Reviews after the jump...
Review From Yahoo:
Maggie Hendricks from Yahoo (self acclaimed noob gamer) comments:
First, Strikeforce is a premier league of the game, meaning you'll see Strikeforce logos, and Strikeforce announcers. As you can hear in the above clip, Mauro Renallo will be screaming at you as you play the game. That also means that quite a few Strikeforce fighters are involved, including Brett Rogers, Fedor Emelianenko, Jake Shields, Jason "Mayhem" Miller, "King Mo" Lawal and more. John McCarthy is the ref of choice.
The movement of the fighters is lifelike and true to form. Video-game Brett Rogers' punches are big and loopy, just like real-life Brett Rogers. VG Fedor's footwork looks like real Fedor's footwork.
The fighters are also programmed to take damage. In one clip that they showed us, Rogers began to limp after taking a particularly nasty kick from Fedor. Also, fighters know where they are in the cage, and act accordingly. They drop their hands when sent back to their corners.
To me, the coolest thing that they showed was that fights aren't confined to the cage. They have several different environments for fights, including a ring, an open-air dojo in Brazil, a regular MMA gym with open mats, and more.
Review From MiddleEasy:
Great detailed review over at MiddleEasy:
First off, everyone has to give it up to UFC Undisputed for being the first game to 'revolutionize' MMA games. I was the first guy in line at my local Gamestop to be made fun of by local kids while I waited until 12:01 to grab my copy. If you were with MiddleEasy back in May, then you know the level of excitement that I had for this game (and consequent frustration at the magical Fabricio Werdum armbar that is impossible to prevent). UFC Undisputed is an amazing game that dominated May-June 2009 sales figures. It brought THQ out of a huge deficit and it's constantly been lodged inside my Xbox 360ever since it dropped in May.
With that said...EA Sports MMA is light years ahead of UFC Undisputed.
It's hard to even compare the two games, they almost look like they were designed for two completely different consoles. One of the most amazing thing about the game was the sheer character fluidity. As you approach your opponent, your hands go up, your fighter stance is more aggressive and control appears to be vastly more responsive. If you back-off from your opponent, the hands go down, you sort of jump around and get more comfortable with the cage. Also, the one thing that really had everyone salivating was the announcement that each fighter has their own unique stance, strikes, submissions and defense. That means every fighter throws a right hook differently. When you catch your opponent's leg, not every fighter goes for the take-down. Some will spin your leg around and just deck you in the face...others will go for the sweep and slam you to the ground. Someone in the crowd asked 'Well wouldn't this take a lot of time from the developer's standpoint to program different moves for every fighter?'. The lead developer said 'It's worth it, we want to make EA Sports MMA as realistic as possible'. In UFC Undisputed, all fighters were modeled from the skillset of Kickboxing, Boxer, Wrestler, Muay-Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This essentially meant that all moves looked the same and could be executed by any fighter that had those skillsets. This is not the case with EA Sports MMA. Each fighter has moves that they are historically known for doing. You won't see Fedor going for some flying heel-hook (Imanari style) but you will see him going for his wild overhand right (which we saw land and drop Brett Rogers).
In UFC Undisputed when fighters get in the clinch, movements seem very mechanical and only one fighter is allowed to hit at a time (something that we obviously never see in MMA). EA Sports seemed to capture the sporadic nature of being in the clinch, both fighters were struggling to get out while both trade blows simultaneously. Fingers were being extended to try to peel away the other fighter's grip while elbows were being thrown at the same time. Keep in mind, while this was going on sweat was building up on their skin and with each hit you could literally see the sweat come off their face and onto the mat. Speaking of mats, EA Sports MMA has a lot of different venues to fight in.
From the demo, we saw Muay-Thai rings, Brazilian grappling dojos, British boxing rings, a circular cage that looks exactly like what they used in YAMMA pit fighting, six-sided cages used in Strikeforce and I believe I remember seeing just an open area in the middle of a jungle. In fact, the locations were so remarkable that someone in the crowd asked if they could them again on the monitor.
EA Sports also announced Strikeforce as a premier league within the game which obviously leads us to believe that there will be other leagues (King of the Cage, Sengoku, MFC, DREAM, XFC) that will have their own fighters who each obviously have their own unique stance, movements, strikes...etc.
This game is going to be huge. Massive. Bigger than what we speculated when we wrote our 'It's time to get amped up for EA Sports MMA' article in September.
Review From ESPN:
Jon Robinson over at ESPN comments on EA Sports MMA:
"What you can expect is that someone who is trained in Brazilian Jujitsu and focuses mostly on the stand-up game and focuses mostly on being a stand-up wrestler, they are going to play as you'd expect — they are going to try and keep things on their feet," adds Jackson. "And when they get on the ground, they can get themselves out of trouble with position changes or some small submission attempts. But they're not going to be able to set-up submissions three moves ahead to make things happen.
