Console: Xbox 360
Let start off by saying that I originally had no intention of ever buying or playing this game simply because I was very disappointed with EA’s treatment of the UFC when they were 1st looking for a new publisher for their Undisputed franchise. I felt that EA jumped on the MMA bandwagon after the success of the first UFC game. EA went out of their way to offer something different than THQ and in some ways they did a good job but the fact that so many casual MMA fans had no idea who some of the fighters were did hinder this franchise in my eyes. But this isn’t about what I think about EA as a company but about whether you should buy this game.
When I originally played the demo for this game I was greeted with shiny rubberized fighter models that looked more like WWE thumb wrestlers from the 80’s than actual fighters. Now that I have played the finished product I can say that their were improvements made to the overall fighter looks. Most of the digital models resemble their real life counterparts very well. Like with any combat sports game of course some models are piss poor representations.
You can see that models for Werdum and Fedor were extremely accurate and well detailed. Fighter tattoos and fight damage were well done and realistic. Over the course of the fight the fighters sweat is quite apparent and adds to the overall realism of the game.
The EA sports MMA roster is comprised of some really great fighters from various organizations including Strikeforce which has the most fighters from their organization available.Along with classic versions of certain legends. Randy Couture of course sticks out since he is not in any of the UFC titles.
I did appreciate the inclusion of certain fighters who you wouldn’t think you would see in this game. Fighters like Bas Rutten,Shinya Aoki and Kawajiri were welcome surprises. I was also impressed with a feature that I hope to see in other MMA and pro wrestling games and that is the fighter share system. Fighter share allows you to take your created fighters and load them on EA’s site for other players to download and use. The creativity of some the gamers/mma fans got a chance to shine with this feature. Want to do Brock Lesnar v Fedor?
It’s as easy as logging into the EA MMA site and bookmarking a character you would like to download. You can also upload your own fighters as well to share with others. Now you would think that you got your Brock v Fedor superfight about to go down but the announcers will call Brock player 1 but that my friends is not the case. Announcers will announce your fighters by their names if they are available. It was cool to see Jimmy Lennon Jr. call Lesnar and to hear commentary reflect that as well was definitely cool. If you want to create yourself you can utilize EA’s photo game face feature to make your fighters look like you.
EA MMA includes a career mode for your created fighters which takes you across the world to train. You can train at various gyms in the US,Brazil,Thailand and Japan to help fine tune your fighters as they embark on their quest to fight for Strikeforce. You will never get the same career mode since each one is always different. Fine tune your fighter’s skill with real MMA drills to make him an ass kicking machine.
The control aspect of this game was quite frustrating at first since EA decided to borrow the Total Punch Control from their Fight Night series. I was happy to find that you can switch it to “classic” mode which is more inline with the controls from Undisputed 09/10. Controls were intuitive and were fluid. One thing I need to say is that their MMA 101 tutorial mode sucks ass. When learning controls via tutorial mode you will not get commands till after you start fighting and in most cases they don’t always pop up. I recommend you read the manual which is far more informative than the tutorial. Strikes and submissions in classic mode worked well and didn’t need a huge learning curve. The parry system does take getting used to and will become a staple in your arsenal once mastered. The manual did a decent job in explaining parrying but I recommend you watch it in action on YouTube or even on EA’s site.
Their submission executions and counters aren’t button mash-fests but more controlled and actually require some strategy to execute. It definitely takes a few tries to master that aspect of the game. When fighting submissions you will need to rotate the analog stick to find the “sweet spot” to defend the submission attempt.
The online component is actually one of the better features that I have seen since you can take your fighters and create hype videos and have your fight broadcast live for gamers around the world to see. It adds a big fight feel to the presentation and realism as well. Live commentary will also appear in your hype videos which is a pretty slick presentation from EA I must admit. Online play is lag free and allows you to level up and compete for belts in you corresponding weight classes. No longer just fighting for fun but for belts.
I really wanted to hate this game and that is 100% truth. While there are some things you would need to get used to if you are a UFC Undisputed player it is not much. EA did a good job bringing a different MMA experience home. While not better than UFC Undisputed across the board it does have some innovations that THQ should look into implementing for the next UFC title.If you are a hardcore MMA fan that knows more than the UFC and their stable of fighters I recommend you check out EA’s offering. Where else can you fight under Pride FC rules and kick your opponent in the face either a ring or cage?
Buy or Rent?
With the recent price drop you can score this game for less than 40 bucks and for a different take on MMA I actually recommend you check it out.