EA Sports MMA Career Mode Impressions

Posted October 26th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

The career mode for EA Sports MMA is largely responsible for how much I have been enjoying the game. While it is pretty straight-forward in how the fighter progresses and advances it is the process of being put through the motions of various drills that has proved extremely valuable. The career mode avoids some of the frustrations found in similar modes in other games. It also keeps a good balance in ratings distribution while adding the strategy behind building on chosen strengths and learning particular styles.

Of course the first step comes with creating a fighter which offers a lot of options to sort through s well as the option to use “Photo Face”. Then comes choosing a fight style (I went with Muay Thai). All of the different styles carry with them unique strengths and weaknesses.

Bas Rutten guides through the career mode and though it can get long-winded at times the voice acting from him is quite good and generally relevant. There are other legends that assist along the way as well.

There are eight weeks in between fights in which the training takes place. Each drill takes up a week of the training as does sparring against a training partner that mimics the style of the upcoming opponent.

As mentioned in the open the tutorials that the career mode fighter initially goes through really helped me grasp the controls and expand my skill set. I became comfortable with new things at a rapid pace that transferred over to immediate success online. That brought about a really satisfying feeling and a desire to keep pushing through the mode…and I’m not someone that typically spends much time in a career mode.

One thing I really liked about the training is that after completing the drill a “grade” is provided and that determines how many skill points are earned. What is great about it is once completed it is not necessary to go through it again every week. Instead the drill can be simulated based on the high grade that has been earned. So any drills that have received an A will simulate out to that result. It makes the mode much less tedious than it could have potentially been.

One of the biggest complains with UFC 2010’s career mode was the heavy ratings deterioration and the fatigue factor going into fights. Neither of these are problems in EA MMA. Instead just concentrating on what areas to work on, gaining special moves, and looking ahead by scouting an opponent is where the concentration turns.

Early on in the mode the option of paying to go to new training locations becomes available. Though there is a cost to going to them they are worthwhile as new drills are opened and they are where special moves can be obtained. It was a good move on EA’s part to limit the number of special moves that can be earned to 16. There are 27 total but that limit means again picking and choosing to build up certain strengths or basing it on personal play style and it creates variety in fighters.

There are tasks that have to be completed to earn the special moves, most seem to be based on completing a certain assignment in a minute such as knocking down an opponent or just surviving with limited options. The ones I’ve tried so far range from somewhat easy to very difficult. There are many that may take multiple attempts to finally get through.

There are also new leagues given as choices to move into after winning the title in the current one. Again the nice thing there is that they have different rule sets and different types of styles that they are heavy on.

The load times can be frustrating (as documented earlier) throughout the entirety of EA MMA but especially in career mode where there is so much in and out of the central area. At least being able to simulate the drills can speed up the process, but still loading into the mode and getting into fights or the new training locales mean lengthy waits.

One other note, I got a good laugh out of a couple shots taken at the UFC game. There are some references to the “shine”, the process of spinning the right stick as fast as possible in UFC to get a submission. Though I don’t remember the exact wording on them they basically make fun of it and it was worthy of the laughs as there is truth to what is said.

The career mode for EA Sports MMA, while not revolutionary, has kept things simple while providing an element of strategy in how to shape the fighter. The different styles and different special moves creates a great deal of variety and personalization. Most importantly it really does a great job of helping to improve the skills of the user through the tutorials, drills, special moves, and progressively more difficult opponents.