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26th Oct 2023

UFC 5 is a must-buy unless you already own UFC 4

Hugh Carr

ufc 5

Same ring, same rules, same game.

Sports games are typically chained to the yearly release cycle. As teams morph and change over time, companies are almost required to put out a new game to keep up with the times and provide the truest experience for fans. The major drawback with this is that games change incrementally over time, rather than taking big risks to switch up the gameplay.

It’s been three years since a new UFC game hit shelves, however, which would hypothetically give developers ample time to take feedback from users, fine-tune systems, and create a new experience for both returning and new fans. Well, the ring is the same, the rules are the same, and, to be honest, the game is the same.

If you’ve played UFC 4, you’ve more or less played UFC 5. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing; the gameplay is fluid, fun, and intuitive once you figure out the grapple system. A visual upgrade emulates the feeling of watching your favourite fighters on PPV, and the new knockout camera gives those last strikes an extra bit of umph. The submission mini-games have been removed, meaning attempting a tap out from your opponent is more seamless and doesn’t slow down the momentum of the fight. Injuries are more prevalent, with cuts on the head affecting accuracy and broken noses making stamina recovery more important.

Other than some UI updates and new training challenges, career mode is more or less unchanged. The goals to hit GOAT status are the same, the cutscenes are nearly the same as in UFC 4, and clever stat allocation will make victories in the first round an inevitability. While it’s fun to get your created fighter to the top of the card, once you’re there, options for new challenges become slimmer.

Overall, UFC 5 is fun for newcomers to the series, but after a three year wait, longtime fans may be disappointed to see that the changes are similar to the incremental ones from other series’ on an annual release schedule, rather than an overhaul to improve the overall experience.

UFC 5 is available on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S from €79.99.

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