MMA is rapidly becoming one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. Naturally, games followed, and so far only one major game exists for the sport: the UFC Undisputed series. Much like how EA has a stranglehold on football games with the NFL license, THQ has done the same with MMA games.
EA, decided to go ahead and tackle the genre, which proves you don’t need the biggest league’s backing to make a great game with many famous names.
Depth - EA MMA is not a button masher. For fans looking for a bit more depth when recreating their favorite sport, this is your game. An intricate series of mechanics backed by smooth controls offer a compelling experience once you take the time to learn the game.
Options - For true fans of MMA, there’s a heaping helping of choices. You can mix things up beyond the three five-minute rounds of American rules. For example there is Brazil's Vale Tudo -- a single, grueling, 20-minute, anything-goes round that's more of a war than a fight. You can swap the hexagonal cage for the more traditional square ring used in England (be careful not to get caught in the corners or some quick kicks will finish you off fast). Additions like these really cater to connoisseurs of MMA. In addition, there is a robust career mode along with a create-a-fighter option.
Two Ways to Play - If you’ve ever played the Fight Night series, the default control system is similar, with strikes thrown with a flick of the analog stick. A second, simpler control scheme simply has strikes mapped the face buttons, which was great for friends that just wanted to mash buttons.
Ground Game - The ground game’s controls feel a bit more intuitive than THQ’s game. While the beginner will furiously mash buttons, the learned player will be able to do a wide variety of holds and submissions. A variety of mini games will pop up when a submission has been successfully implemented, although some could be a little clearer.
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
MMA 101 - The “tutorial” mode is pretty different from what you would expect. Instead of walking you through moves one by one, the game only tells you how a move works after you press the corresponding combination of buttons. Different isn’t better, and it’s a bit frustrating for players who want to understand the game.
Lack of Fighters - Without the UFC license, not all your favorite names are going to be present. This is understandable, but its impact really depends on your MMA tastes. If you follow the international scene, this game will appeal more to you. If you only watch UFC on Saturday nights, you may want to pass on EA MMA if your only goal in mind is to play your favorite fighter.
EA MMA is a very solid game with very little in the way of bad things to say about it. If you are looking for a deeper MMA game or happen to enjoy the Fight Night series, EA MMA should be a no brainer.
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