Pride FC Review

From the creators of the original Ultimate Fighting Championship on the Dreamcast comes Pride FC, the first title based on the Pride FC mixed martial-arts tournament, which is extremely popular in Japan and gaining momentum stateside as well. For the most part, Pride plays exactly like the many Ultimate Fighting Championship games released across consoles, which isn’t at all a bad thing.  The game provides a very deep and realistic interpretation of mixed martial arts fighting.

For those unfamiliar with similar games like UFC, Pride FC is not your typical fighter. The game requires a great deal more strategy than most button-mashers. You pick from a huge cast of fighters, each subscribing to a certain martial arts discipline, like Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing or Karate. In order to defeat your opponent, you must either knock them out or by getting them into a submission hold and forcing them to tap out. Often times its not enough to charge an opponent with everything you’ve got and try to pummel the crap out of them. You must use reversals, holds and blocks to defeat a challenger and even if one person seems to be winning, the tides can turn in an instant with one move.

The game has several different modes of gameplay, but they’re fairly run-of-the-mill. There’s the Grand Prix mode, which is a tournament, the One Match, which is an exhibition match, and Survival mode, which is an Endurance match. There is also a Create-A-Fighter mode that allows you to do just that. You can change your fighter’s various attributes, such as height, weight, fighting style and specialties. However, the Sparring mode from UFC (which allowed you to fight matches and build up your character by winning, sort of like experience points) is gone, making the Create-A-Fighter mode pretty uninteresting. Overall, the single player experience is pretty short and plain. The two-player mode is quite a bit more fun. New folks will typically lose to seasoned pros fairly quickly, but two people who are familiar with the gameplay will duke it out for quite a while and have a great time.

The game’s graphics are fairly good, but not great. The characters have nice details, such as facial hair, tattoos and weird hairstyles. However, overall the player models look a bit artificial, and they don’t look different enough from each other. They are pretty well animated though, and their movements seldom look jittery and out of place.

The environments are limited to the ring in which you fight, but it is nicely detailed with various logos. The audience could have been done better, as they look like they’ve been cut out of cardboard. The blood effects are cool, and certainly not for the squeamish. Blood will fall on the mat in little droplets that will stay for the entire match, and it will also spray on the camera after a well-placed hit.

The sound effects work for the game. The soundtrack consists of various rock songs and fanfares, akin to many wrestling games. The punching sounds a bit strange, like dropping a slab of prime rib on a concrete floor. The announcer voices are accurately done in both Japanese and English and sound nice, but the referee’s voice has a muted and tinny quality to it.

While its definitely not Mortal Kombat, Pride FC’s realistic depiction of violence is certainly not for everyone. Also, the game’s single player modes aren’t as developed as they should be. However, anyone who is looking for a deep, engaging fighting game to play with a friend would do good to check out Pride FC.

Reviewer’s Scoring Details

Gameplay: 8.0

The fighting engine in Pride FC is very deep. Each character has a unique set of holds, reversals and submissions, so fighting with each of them is a notably different experience. However, the single player modes are pretty sparse, making the single player experience very short and uninspired.

Graphics: 8.

The fighters sport some nice detail, but their overall appearance is just too shiny and artificial. The animations are very smooth and fluid, though.

 Sound: 8.0

The music, composed of rock anthems and fanfares, is appropriate for a game of this type. The announcer voices (in both Japanese and English) are quite good, but the ref’s voice has a weird tinny quality to it and the punches sound a little strange.

 Difficulty: Medium

 Concept: 7.5

This game doesn’t do anything that UFC hasn’t already done, but that’s not really a bad thing.

 Multiplayer: 8.9

The game’s two-player mode makes up for the thin single-player mode. After getting a keen grasp on the gameplay mechanics, two seasoned pros can have hours of fun pummeling each other into submission.

 Overall: 8.0

Pride FC offers up a very deep, engaging fighting game, although the single player experience leaves much to be desired. However, the two-player mode is a great time. Anyone looking for a meticulously technical fighting game to play with his or her friends and doesn’t mind realistic violence should check Pride FC out.