Played the demo for about 12-15 hours straight with my freind (both been playing mma games since pride/ufc on the ps2, played the hell out of the undisputed series and ea mma).
First impressions were that it *looks* very nice. The graphics are awesome.
Second impressions are that the game is shit, shallow and arcadey. Both a big leap back in grappling and a slap in the face of technical striking. Everything looks exciting, but at the expense of gameplay and realism. It's just... disappointing to say the least.
Despite visual effects like bruising and blood. You can't build up damage over the course of a fight (so no gradual wearing down of an opponent). You need to quickly flurry and successively hit the same area over and over in order to rock them into an incapacitated state and finish, otherwise damage done is healed after 10 seconds or so.
You can't get a leg kick tko, you can only temporarily make an opponent move slower. So combined with the healing above, they are next to pointless.
Straight punches can only be done when stationary, so no darting around on the outside of hooks throwing straights.
It's both too fast and too slow. The fighters seem to have infinite stamina and fight at 100 mph, but input lag means that attacks are queued like Fight Night Champion, which you can't break out of. You can't block quick enough after throwing an attack, and attacks don't interupt an opponent's attack, so you end up with just a sloppy brawl. Parry is also held down rather than being a twitch reaction.
It takes almost no stamina to do special moves, so you can spam the most riddiculous, jumping, reverse, spinning, tornado, cartwheel, backflip, butterfly, wheel, bicycle, helicopter kicks with no penalty whatsoever like a spasticated Eddie Gordo at all times.
Most of these are unpunishable and can't be interrupted, not even by leg or push kick.
However, said moves (all moves) do verrry little damage. You can eat reverse turning kicks for breakfast.
Special attacks, particularly kicks, should do way more damage, take way more stamina to do and be way more dangerous to attempt.
There is no sprawl. Takedowns are difficult to defend against: once an opponent has touched you, there's nothing you can do about it.
No ability to flatten out backmount
No minor transitions, only major
No punching a KO'd opponent
Can't catch kicks
Can't damage oponent by checking kicks
You fall over if you kick someone on the ground
No stopping an attack after it has been launched
Can't move someone around the cage on the ground
Transition from half guard top has no animation difference between going left and right, so choosing which direction to defend is a total gamble.
Bizare UFC Undisputed flick dodging instead of the fight night style.
Got the weird Undisputed unfluid rock em sock em combo thing too cus of the button instead of stick controls.
Ref stands you up in no time at all from the ground: you can be in side mount, even FULL mount and if there's not much going on for about 8 seconds then you'll get stood up. However, you can wall and stall for infinity.
The most basic, simple to do transition from guard puts you into full mount.
From full mount, postured up, using hooks, undefended... it takes about 20+ clean hits to knock someone out. Totally lacking in oomph, character seems to possess strange pillow fists.
Only good things I can see from the demo are:
That each fighter has 4 special passive traits (like Jon Jones has more damaging elbows, and another that gives him more damaging elbows and knees; makes for more unique fighters).
That the submission system as far as I can see eliminates cheating by use of turbo controllers (though the mark which appears to signify which direction to push in order to advance submission is far too small, and difficult to see when you are using your peripheral vision).
In summary, there are a lot of people on the internet saying this game is great... and either they have no idea what they're talking about, or they're being paid off. The grappling is comparable/worse than the first UFC Undisputed, with a terrible ref and abysmal, arcadey standup that seems much more inclined to encourage flashy special moves than any kind of technical set ups, tricks, combos.
Should have just taken the grappling from UFC 3, with the standup mechanics from EA MMA and the variety of UFC 3, but with better animations. Doesn't seem like that much of a task, but apparently it was.
...I'll probably still get it, as now they have a monopoly on MMA and I need to use ps4 for something