PG 1 | PG 2
EA goes international as they enter the virtual octagon to battle it out with the top mixed martial art fighters in the world. Prepare for a fight, this is EA Sports MMA.
EA Sports has finally dipped their hands into the world of Mixed Martial Arts or "MMA" as it's more commonly referred. Partnering up with 'Strikeforce' (the worlds 2nd largest MMA promotion) EA Sports looks to play catch up with the UFC/THQ branded 'UFC Undisputed' that is already on its second go around. Endorsements mean nothing if you can't back up the goods. No matter how fancy the bells and whistles can get, when you're dealing with a fighting game all that matters are the controls and fight mechanics. Like EA Sports other titles, MMA takes a simulation style approach in an attempt to get the most realistic replication of the sport as possible. While this is a tall order to even begin to fathom, MMA does a fantastic effort showcasing what it takes to become a MMA star.
Button Mashers – Put down the controller
What this sim-styled approach really says, EA MMA is no button masher. Button mashing is strictly out the question as EA explains why MMA is an exact science that is all about timing, skill and stamina, not a competition of whom can hit the buttons the fastest. In testament to what I learned later, upon firing up the game, I can attest to this theory. I tried my hand at a few Exhibition matches with the unstoppable 'Fedor' under my command only to come out with some embarrassing knockout losses. Quickly I understood, this is a game that I will need to learn. This is not a problem because beneath the 'Fight Now' (exhibition matches) heading is 'MMA 101,' the next logical step in virtual MMA training.
In the 'MMA 101' trainer, you won't be in a gym learning the 1, 2's, you will be in a full-out main event that rushes you into the big leagues to learn the game. The controls are thumbstick heavy, just like the developers previous work in the revised 'Fight Night' series. Moving is handled by the left stick and the right dedicated to handling your punches and kicks. Hooking and diagonal jabbing is the main directions with the left trigger handling kick modifiers. Blocking is done with the other trigger, which you learn in about one second into your training. The face buttons handle clinching, takedowns and takedown defense, standing up from a group position and submissions. The ground game is pretty much the same with the addition of being able to advance your position on the mat. Submissions work on a button press mechanic, but your are reminded from EA Sports that this is not a button mashing contest, it's a stamina managing contest. It's not really button mashing, but a few quick taps will definitely help you out. It only takes about five minutes and you will have the basics down. However, to real learn MMA's craft you will need to spend sometime in the 'Career' mode.
Creating the next world champion
The 'Career' mode is where you will spend the majority of your time in MMA. Here you start from the bottom as an unknown fighter with the hopes to become the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Starting with trainer/mentor 'Bas Rutten,' a former undefeated MMA fighter. Bas quickly explains some of the worlds fighting styles and mixed martial arts adaption of competitive fighting. Then its time to customize your future MMA champion. The typical assortment of options present themselves like name, nickname, hometown, etc... but the important stuff is your wieght class that you'll be competing in and your fighting style. 9 Different fighting styles are selectable including Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Sambo, Muay Thai, Wrestling and more. Each style has their plus and negative sides. For example Boxing gives you quick hands and good endurance with weak kicks and no ground skills-- while Judo which gives you great takedowns from the clinch and better than average mat game with weak striking and a glass jaw. It's important to think this over before you get into the ring. Going against your normal playing style could be disastrous.
For looks, I was surprised at how well the fighters are detailed in MMA. There are an absurd amount of wardrobe and body selections to run through, and taking another page from 'Fight Night' you can customize your short, but effective entrances with some licensed music from the likes of 'Areosmith' and Canadian rock band 'Red Rider' with their hit "Lunatic Fringe." The whole character customization is fairly deep for a fighting game and is adjustable at any time during your career.