The last time I even watched a mixed martial arts match I was 16. I couldn’t begin to tell you any of the major players who fight in the MMA. If you’re looking for a review from a balls-to-the-wall hardcore MMA fan, well, you’ve quite simply come to the wrong place. If however, you want to see the perspective of someone new to the scene, then read on…..
Story: The only story to speak of comes from the “Career Mode” in EA’s MMA title. After creating your own fighter, you get treated to a hilarious Bas Rutten, who helps you through everything from training, to setting up matches. It’s your standard “take your character from the bottom to the top” fare, and there’s not much of a narrative – but let’s face it, that’s not why you’re playing this game.
Gameplay: The gameplay is truly the strong point of EA Sport’s MMA title. It all seems very complex and overwhelming at first (especially for someone used to mashing buttons to win in games), but once you get the hang of things, there’s a certain elegance to taking down your opponent and beating the shit out of them.
From what I understand, this game is a bit faster and less technical than the other MMA game on the market, but I think that’s a good thing. There are two ways to play this game: button-based controls, and total-strike control. While I started on button based (where the face buttons are used for strikes, and the right stick is used for stances), I quickly changed to the total-strike control to test it, and stuck with it. Using the right stick, you can control the exact direction, style, and intensity of all of your moves under the total-strike control.
As the game is based on the Fight Night 4 engine, gamers that have played that before may have a bit of understanding on the basics of the controls. The standing combat feels very realistic, and very satisfying if you can manage to land any kind of combo, or block what your opponent is throwing (and blocking isn’t tedious or a struggle here). Once you get your opponent to the ground, it becomes almost totally about timing things right to get him into a submission hold, but it never once feels clunky or overbearing – however that’s not to say it’s easy at all.
Graphics: The fighters themselves look really nice, and very realistic – and most of the animations look really amazing. However I did notice a few animations that were off a bit, and I had noticed a small amount of clipping whenever performing certain takedowns. Also, the occasional framerate drop serves to take you out of the immersion of the fight. All said and done though, the graphics are pretty good.
Sound: The sound work really shines in MMA. There’s true quality when it comes to the voice acting – not only from the fighters themselves, but the announcers. Time and again I’ve seen sports games plagued with announcers that sound repetitive to an extreme, but with MMA I never had that feeling. The things they said were fresh, and always went along with what was going on in the match.
Wishes: I wish I knew more about the people in this MMA game, as I believe they’re all real fighters (I need to watch some MMA now). I don’t have any complaints about the game though to wish much else.
Final Thoughts: One of the things I didnt touhc on yet is the EXTENSIVE multiplayer mode. Yeah the single player is good, but the online is where everyone will probably migrate. You have over 90 different belts you can win online, plus you can wager XP against other people on the outcome of a match. Another GIANT thing with the online mode is the EA sponsored “Live Broadcast” mode, where EA will select 2 fighters once a week, and broadcast a fight between them. The fight will actually be publicized in the game, and on the EA Sports’ MMA website. They even say that lots of factors will be taken into account when selecting the fighters, including user-created hype videos, and community activity.
All in all, EA’s first step into the MMA ring is a good one, and I can only guess it will keep getting better year after year. I give MMA by EA Sports 4 out of 5 Michelas.