Monday, December 6, 2010


PS3, EA 

If there is one thing EA studios is good at it's taken someone else's idea and trying to beat them at it.  They haven't had an original idea since Mutant League Football, but they sure are good at improving ideas.  Here is the proof.
Tony Hawk = Skate (EA)
Call of Duty = Bad Company (EA)
Guitar Hero = Rock Band (EA)
The latest new venture for EA is attacking THQ's UFC license with a brand of their own.  MMA is a non licensed cage/ring fighter with a few tweaks and whistles.  The game is an honest effort to bring MMA fans to EA, but you have to ask yourself if its really worth the hurt thumbs.
MMA has one big mode that acts as the single player element of the game.  You create a character and then you are shipped off to Elite MMA  to be taught by Bas Rutten.  From then on you train through different mini games, get into matches and climb your way up the contracts to become the best MMA fighter.
How is the fighting compared to UFC Undisputed 2010?  These games have so much controls, stances, positions, modifiers and strikes that you cannot make a realistic one without making things complicated.  So far, all the MMA type games involve heavy use of the right stick, which seems impractical.  In MMA you control all your strikes with the right stick.  The trigger buttons modify kicks and blocks and the face buttons clinch, grapple and reverse.  MMA is complicated, but its easier to understand than THQ's adversary and eventually you get it with enough tutorials.  What I find is that these games turn into button bashing and stick waggling when it comes to the ground submission.  No matter how well your controls are mapped out, you are still aimlessly killing your thumbs to get from a dominant position to a belly to side.  Sometimes it just gets frustrating getting knocked to the floor and knowing you will have to wriggle your way out.

Career mode is the meat of the game so that leaves Quick Fight and Online as the other two modes.  Quick Fight unleashes the unimpressive combatant list, which includes Ken Shamrock and Bobby Lashley into the mix.  Other than that I was wondering where Kimbo Slice was.
Online is by the most impressive of all the modes.  EA created a live fight television show for other players to watch including live commentary.  If you rank up enough your matches are included on the show.  It is pretty cool to hear real commentators use your sign-in name and treat your character like a living athlete.  I have to say that I am impressed.
Graphics are very similar in character models to Skate. The models are lifelike and the blood looks real.  Overall, I think EA is exceptional at making realistic looking games.  It is required by law that all Mixed Martial Arts games have long load times and EA lives up to that rule.  Music includes all the cheesy rock you can handle, plus one Linkin Park song.
Overall, this game is a lesson in less is more.  EA focused all its energy on presentation, nifty TV show broadcasts and all the licensing that remains.  The effort is well received, but this game is a nightmare for any controller.  It takes great fascination and patience with MMA to truly enjoy its great production values.  MMA fanatics need only apply.

Many people have misconceptions about MMA sports.  To an outsider it seems like its just two guys ripping each other apart like animals.  But there is much respect, honor and discipline incorporated into the sport.  It's more like a very physical puzzle where two athletes struggle to overcome their opponent's size.  I have always felt the same way about my relationship with life.  Life is always a combatant facing against you.  It's sizing you up, looking for an opening and trying to get you into a submission.  But I have learned that even when we tap out or get knocked out, we return to God to train a little bit more for the next bout.  Nothing prepares me for life more than knowing that God gives me unlimited chances to face life's challenges and the wisdom to do it.  But probably the greatest advantage is knowing that Jesus already won the hardest match against life in a battle 2000 years ago.
+ Broadcast Online
+ Good looking graphics
- One mode
- Frustrating controls
- Fanatics only

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