Getting bleary-eyed by 8 PM has been something I've been doing far too often lately.
Between crafting drill buckets in Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, conquering that bastard George Washington in my marathon Civilization 5 save, and trying to plow through the Scott Pilgrim books, my eyes feel like Don Johnson's acting career.
In what had to be the "A Good-Old Fashioned Orgy" of that analogy, EA saw fit to release the demo to its inaugural MMA game, conveniently titled EA Sports MMA.
I've had the chance to get a solid four-plus hours and about 40ish fights in, and here are my thoughts.
The Very Good
- EA MMA's graphical engine (modeled on the critically acclaimed Fight Night Round 4 engine) is gorgeous.
- Game delivers fast-paced, fluid action.
- Incredibly simple control scheme ensures a friend can drop in and put up a fight with little investment.
- Special moves add a layer of complexity to core gameplay and a further level of authenticity to the fighters.
- Fluid animations chain together well, keeping the game moving at a breakneck pace.
- Five-round title fights feel like grown man affairs.
- Fighter entrances are true to the spirit of the fighters but are too short to add much to the experience.
- Game not as heavily reliant on "canned" animations as THQ's UFC Undisputed franchise.
- AI does a good job of mimicking opponent fighting style.
The Not So Good
- Clipping issues galore on the ground—hopefully they can be resolved before shipping.
- Submission system works, but not at all realistic.
- Bobby Lashley and Jake Shields' ratings could use a lot of work.
- Absolutely no commentary; then again, no Frank Shamrock may be a blessing in disguise.
Back to the Drawing Board
- The ground game is still the same pass-stuff-sub system that's not even remotely like actual grappling.
- Stamina is a tired system that hasn't ever worked right and doesn't work any better here.
- 50-second submission battles slow the game's momentum.
- Striking lacks weight and proper effect.
- More lame end of match scorecard generation will rob you of more than a few wins.
- Tapout animations hilariously bad.
While EA MMA is far from a perfect digital representation of our sport, it's a fun blend of sim and arcade style gameplay that did a number on my future arthritis medication bills. As long as you don't take the game too seriously, there is a lot of fun to be had here. I was not a fan of UFC Undisputed 2010, but I genuinely enjoyed my time with this demo.
Extrapolate from that what you will, but I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of the full game, which drops Oct. 19th.