each fighter makes various moans and grunts that are
pretty nice seeing as how each has his own voice…somewhat. It would have
been nice had some in-game fight music would have been thrown in for
the hell of it, but that would be a little unrealistic… I guess. Still… it
would have been nice.
After looking at the upcoming PS2 version with its career
mode, more in-depth Tournament mode and a better Create-A-Player it became
only obvious that this game was released so much earlier because the
developers cut everything out of the game that makes its PS2 brother
its successor to focus on tap out (no pun intended) some more graphic
eye candy. Sadly, this seems to be a continuing trend with quite a lot
of the recently released Xbox titles. Wreckless and WWF Raw both lacked
features they needed and definitely focused on the graphics. This trend
definitely needs to end.
Shallow game modes, lack of a decent create-a-player
and almost god-awful in-game sound effects bring the score down. Adding
to that no career mode and you have yourself a pretty standard punch-kick-grab
fighting game in regards to game modes. Play this game definitely with
a friend, as that seems to be the only way to save it from being a more
than lack-luster solo play experience.
Wonders why Ice-T is so buff in the game.
Still ending up being a pretty deep fighting game
overall, UFC deserves some attention. Its flaws make
it more obvious that the PS2 version will be much better,
but if you're looking for a different fighting game
for your Xbox right now then this is a good choice.
If you're not a graphic whore, have a PS2 and only
want to really get one version, then your best bet
would be to wait for the PS2 version to come out in
May, as it will be much deeper. Granted, not as pretty
as the Xbox version, but much deeper nonetheless. Is
this one worthy of owning? Sure is…due to it being
a great fighting game overall with tons of strategic