Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: Immersion Games
ESRB Rating: Teen
Release Date: Available now
If there’s a sport that seems to be growing in popularity at a lightning fast pace, it’s mixed martial arts. For those of you who are perhaps unaware, mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact sport which allows for various fighting styles and techniques, including strikes with hands and feet, both while standing and on the ground. Winners are decided by fighters either knocking out their opponent, having their opponent submit, a technical knockout as determined by the referee or by the total amount of points earned by the end of the match. Trying to capitalize on its recent fame, EA Sports has released their take on the activity with its video game titled simply MMA.
MMA allows players to first create their own fighter. While in general this is nothing new, EA Sports has added in some fun features to this set up including the ability to use a photo of a player’s actual face, and pre-programmed several first and last names into the game, so the gamer’s actual name has a chance of being used during gameplay. Once your character is created, it’s off to competing on the circuit.
Once in the ring, there are a lot of different ways to attack your opponent. Kicks and punches are executed by performing a sequence of directional movements with the right analog stick. Pulling down suddenly and then up on the stick results in a nasty uppercut. The best way to achieve victory is to take your foe to the ground, and then try to get him to submit by executing a hold, or pummeling him until he screams for mercy.
I will say that I enjoyed the level of depth given to the fighters. Once a player has mastered the controls, the fights can become very complex and complicated, due to the number of attacks available. The graphics are very crisp, there’s some surprisingly decent commentary, and the soundtrack gets things pumping during the fights. Also, the online play and leaderboards are well executed.
I have a personal gripe with most “real” fighting games – the speed and fluidity. I understand the desire for realistic movement, and as such giving the fighters a nice sense of weight, but often times I found MMA just too sluggish and boring. While there’s a whole cadre of moves to choose from, the movements and executions are not very intuitive. Also, players don’t have health, but rather a stamina bar, so it was hard to tell if I was in danger of being knocked out, or how close I was to winning.
I’ll conclude by saying that EA Sports MMA is a good first try. It’s somewhat noticeable that most of the fighters in the game come from the Strikeforce division as opposed to more popular UFC division. Never-the-less, while the game could probably use some patching, hardcore fans of the sport can probably find a lot to enjoy within it.