First Blush with the EA Sports MMA Demo

Ken FossAnalyst ISeptember 28, 2010

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.

The Good

  • 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. 


Closing Thoughts

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.