MMA is the latest fighter to arrive on the
PS3 that puts realism in the forefront, thanks to the game being based
on the official MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) tournaments which is quite
popular in the US and the UK. Similar to the Undisputed Series and the cool game by
THQ, MMA also has a strong following and features the toughest fighters
on the planet
as they perform a variety of fighting manoeuvres on each other in order
to gain victory.
As opposed to Undisputed, the fighting is actually more
fluent and enjoyable due to the streamlined controls and although some
may think this is a button masher, there is actually some fun tactics to
be found in this game which makes it more than just a Tekken or Street
Fighter gamer. Strategy is a key component here.
This can be a challenge at the start and in
order to master this game, you need a good understanding of the mapping
on the controls but after a few fights, you should become familiar enough
to give your opponents a decent challenge.
With that said, the game is
quite reminiscent of EA Sportís Fight night, including the graphics
engine that looks thoroughly realistic and works well with MMA. From
punches, kicks, headlocks, holds and the like, your fighters can perform
just about everything as they attempt to take down their enemies, thanks
to the intuitive control system.
In terms of the controls, the left analog
stick is used to move your fighter while the right stick is used to
throw your punches. This does create some interesting and fluid
combinations that work well and then you have your kicks which can be
While you've weakened your opponent, you
can then try for the takedown manoeuvre as you push triangle to grab
your opponent and then X to drop him to the ground. At times, it's a
violent fight but man... was it a treat to knock them down... hard! You
also have blocks and an interesting submission tactic as you attempt to
wrestle the power of your opponent to the ground into order to make them succumb.
Given that, the game is quite realistic and
features authentic fighters, locations and rule sets from all
incarnations of MMA. There's even ring girls for some titillation and you
have Jimmy Lennon Junior as ring announcer and for fighter introductions
who has a truly over the top way of getting things started.
MMA champ Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo are the commentators though
which works well with the fights and it doesn't sound forced or
contrived. When you are fighting, you also need
to keep an eye on your stamina because the lower it becomes, the more
chances there are of your opponent from making you succumb. It's a
careful balance and won that works well on all levels.
With a variety of
gameplay modes, career is the most intense mode to choose and you even have a very
charismatic trainer called Bas Rutten to help you along from rookie to
MMA championship. Training is fun as you train in a variety of gyms
under the tutelage of other fighters and each fighter that you control
has the ability to learn up to 16 special manoeuvres. In essence, there
are over 30 special manoeuvres to be learnt. If you want some
customisation options, this game has them all so you can truly make the
perfect looking fighter. Whether they will be good in the ring is
another story all together.
Apart from a competent
AI system, you can play the game online with an interesting leader board
system and I must admit that some of the online players are quite tough.
The good thing about playing online is that it boosts your contender
meter and helps in levelling you up. Another option of online is
the EA Sports Live Broadcast mode which showcases an online fight from
gamers around the world that is definitely some great incentive to get
better. The online mode is great here and I can really see a strong
community in creation here.
Graphically, the title looks decent on the
PS3 with smooth animations, decent frame rate and some realistic
fighters and locations. A special mention should be made to the ring
girls who looks quite impressive. It may be the Final Fight engine but
it still looks good and quite realistic, especially when the punches and
sweat starts. The music and commentary is great,
especially by the MMA legends themselves and there is a real THUD to the
punches and kicks in this game which must be heard on surround sound.
In the end, MMA is a
well made game that although may be missing some of the fighters due to
UFC is still quite a competent attempt by EA Sports. With a variety of
real-world fighters, real-world rules and locations, the control system
is definitely the clear winner here that allows for both newbies and experts
alike to jump straight in and start playing. Punches, kicking and
holds... it may be like Greco wrestling but this game is definitely no
holes barred fighting!