#4 of 2010: EA Sports MMA

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Posted January 3rd, 2011 at 11:00 am

There are advantages to being the first entry in a brand new franchise. Chief among them are that expectations are naturally lower and consumers interested in the product tend to be more patient. UFC Undisputed broke onto the scene last year capturing the top game of the year distinction by surprising with its fun factor and polish. EA Sports MMA succeeded as well this year by delivering on accessibility and innovative features.

The ranking of games in the best of 2010 list is based on the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered on, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take on the games and not a recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those which I had the most fun with while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.

(Related: Hits and MissesSequel ConfirmedThere is a Future for EA MMACareer Mode Impressions – Online Impressions)

Not carrying the UFC license was a major hurdle to overcome and EA Sports did a commendable job by bringing in multiple licenses headed by Strikeforce as well as varied rule sets and offering both the cage and the ring. What ends up being restrictive for UFC meant flexibility for EA MMA. It still made it a tough sell but the expectation was never that the game would be a breakout hit right away and instead the first goal was to establish it as a credible franchise and they were successful in doing so.

After release of the game there seemed to be almost a smear campaign being made by various outlets. Not only gaming outlets but those that cover MMA were trying to bury it. I’m not sure if that is because they wanted to buddy up with UFC since that is where the money is, or if it was just some elitism being displayed against a game that didn’t have the big license. Regardless EA MMA survived, accomplished what it set out to do, and will see a sequel as was always planned.

The controls took some getting used to but eventually they started to click and worked well for the context of the fights whether it be on the feet or on the ground. The consensus though was that the ground game was the superior end of things. The fatigue system was implemented especially well for dealing with transitions and submissions. Fighter ratings really helped to differentiate each guy from the next providing strengths and weaknesses that were best played to. The transition system may have been a little too mechanical though in its success or failure and ultimately may not have been deep enough for players who spent a lot of time working on their skills.

The career mode was strong and delivered on a good sense of variety and customization to tailor fighters to certain strengths. It also did a really good job of teaching how to improve fight skills along the way. Online play was impressive in both features and performance. The light user base though capped the potential and made very compelling features such as Live Broadcast and Fight Cards not terribly valuable in the end.

That one of my bigger gripes was with the game’s load times shows that EA did a great job of eliminating frustrating elements that have plagued games with similar structure. Innovative ideas that combined with accessibility and a fun experience made this one of my favorite sports games of the year. EA Sports MMA had its limitations but did a really good job at delivering on what it needed to and appears to have a bright future.

#4: EA Sports MMA
#5: FIFA 11
#6: Madden NFL 11
#7: Kinect Sports
#8: MLB 10 The Show
#9: NHL 11
#10: NBA Jam
The Biggest Stories of 2010
Community Awards Results
The Worst of 2010
Community Awards Voting

  • Kace0

    great game. shame that more people didnt give it a chance.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, this was a situation where trying the demo sold me on the game. I ended up trading in my UFC 2010 to get this IMMEDIATELY. I wish every game had a demo. I left 2k hockey for EA b/c of their demo (back in 07 I think).

  • jusmegamer

    Game is not as good as UFC Undisputed when it comes to gameplay but has more features like Online. I still prefer UFC Undisputed because I am about gameplay and its not even close

  • jusmegamer

    Game is not as good as UFC Undisputed when it comes to gameplay but has more features like Online. I still prefer UFC Undisputed because I am about gameplay and its not even close

  • Clintbeastwoods

    EA MMA is a pathetic game Pasta! Who are you trying to fool?

    • Ace

      Pathetic game? Yeah right lol. Nice try. Do you work for THQ or UFC?

    • double D

      Please read sir…

      “The ranking of games in the best of 2010 list is based on the “”PERSONAL”” amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered on, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take on the games and not a recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those which I had the most fun with while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.”

  • Lake Allen

    EA MMA deserves more credit than it gets. Really great game especially for a first try.

  • Obe375

    fair placement. id surely put it in with the best sports games i do wish though there was more people to play against online. i never got to try the fight cards, live broadcast is pointless and i often cant find people to even fight against normally.

  • Shadi

    I’m gonna be honest, I was a big skeptic when it came to EA MMA. I thought it was just EA trying to get a piece of the MMA industry. I basically thought it was just Fight Night with a ground game and arcade gameplay. I wasn’t even happy with the demo but, after really looking at the gameplay I gave it a chance.

    I actually bought the game a month after its release. I really wanted another MMA game besides UFC Undisputed. Now I know that EA got an unfair advantage over UFC 2010 because they released it after UFC 09 and 10 but, I’m not gonna knock them for that cause its only making competetion better.

    I have to say I really dig the game. I have a great time with it, They managed to make it pretty in depth while making keeping the controls accessible to people. The game still has a learning curve but, its not difficult. The real learning curve is the strategy you approach every fight with.

    I think the feature that was not emphasized and desperately needs to be is the face in game feature. I think a lot of people may get turned off by the fact that there’s no UFC fighters but, they don’t realize that they could easily download created fighters and those created fighters look great because of the face in the game feature.

    I believe that if EA would have advertised the face in the game feature and made it more accessible to consumers; I think the game would have sold a bit more. I mean it really is a great game. Solid simulation with out going to arcade like. It is more realistic than UFC 2010 despite and I say that honestly.

    Trust me, I don’t like what EA sports has done with there Madden series, I don’t like that they can’t release a good basketball game and I think the company comes off as selfish most of the times. Despite all that, I have had a great time playing this game, I still play it online and I still play the career mode.

    This is a great MMA game and should not be ignored by mma fans.

  • sheredia

    just picked this up the other day and i have to say i was pleasantly surprised……i had read the reviews and was eager to try it out. i wasn’t satisfied with ufc 2009 (even with the license) and was glad i gave this game a chance. it’s more enjoyable than ufc and the fight card feature is cool. the fighter share feature definitely puts this one over the top. you can easily include any fighters not in the game and even up-and-coming fighters will easily be able to be added as well. adding a network license might have been a good idea since ufc didn’t have one. the fatigue system was well done too….adds alot to the strategy of the game. this is the sleeper hit of the year.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HPPKSACYFZJ2QLO3K42644BP6Y Chris

      I just picked this game up the other day as well, the career mode is way better than UFC, I haven’t really noticed any bugs at all. I like what they have done with this game, but I also feel that in same cases, fights end too quickly. It’s a shame more people aren’t playing this game, it’s near impossible to get a match online.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HPPKSACYFZJ2QLO3K42644BP6Y Chris

      I just picked this game up the other day as well, the career mode is way better than UFC, I haven’t really noticed any bugs at all. I like what they have done with this game, but I also feel that in same cases, fights end too quickly. It’s a shame more people aren’t playing this game, it’s near impossible to get a match online.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HPPKSACYFZJ2QLO3K42644BP6Y Chris

      I just picked this game up the other day as well, the career mode is way better than UFC, I haven’t really noticed any bugs at all. I like what they have done with this game, but I also feel that in same cases, fights end too quickly. It’s a shame more people aren’t playing this game, it’s near impossible to get a match online.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HPPKSACYFZJ2QLO3K42644BP6Y Chris

      I just picked this game up the other day as well, the career mode is way better than UFC, I haven’t really noticed any bugs at all. I like what they have done with this game, but I also feel that in same cases, fights end too quickly. It’s a shame more people aren’t playing this game, it’s near impossible to get a match online.

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