"We also have a ton of counter moves in the game. I can't put a fine enough point on the ability to catch a kick and do anything from that. Catching a kick is the start of a lot of moves, not the end of it. Catching a kick and only being able to take someone to the ground is a travesty. That's not what 'MMA' is all about. It's about trying to stay in your gameplan if you want to. It's about being able to fight where you want to take the fight to, and we're going to allow that by trying to make sure we have the right branches in there at all times so you can try to keep the fight where you want in order to try and be successful."
Also included in the game are southpaws, the ability to switch stances, and fighters from both the top and the bottom positions simultaneously throwing punches without the need to wait for the initial punch animation to play out.
King Mo, as well as a few other fighters signed to "EA Sports MMA," has already traveled to EA's development studio in Orlando in order to be photographed for the game so their likenesses could be captured down to the slightest scar. "The characters are all hand-modeled using high-res photographs," explains Jackson. "We're also using some skin techniques that are being used in some high-end feature films right now. We have surface scattering, which allows light to go through the top layer of skin and bounce off to the outside so you get more realistic looking skin. ...
And judging from the limited amount I've seen of "EA Sports MMA" so far, I'd have to agree with Jackson as the sharpness of the character models is striking at first, and the more I stared at the real photos and compared them to the fighters on screen, I was left stunned by the likeness.
Jackson then showed a teaser of things to come, flashing a few never-before seen scenes of various fighting locations throughout the game, including a shot from Brazil, a Thai gym, and a dojo in Japan.
"The international nature of MMA is huge to us, and you learn different things training in places where different martial arts are more focused on, and that's part of this game," explains Jackson, who then immediately clams up when pressed for more detail. "This is just a taste of things to come."
One thing Jackson would talk about, however, is the inclusion of Photo Game Face for when gamers are creating themselves in career mode. "Putting you in the game is a big part of this game. It's important that you feel like a fighter, and we're going to make sure we give you that experience."
And when asked how busted up I can make my fighter's face (I'm a sucker for scars and bruises), Jackson guarantees I'll appreciate the final results. ... We started with the 'Fight Night' engine, and if you saw their damage, you have a good idea of some of the stuff you can expect from our game."
Game Informer Review:
Game Informer reviews EA Sports MMA:
Months later, we’ve had the chance to see the game in action. The game looks great, which is no surprise considering that it’s built with a modified version of the engine behind the astonishingly good looking Fight Night: Round Four. The demo featured Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers, fighters who faced off in a recent Strikeforce event, and their digital counterparts were convincingly detailed, down to the scar on Fedor’s brow. That said, is there room for two MMA games? After talking to the producer and seeing a presentation of the game, we have to say there is. Aside from obvious differences in rosters and venues, each game seems to be approaching the sport from a slightly different angle. The good news is that EA appears to be taking it all very seriously.
Damage modeling and blood was turned off in the demo out of respect for the fighters (who were facing off in real life the next night), but we saw a glimpse of how it will work in the game. Players will be able to focus attacks on particular limbs or body parts, which can leave their opponent vulnerable. Rogers’ leg was injured, which Fedor could exploit by leg strikes. Because his leg was weakened, Rogers reeled back slightly and pivoted on his heel. That reaction was just what Fedor was looking for. “A reaction like that’s going to open a window,” says Jackson. “If Brett has to step back or turn on that leg, it opens a window for counterstrikes, it opens a window for a takedown, so it changes the strategy of the game based on what you’ve set up throughout the game. You’re seldom going to win a fight with leg kicks, but you can set up an opening that will let you get to victory through other means."
EA isn’t talking about the game’s career mode or the size of its roster, but we did see screens that hinted at training facilities in England, Japan and, of course, Brazil. Aside from the four fighters announced, Jackson wouldn’t talk about the other fighters at this time. He did have a lot to say about their individual importance, however.“We’re going to have a big roster,” he says. “It’s not a comparative roster that we care about what anyone else has or anything like that. We’re going to have a big roster of great fighters, but the thing is that they’re all going to be individual fighters. It’s not going to be a list of names, it’s going to be a group of specifically individual fighters who fight like themselves.
Review from IGN and Pasta Padre:
Pasta Padre comments:
IGN has posted up their "first look" preview of the game. Topics discussed include the incorporation of the Fight Night Round 4 engine, organic combat feel, the use of Photo GameFace in career mode, the possibility of a women’s division, and some insight into the controls.
IGN gives favorable reviews for EA Sports MMA, comments on controls:
Standard striking will be handled by the analog stick by default, though all of the controls can be customized if you prefer something different. The developers want kicking and punching to be the same movement on the analog stick regardless of whether you’re on the ground or upright. How you’ll handle moving from mount to half-guard (as well as other transitions on the mat) is still a bit of a mystery.