UFC Undisputed, Meet your match.
MMA is no stranger to the field of sports however when it comes to Videogames you are limited to either UFC Undisputed 2009 and UFC Undisputed 2010. After seeing the success of UFC Undisputed 2009 EA Sports decided to bring out its own MMA game which president of UFC Dana White was pissed and decided to go to war with EA by threatening his own employees that if they appear on EA's game they will no longer be part of UFC. No disrespect to Dana White but I think that was a pretty weak comeback and he should just let the whole thing go and just never work with EA. It's that simple. This review isn't about Dana VS EA but it's worth mentioning. Now let's get on the review.
At first the game you get the game and you want to do some ass kicking, so you go home get pumped up and then you have to wait 5 minutes for the mandatory install to complete. But after that 5 minute install you get pumped up and can't wait for the game to load but then you realize that you have to go do laundry because you have nothing to wear tomorrow to work. So you turn it off and get rid of all the distractions before turning the game on again.
When you finally get to the game there are a few several modes but of course the basics are Exhibition, Story or Career and Online. If you want to learn the basics career is the place to start as it gives you all the tutorials you need to get started but not before creating your own fighter.
You can customize your fighter anyway you like, you can even take a picture of yourself and put it in game but an eyetoy is required to do this. The other way is to just create your fighter from scratch from the tools that are available in game. You have control of everything from what the fighter wears to what fighting style you choose for them. Each fighting style has their own strength and weaknesses so you have to be careful in what you select. You can then choose your fighters punches, submissions and takedowns as well as their entrance theme. You can also choose a name for your fighter or give him your very own unique name. This isn't the case with nicknaming your fighter as it requires you to choose from a list of already created nicknames. This is done so the announced can call you out by your nickname before and after the fight ends.
When you are finished with customizing your fighter you are taken to training where you will be shows how to control your fighter. You control your fighter using the R-Stick. Moving the R-stick to the left controls your left arm and moving it to the right controls your right arm. You can also do body shots by holding the R1/RB in the same manner as well as kicks using the L2/LT. The standard face buttons are used for grabbing, switching positions, take downs and takedown blocks.
Every time you finish a match with an opponent you will be given 8 weeks of training. Make sure you use the wisely. Depending on what you chose, you might want to work on your weak spots as well as blocking and health. Each week will be spent on working on 1 attribute. As you continue through the game you will also get the chance to train with other people around the world to learn special moves as well. However to do this you must spend your own money which is earned through fights. While training be careful as to not quit during the 8 week training before the fight as quitting before the fight will not save your game. This is a downer as you could spend all 8 weeks training only to not save your data and have to start over from the beginning if something comes up.
In the beginning you will select 2 leagues to join in and become champion. As you proceed you will be given the option to sign up for different leagues with a different set of rules and tougher opponents with different fighting styles. If you think button smashing will get you somewhere then you might as well put the controller down and not waste your energy as that will not work. Button smashing and will only waste your stamina and could mean the difference between total victory or total embarrassment. Button smashing can also lower your defense and your opponent will most likely go for a headshot when you least expect it. Getting smashed in the head lowers your head stamina and once it reaches zero you will lose control of your fighter leaving you open to any facial attacks which can cost you the match. You can regain your stamina by backing away not using it while the meter is filling up. Stamina is also lost during submissions. Pressing the button too fast will lower your stamina and your opponents will be able to break free or put you in a submission themselves. Losing your stamina while in a submission means your opponent will most likely make you tap out.
EA Sports MMA is not mainly about fighting. It's also about strategy. You must learn to master the controllers if you are to win matches and money for your fighter. You will also need to come up with several strategies as only using the same strategy with different fighting styles will mean losing your chance at the title.
Win the title and you will get the chance to join a different league and travel to a different country. New country means new fighters and new announcers which speak the countries language. However this also means stronger fighters and longer matches. When you start getting tougher opponents it's time to start spending and training with different martial art experts.
In career mode you only get to fight with your created fighter but if you wish to chose from a list of fighters you can proceed to exhibition or go online for a 1 on 1. Here you can select a list from various fighters and various fighting styles as well as choose your own created fighter. Online is probably the ultimate goal as you will go head to head with people from around the world building up your stats. If you plan on using your created fighter, it is recommended you train him until he averages 85 or higher as most people will choose professionals and mop the floor with you.
Each match is 5 minutes long but can end in less than 30 seconds if your fighter is weak or you do not know what you are doing. Get enough wins and your fighter can get invited into a live broadcast event with real live broadcasters and announcers. Online is its own community for fighters and they also have tournaments in which you can win prices. You can also watch live broadcast shows in which the announcers talk about the match as well as developers in real live video.
Graphically EA Sports MMA is not the greatest as there are a few graphical bugs that are easy to notice and identity. Some of the most common one is the fence clipping with the wall while creating your fighter in career mode as well as patches of hair just from fighters with little hair type hairstyles. The game also outputs to a max resolution of 720 and can become grainy in certain areas if you have a big TV. The animation though is very smooth and there is hardly any lag within game. The only lag I notice is when the loading screen skips frames. Sometimes you will be wondering to yourself if the game froze or not but luckily I have not experience any crashes. The referee will also not move his lips when yelling out "Fight" just before the fight starts.
Effects are also nicely done by developers as blood from your opponent will transfer to parts where it touches your fighter and vice versa. The blood will also get smeared if you continue fighting and rubbing different parts of your body. Sweat from your fighter is also a nice effect as you continue to fight.
One great feature that is overlooked is the submission bone status. Every time you are doing a submission you will see an x-ray image of the bone area your fighter is working on and will turn red if you put pressure into it. This predicts the outcome of the match and if you are able to put enough pressure your opponent will tap out.
EA Sports MMA features a variety of artists and music from around the world from Hip Hop to techno. EA has always done a great job at selecting their music for their projects and so far from all the games I've played the sound track has never let me down. Voiceovers are also perfectly done for the exception of the referee setting up the match. The announcers call out your every shot and is accurate to the last punch.
Career mode will take your rookie fighter to the ring with the champion. You will also be able to read about your match online straight from your phone from a news source. All this training will not only lead you to becoming a champ in game but you can also take your fighter and fight against the world and bring up your stats. Make it and you can get invite to a real live broadcast where real live announcers will call out your every move just like in a real fight. EA has really done a great job with the online feature of the game as it will keep you coming back for months and perhaps years on end. While there are several slowdowns while fighting, it is still fun none the less.
Real Live online fighting and a very deep career mode will have you coming back to EA Sports MMA for a long time. While there are a few issues here and there, none of them will interrupt with your matches besides slowdowns online but those are rare. Smooth animation and controls make it easy for anyone to pick up and play although practice is always best before anything else. If you are looking to pick up a fighting game whether it be wrestling, boxing or MMA, EA Sports MMA is definitely a great option and holds up against UFC Undisputed 2010 despite being a new entry into the series. Once you play through EA Sports MMA you will wonder what EA has in store for its sequel.
Total Score: 90/100