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He played in the UFL, a new competitor to FIFA and EA Sports FC with investments from Cristiano Ronaldo

Date: July 18, 2024 Time: 05:19:09

Recently opened beta UFL – a new football simulator from the Strikerz studio. This is the first major test of one of the most anticipated sports games in the industry, in which Cristiano Ronaldo himself previously invested.

We played a dozen matches, evaluated the gameplay, mechanics and other elements of the upcoming novelty and shared our first impressions of the competitor EA Sports FC.

UFL: game information

Name: UFL.Platforms: Xbox Series and PlayStation 5.Developer: Strikerz. Editor: Strikerz.Release date: until the end of 2024Gender: soccer simulatorAccess to the Russian beta: Only using an account from another region.

The video is available on the UFL YouTube channel. The rights to the video belong to Strikerz Inc.

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What is the UFL?

UFL is a free football simulator from the Strikerz studio, which includes many developers from the CIS countries. The authors position the project as the “most unconditionally clean game of the genre”, which for many years has been dominated by Electronic Arts with its EA Sports FC series (previously called FIFA).

The UFL was announced in the summer of 2021, and since then the simulator has been periodically postponed to a later date. The project is being developed in Unreal Engine 5 and is now announced exclusively as a console game that will be released on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series before the end of 2024. Interestingly, the game was also sponsored by Cristiano Ronaldo, investing around 40 million of dollars into it, and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is among the project’s ambassadors.

UFL footballers are still inferior in details to EA Sports FC models 24

Photo: Strikerz

Unlike the Electronic Arts series, the future UFL is aimed exclusively at online battles and is the closest to the more popular Ultimate Team mode. In it, EA Sports FC fans build their dream team by purchasing virtual players on the transfer market or obtaining them through packages.

In this sense, the novelty is very close to the footsim of the Canadians from EA. Each athlete has six main characteristics with a maximum of 99: Speed, Shooting, Passing, Dribbling, Defense and Physics. Each category has more detailed skills that are responsible for a particular player’s ability on the field.

For example, Physics includes indicators of endurance, strength and jumping of a football player.

Characteristics of Cristiano Ronaldo in the UFL

Photo: Strikerz/Championship

In the beta version, the most basic squad is available with a top-level player-captain (Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, etc.) and little-known footballers. Advanced players can be purchased on the transfer market, but the best cards will cost a decent amount, and the purchase itself is impossible without accumulating a special “Reputation”.

Therefore, the first impressions of the game were marred not only by a bad connection due to overloaded servers, but also by too slow soccer players.

Starting lineup in the UFL

Photo: Strikerz/Championship

How the UFL is played

If you were expecting UFL gameplay at the level of EA Sports FC 24 or at least no worse than the latest FIFA installments, then you may be disappointed. According to the results of the first games, it is obvious that the project is very far from being a mastodon of the genre; This is reflected in Electronic Arts’ extensive experience and connections in the football industry.

In terms of gameplay, UFL is more reminiscent of Konami’s eFootball, which replaced the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series. The footballers feel somewhat “wooden” and “slow”, the weight of the ball is not felt in the passes and shots, and there is no talk of the realistic collisions that existed in FIFA 12.

Basically, the UFL is very similar to EA Sports FC. The Strikerz studio transferred to its project not only the characteristics of football players, indicators of a non-working leg, feints, tactical settings, controls, interface, but also much more.

The free kick and penalty system here is taken directly from FIFA 22

Photo: Strikerz/Championship

Additionally, the game has a clear lack of varied animations and procedurality. The players make passes with the same movements, and the goalkeepers make saves with the same jumps, after which the ball always flies in the same direction.

The UFL also lacks detailed player tracking of the team. For example, many passes in the game fly to the farthest receiver with great force, even though the pass was given to the closest moving player with barely a button press. Players’ movements, turns and feints also feel very unresponsive, although this may be due to their low stats.

Players criticize Electronic Arts for similar scripts and goals, but in the UFL the situation is much worse. It is very difficult to score with a long shot here: the ball flies abnormally slowly, so the goalkeeper hits it easily. Crosses into the box also seem unbalanced due to very strong defenders and a lack of competition for the ball, so almost all goals are scored only from very close range with a shot into the far corner.

So far there are also very few celebrations in the UFL

Photo: Strikerz/Championship

Otherwise, UFL looks like any other sports simulator: the game looks modern, navigation in the menu and sections is very comfortable, and you get used to the interface instantly.

Is the UFL worth the wait?

In general, the UFL beta leaves a positive impression: newcomers to the genre were able to create a kind of football simulator, and that’s great. At the same time, the gameplay remains the main problem of the novelty: footsim lacks variety of animations, responsiveness, advanced ball physics and realistic collisions.

The UFL beta once again demonstrated that developing football simulators is a very difficult and laborious process with many nuances.

For now, Electronic Arts can rest assured: the Canadians have been developing football simulators for more than 30 years and during this time they have reached the highest bar in the genre, which is unattainable for everyone else. It’s certainly not the first time.

However, with due diligence, frequent updates, and community support, UFL can become, if not a killer, then a worthy competitor to EA Sports FC. In addition, the new product will be completely free.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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