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EA Sports: MMA Review


EA Sports have a long tradition of producing quality sports simulation games. Perennial favourites such as FIFA, Madden NFL and Tiger Woods PGA Tour put EA Sports at the top of the mountain. With their Fight Night series EA Sports produced one of the best boxing games in recent years, now they are taking this experience and dipping their toe in the mixed martial arts world with EA SPORTS MMA.

For the uninitiated mixed martial art is a sport that’s been bubbling under boxing for some time and is probably most well-known for the UFC brand. EA SPORTS MMA doesn’t feature UFC for contractual reasons but other well respected MMA organisations such as Strikeforce or Liga De Combate are present, along with a few UFC stars who have their own agreement for this franchise.

As EA has had to look worldwide for the best MMA organisations and fighters the game does have a more international flavour to it but otherwise it’s what we would expect, a full on fighting game, so let’s see how it plays.

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For those of us who have played EA’s Fight Night boxing series, MMA’s striking controls will be very familiar. EA have taken the best aspects of the Fight Night series and applied them to the MMA world. Like Fight Night, punches are controlled by the right analogue stick and fighter movement controlled by the left analogue stick. MMA of course allow us to deliver kicks as well as punches. The strength and height of the strikes can be enhanced by using the shoulder buttons on the controller.

MMA however is a much more complicated beast than Fight Night. As well as the striking aspect of combat there is also the ground game to master. From locking up to taking an opponent to the mat EA have provided an intuitive system that is easy to learn but has enough depth to make mastering the more advanced moves more challenging.

Once on the mat we can move to a superior position that allows us to pound our opponent into submission or we can attempt to use guile to manoeuvre into a submission hold. Of course while we’re doing this our opponent isn’t lying there like a sand bag, so we need to ensure we don’t lose the advantage and find ourselves on our back.

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The combat in EA SPORTS MMA feels solid thanks to the feedback from the controller rumble. The pace of fights differ dependant on the weight class of the combatants, with the lighter weight fighters being quick and nimble and the heavyweights more deliberate.

As with any good fighting simulator EA SPORTS MMA provides us with a career mode. EA have done an excellent job with this in MMA, the fighter creation system is extremely detailed with all aspects of your character customisable. Once we had created our fighter and worked through some helpful tutorials we were able to start our professional career.

Online play is also a big part of EA SPORTS MMA. As well as simply taking your created fighter online to mix it up with others all around the world EA have also provided a Live Broadcast option. The Live Broadcast allows the best online players to fight in scheduled tournaments and let thousands of online spectators watch with professional play by play commentary.

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The graphics in EA SPORTS MMA are top notch. Fighters are well realised and the collision detection is very good. Damage done during the fight is clearly visible on the characters and it adds to realism of the game. The movement of the fighters is fluid and natural. Strikes and grappling look realistic, even when we were twisting our way out of a submission hold. The customisable fighter in the career mode supports Photo GameFace, where we can mask our own face on the fighters head. This is a neat option, though we did get a bit worried when blows started to rain down on our delicate features.

The arenas are detailed and lively. Customisable entrances are vivid with the usual fight razzle dazzle that we would expect. The crowds add to the big fight atmosphere and the career mode menu is an onscreen HTC mobile phone, which fits into the story mode well and is an interesting bit of in game product placement from EA.

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EA SPORTS MMA includes a large number of music tracks that can be selected as entrance music. From hard rock to hip hop EA have provided plenty of variation for fighter entrances.

The play by play commentary is entertaining without becoming repetitive and MMA legends Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo provide the voices for the in ring action. In addition to this the fight introductions are provided by Jimmy Lennon Jr, a well-known ring announcer in the US, who is best known for his catchphrase "It’s show time!".

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EA SPORTS MMA is a solid start for EA into the new territory of mixed martial arts. Easy to learn controls make the learning curve gentle to start however it soon becomes steeper the deeper we get into the game, it never feels too hard though and so EA have this aspect spot on.

Career mode and online play add real depth and longevity to the game and the pick up and play option provides a lot of entertainment, especially useful as a fun way to settle arguments in the GamingHeaven office.

Those who have played EA’s Fight Night will find the games controls familiar and fans of mixed martial arts have a very good alternative to the UFC franchise.

Gameplay 88/100 Intuitive controls make EA SPORTS MMA easy to learn however there is enough depth in the game to keep gamers playing.
Graphics 87/100 EA SPORTS MMA has impressive graphics with detailed fighter models. Blows look brutal when landed correctly and damage taken during bouts is very visible.
Audio 84/100 Lots of music tracks available for entrances with entertaining play by play. Commentary is decent, something a lot of sports games fail to achieve.
Value 85/100 Career mode adds longevity and online play opens up a world of opportunities.
(Not an Average)
86/100 EA’s first dip into the mixed martial arts world is winner.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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