When I first got my hands on EA Sports MMA, I thought that I was looking at a sad attempt to quall the current heavyweight in MMA gaming, THQ’s UFC Undisputed franchise. Much to my surprise, EA actually accomplished some stiff competition which has the potential to surpass Undisputed if they continue to add to what they have given this edition.
The game’s controls are always my first concern with any fighting game because if they get too complicated, the game can turn into more button-mashing than actual skill. That’s the way I started with EA Sports MMA, so I went to the "MMA 101" section to learn how to play better and more skill-based.
This was where my suspicions and doubts about this game first arose. The tutorial mode wasn’t helpful at all because it throws the player directly into the fire and forces them to learn on the fly.
Some gamers may like that teaching method, so I can’t be too hard on the tutorial just because I am not great at learning while trying to avoid being knocked out. So I was lost yet again, but giving EA the benefit of the doubt I pushed onto career mode.
Career mode is far and away the best thing about MMA because it slowly teaches your created fighter the ropes as you can learn the controls at an easier pace. The amount of customization for the created fighter is something that I haven’t seen from any EA sports game or their THQ counterparts. The fighter can train at seven different gyms and receive training from several legends such as Randy Couture, Rickson Gracie, Pat Miletich and Bas Rutten.
The climb from fight to fight is enticing and keeps the player influenced through even what should be the boring part in training. I also enjoyed the way they divided the styles of fighting and made your sparring partner mimic your upcoming opponent in order to make it easier to prepare.
However, it takes forever to upgrade the created fighter’s attributes, but luckily, all you have to do is exploit the fighter’s weaknesses and you will have a fighting chance against everyone.
The most interesting attribute the game had to offer was the Live Broadcast for online play which essentially can showcase yourself and another fighter for everyone to watch online.
The way to get on Live Broadcast is simple; create a hype video for all to see using highlights from your fights. If it’s impressive, there is a chance you will be showcased. This is by far one of the most unique things that I have ever seen in any video game before and it makes for a great online experience.
The game is very hands on once you can get the controls down and it definitely delivers on the realistic MMA experience as far as the announcing, rings and tales of the tapes are concerned. Despite the control issues and lack of some major fighters, EA Sports MMA has established itself as newest great EA Sports game franchise and if they step up their game in future additions, THQ better watch their back.