EA Sports MMA
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Ready to get your mixed-martial arts action on? Ok, then reach for UFC Undi...wait. Stop. THQ’s UFC franchise is not the only game in town anymore. EA Sports have finally thrown their hat into the ring, so to speak, with the recent release of EA MMA. I know what you’re thinking though. Can it survive on store shelves without the UFC branding plastered all over it? As long as you can accept a few caveats, the answer is yes...
As I noted, EA MMA is without the UFC license; and as such, doesn’t carry the notable fighters that accompany said brand. So if you were looking forward to putting Frank Mir in a rear-naked choke, you’ll be disappointed with EA MMA. However, it does have the Strikeforce affiliation, so fighters like Fedor, Werdum, Shamrock, Diaz and Shields are all present and accounted for.
One of the benefits of not being restricted by the UFC is it allowed EA to add a little more variety to the virtual sport. Venues range from hexagon to boxing rings. Instead of having to play with only the Unified rule-set, MMA also supports those found in Strikeforce (which differ a bit) and even the “anything goes” Vale Tudo. It’s a nice change and gives a little more depth to a sport that most people only know from watching the specials on Spike TV.
All the typical options are available. MMA 101 is the tutorial. Fight Now is the exhibition matches. Career allows for the creation of a new fighter, taking him from the gym to the belt. The Career mode is similar to what’s found in Undisputed 2010, where once you’ve “graduated” out of the gym rat tutorial, you’ll bump up to a minor league for your first pro fight. The biggest difference is in the overall vibe, going for a more streamlined and less sim-heavy approach than it’s THQ rival. From the weekly training sessions to the fighter’s individual attributes, there are less choices to be made - putting the focus more on the fights and the strategy thereof, rather than distributing tons of points into all the various facets of a fighter.
Of course, since this is an EA Sports title, their touch is all over it. The biggest of which is the fight stick. Similar to “Total Punch Control” stick we had with that last Fight Night game (in fact, it’s built on the same engine), all the kicks and strikes are done with the right stick instead of using the face buttons (you can change to a button scheme if needed.) It works great...for those accustomed to it. Since I have spent very little time with using the right stick in that fashion up to this point, there was a bit of a learning curve. Although, once I popped a few jabs into my opponents nose and blasted the side of his face with a few well-placed high kicks, it became second nature. Do I prefer it? No. I think I still like using the face buttons bust my foe’s jaw. But results will vary depending on your personal style.
Another major difference is in the submissions. With EA Sports MMA, Stamina is just as important as anything else, so mashing the buttons won’t get the job done - unless the job is to tire out your fighter. The game actually tells you that button mashing is a no-no. Proper balancing the tap of the button with the Stamina gauge is key to everything, from submission attempts to position changes. Let the gauge drop and your opponent may get just the edge they need to reverse you into a loss.
Beyond the variety of leagues and rule-sets, the online component offers some uniqueness to the virtual MMA realm as well. As players gain wins, they acquire points that go toward earning title fights along with goodies like titles and nicknames. But the meat is the Live Broadcast. it’s basically a means to get you and your fighter in a simulated PPV event. Players are chosen based on popularity, win/loss record, fan vids, etc... They are gathered up, divided into bouts and then duke it out in a Live Event that’s broadcast to all EA MMA owners. There are real commentators for the event and even other players cornering the fighters. It’s a great way to put players in the spotlight, as if they were really fighting in a live PPV.
Visually, EA MMA is solid, but won’t redefine the genre. As I said, it uses the Fight Night engine, and even with the tweaks, it still sits on par with last year;s Fight Night Round 4. Body damage is accurate and varied, but also has plenty of room for improvement should an MMA 2 get greenlit. The audio commentary is provided by real life Strikeforce duo of Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo,Strikeforce fans will feel right at home, although I think I still prefer to listen to Rogan and Goldberg from the UFC.
Probably the most impressive thing about EA Sports MMA is how complete and well rounded the package is considering it’s the freshmen entry in the franchise. Sure, EA Tiburon has been around for awhile, but this is the first MMA game to come from EA Sports. There’s plenty of room for growth and improvement, but EA has a solid, well varied and quite fun first title. If you are not loyal to the UFC brand, or maybe just sick of how saturated the market is with the premiere mixed-martial arts league, EA Sports MMA is a viable alternative to THQ’s dominate franchise.
+ Live Broadcast is easily one of the coolest new features of any sports game this year
+ Much more variety than it’s competitor...
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Release Date : 2010/10/19
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : EA Tiburon
Category : Fighting & Wrestling
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
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8.7 / 10