The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
MMA fighters have to be fairly well-rounded to survive in the world
of mixed martial arts. It’s hard, let’s say, for a boxer to jump into an
MMA ring and dominate the competition without first practicing his
ground game. Comparably, the fact that EA Sports MMA was built out of
the Fight Night boxing engine may mean that the game has fast hands, but
does it mean that it’s well rounded enough to win the title belt?
fighter has to start at the bottom, and MMA’s career mode is no
different. After creating your own fighter from EA’s detailed creation
software, you’re introduced to the hilarious Bas Rutten, who guides your
fighter through a series of training camp routines, international
league invitations, and a variety of tough opponents. It’s a passable
excuse to string a bunch of MMA matches together and build up a boxer
using light RPG elements, but the meat of the game is still found in the
With two MMA titles currently on the market, it’s hard not
to compare this with THQ’s game. EA offers up a faster-paced,
less-technical fighter, and it doesn’t seem to care how much you already
know about the sport. Its analog-based combat allows fighters to jab,
hook, and uppercut by throwing the stick through different rotations.
This makes the action a little more about feeling out your opponent’s
weaknesses and responding to his attacks than it does about memorizing a
stock set of pre-scripted attacks. The game also allows you to employ a
certain level of strategy. For example, if your opponent is running all
over the mat so that you can’t get a lock on him, you can focus your
attacks on one of his legs until it becomes dead weight that he has to
carry around the ring.
After taking your opponent to the mat, MMA
becomes a strategy game where you’re trying to balance your stamina
against your opponents, as you fight for better positioning. With the
simple press of a button, you transition forward towards a posture that
will set you up for a submission hold, choke, or the ground-and-pound.
Your opponent can block or reverse your maneuvering if he acts fast
enough, but you can also throw a few punches at his head to throw him
off his game. It’s a fairly simple system, but the nuances of knowing
when to attack, when to block, and when to shoot for the risky double
transition gives the game some complexity that is especially exciting
when you’re facing a human opponent.
EA’s first attack on the
mixed martial arts scene heads back to its corner looking pretty strong,
but there are still a few holes in its defense, one of which is the
game’s roster. There are some great fighters in this game – such as
Fedor Emelianenko, Satoru Kitaoka, and Randy Couture – but without the
UFC license and many of its most potent combatants, there is a large
hole in the game’s roster. The game’s presentation also lacks a bit of
the spectacle and style found in real broadcasts. I’d also like to see
some refinement to the submission system as the minigames you use to put
the hurt on your opponents feel a little gimmicky. Despite these
issues, EA Sports MMA is still a powerful brawler, and another year or
two in the gym should turn it into a true monster.
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.