EA Sports MMA

EA MMA by the EA Sports team is the second MMA game to have been released this year. A statement which I thought I’d never have been saying, pretty much ever. Although MMA is growing as a sport, MMA sports games are still a very niche market. Now that there are two games available for you to pick from, a direct comparison between the two seems unavoidable.

First off, being the first in (what will potentially be) a series of MMA games, EA have the chance to lay the foundations of what to expect in the future with a solid base structure. You can see from the look and feel of the game that they have avoided doing what the UFC title has done and decided to throw you into the daily life of a fighter: the training, the travel, learning new moves, learning new combinations to put together and even a couple of patented special moves.

Getting to know the game is quite easy because even though there is a tutorial mode called MMA 101, the real tutorial mode comes in the form of the first couple of hours in the career mode. This mode teaches you pretty much everything you need to know on how to play the game. The training asks you to complete various challenges in order for you to level up your fighter’s ability, but really, passing or failing will reward you with the same result so it’s more of a tutorial mode to prepare you for online play. This is good because some of the training gets hard relatively quickly.

The control system is similar to the UFC version, but not without a special mention to the “Total control striking control method”- first shown in the Fight Night series – which allows you to pick and choose which type of punch or kick you want to land on the opponent by using the right analogue stick. This method of control combined with the much simplified aspects of the ground game makes EA MMA easy to pick up and within a few minutes let you stop a takedown with a sprawl and survive an arm bar; something which in UFC 2010 was almost impossible to achieve without putting in several hours.

The online features are fantastic. You can play versus as normal, as you would expect, to compete for online titles and belts, you can upload highlights of matches to the www.easports/mma website for your friends to watch, and there are a host of user uploaded fighters free for you to download. The single most impressive feature is that you can get nine friends together, set up a five fight main event pay per view and actually broadcast it online so that people can watch you all fight without them having to do anything. A fantastic addition.

Ultimately though, this game lacks the shine and presentation that the UFC 2010 title brings. While the controls are years ahead of UFC 2010, the look and feel of the game has a generic EA Sports feel about it. I’ve played both Fifa 11 and Fight Night Round 4 in the past few weeks; this game combines the excellent Fifa online options with the Fight Night training to win boxing play and sticks a new control method on top of it.

The ultimate MMA game for me would be the combination of the look and feel of the UFC 2010 game and the control system and career mode of the EA MMA title. If anything though, it’s a strong start from EA MMA. I’m sure that with subsequent releases the game will find its own groove, separating it from the obvious borrowed features from the other EA Sports titles.

Another annoying addition is the multiplayer one-off voucher. The promo didn’t have a code with it, but given the list of features available for me to use, I decided that the 800 Microsoft® points were worth it. This is more a reflection that companies like EA and THQ, don’t benefit directly from second hand sales.







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