EA Sports MMA makes a solid entry into the world of mixed martial arts. And it’s good enough to be a contender for the UFC Undisputed series. Between the two titles, EA Sports MMA has a very different fighting style in that it attracts more of the “casual” crowd for its arcadish gameplay. The game makes good impression thanks to responsive controls that run along the mechanics of Fight Night Round 4. You throw punches with the right stick while the shoulder buttons take care of blocks, kicks, and varying heights of attacks. Face buttons are used for ground position changes, take downs, clinches, and sprawls. However, should you become frustrated with the default schematics, you can switch to the “classic” control setup.

The action in the ring is fast-paced. The match could end literary in first round! Everything works well the way fighters move – that includes punching, kicking, takedowns, and submissions. Surprisingly, submissions are less straining than UFC Undisputed’s. It’s not how fast you can rotate your right stick, but how accurately you lock onto the vibration to escape or make the opponent tap out. Blocking, on the other hand, is quite ridiculous. Our character has fallen on his face too many times even though we clearly have our hands up against incoming shots. This puts us in a situation prone to vicious attacks! We found out that bobbing and weaving were the only effective defensive mechanism to weather any type of assaults.

If you can’t afford Xbox Live – considering the economic downturn – the career mode offers the most bang for your buck. When you start your career, you are given one of nine specializations to choose from. Each specialty has its own strength and weaknesses. For instance, if you choose wrestling, you’ll have a lot of force in your tackling ability, but don’t have great standup game. The same can be said about if you choose Judo, you’re better off the ground than on your feet. After a few training sessions, you become pro. Once you turn pro, you need to decide which league you want to start your career in. You have six different leagues and Strikeforce is where the most licensed fighters participate.

The dragging part about it is that you are forced to spend eight weeks of training in between fights. Thankfully, the challenges that come with training only takes about a minute to complete. Unlike UFC Undisputed, your stats go up in short amount of time and never get depleted throughout your career. The best part of training is that you can simulate exercises based on your highest grade, meaning if you receive an A- on your last workout, all you have to do is tap the button for the same exercise and you’ll automatically that grade, thus skipping the actual workout. The level of customization in EA Sports MMA is pretty disappointing; there is no advanced tweaking on the physical properties of the face. If you don’t have an Xbox 360 camera, you are going to be limited to the 50 templates to invent a head.

The same can be said about hairstyles, tatoos, skin tones, skin tones, and eye colors. These items are also in limited selection as with putting together various attires for your fighter; they are rather boring, since there aren’t enough designs. In the sound department, the game does a good job putting power behind strikes and takedowns. The grungy music is nice as your fighter enters the arena. But don’t expect anything dynamic with the broadcasting portion. The commentators are pretty repetitious in calling the action. Despite having loose ends in the game, EA Sports MMA has a strong potential to grow in the same league as UFC Undisputed. Character animation is solid, controls are responsive, and the action is a white-knuckle ride if you catch our drift! The best part about it is how easy to pick it up and play. It’s definitely geared towards the casual crowd. UFC Undisputed maybe better in the delivery of the MMA experience with all its heavy licensing, but EA Sports MMA certainly doesn’t disappoint.


Emmanuel Flores

Emmanuel joined the team in 2004. He helped design the website during the time when video games magazines were still in print format. Besides writing reviews, he oversees content development, design production and mobile framework.