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MMA PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.1
Sound 8.0
Value 8.0
Distributor: EA Sports
Review Date:
November 2010
Peter Bourke



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 quite painful.

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!


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