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EA Sports MMA Vs The World (Of Mixed Martial Arts 3)
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I’ve been a fan of Mixed Martial Arts since late 2007. The first show I saw had a fight stopped by the doctor after an elbow to the head resulted in a nasty cut to the head and the doc could see bone. After that I was hooked. Sure some people saw that its brutal and bloodthirsty, but they miss the technical aspects and psychology involved. This Christmas I received the two newest games based upon the full contact combat sport; EA Sports MMA and GreyDogSoftware’s World Of Mixed Martial Arts 3 (WMMA3). I decided to put them to the test.. 3 rounds based upon Career, Graphics/Gameplay and Replayability with a decision based upon the games as a whole.

In the red corner : EA Sports MMA
First into the ring (so to speak) is EA Sports offering. 2 years in development and following in the wake of the 2 UFC games, EA Sports MMA needs to come out swinging. Pre-release pictures wetted my appetite and early reports sounded good. Featuring big names from the sport and the licence for promotions such as STRIKEFORCE, EA Sports MMA is the big name fighter who even non-fans know about.

EAWMMA3 EA Sports MMA Vs The World (Of Mixed Martial Arts 3)

In the blue corner : World Of Mixed Martial Arts 3
The World Of Mixed Martial Arts series has been around since 2007 from GreyDogSoftware.com as a digital download. Made by Adam Ryland who previous works include the Total Extreme Wrestling series and Wrestling Spirit (and who’s more than likely influenced THQ’s Smackdown Vs Raw horrible General Manager mode). Low budget in comparison to its challenger, WMMA pitches itself as the more cerebral of the two games.

Round One:- Career
I was originally going to label this round Story, but neither game features a storyline as such. In EA Sports offering, you begin as a rookie at the gym of Bas Rutten; who retired undefeated and champion in two different promotions. Rutten takes you under his wing through your initial training, your opening amateur fights and throughout your progression of better companies to work for. He also takes out of your hands who you will fight and allows you to concentrate on your training (which is a choice of where to train and what to train up). You put together a series of wins, get offered a contendership match and then finally into a title shot. Winning that gets you noticed by a bigger promotion who then snap you up (dropping the belt in the trash on the way out. Your fighter is an ass.. Better get used to it)

WMMA pretty much veers off in the other direction in that you dont play as any of the fighters, but as the owner of the promotion they work for. You begin by picking a pre-generated character (or go into the editor and create your own) and can select from one of the 8 active MMA companies to take control of. Once employed, you are given free reign to attempt to hire any fighter you feel would fit and then schedule an event to begin building some stars. When showtime comes around, the fights are calculated based upon each fighters stats and a play-by-play recount is given to you. You get no direct say in who wins so you have to be careful who you pair up as you could easily see your biggest known star get his arse handed to him leaving you with no-one to main event for you. After the show, you have to manage your rosters demands, contracts and injuries to ensure that your next event can take place.

Round Two:- Graphics/Gameplay
EA Sports MMA graphics and gameplay should really be broken into two parts; Fights and Training. When you have a fight scheduled you have 8 weeks of training time allocated to you. You can pay to head to a renowned gym that specialises in certain aspects (be it Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, or Muay Thai for example) or train at Bas Rutten’s gym which is pretty generalised. You choose a specific area to focus on that puts you into a minigame based upon that attribute (Improving your punching stat using just means performing certain moves and combos within a time limit) You are given a grade based upon how well you did which in turn relates to how much of an improvement the stats are. However once you have completed that training session, you can just simulate it next time for the same results. After a few fights, training usually becomes a case of picking an attribute to improve, hitting simulate and then repeating for the next 7 weeks and you sit there just watching the screen. Come fight night, the graphics massively improve. You are treated to a decent recreation of a bout beginning with the tale of the tape followed by the walk-ins and fighter introductions. Once the bell rings, the fighters move around realistically and the first time the two fighters touched gloves (a sign of respect) i was very impressed. Strikes looked hard and vicious and you could almost wince during the replays. At some points i did feel a little let down by the controls (strikes are handled by the right analog stick and if you can wind up doing the wrong move if you dont get the direction exact) but these were few and far between

As previously stated, WMMA3 does not allow you to see the fights but get a play-by-play report on it instead. Your time is mainly spent watching the news feeds, scouting fighters and preparing events. The game does feature over 1000 fighters each designed by members of GreyDogSoftware’s community but your majority of the time, you will be facing screens of text information. The play-by-play has been carefully produced to avoid any repetition and can be saved as a text file for re-reading. Gameplay wise, the biggest thing WMMA3 has going for it, is its open-endness. You want a no-rules cage fight.. You got it.. You want to slower destroy another company in your area. Do it. Its upto you.

Round Three:- Replayability
Once Career mode had been played to death in EA Sports MMA, where do you go from here. Online that’s where. Upon activation of the Online Pass, you gain access to online fights with rankings and leaderboards as well as a feature i’ve not seen anyone else.. Live Broadcasts.. EA have set up a section where ranked players are approached to fight on a ‘show’ at a specified time. This show is then broadcast online and in-game with real-time commentary over the match. Exactly how long they keep up this feature is another thing entirely.

WMMA3′s replayabilty is all centered in the size of its game world. With 8 active promotions with varying rules and weight classes as well as another 16 companies hidden in the database to open up later on, its easy to try something new. If however you get bored of that, then you can pick up a community made mod featuring real world fighters and companies to allow you a fresh outlet. You can also use the ‘Quick Match’ mode to set up dream bouts and watch the match unfold.

Results:-
Depending on what you want out of an MMA game will depend upon your decision here. If you want to be able to crush an opponent yourself or sit with a headset on taunting somebody you will never see in person, then EA Sports MMA is for you. Career Mode is fairly basic and doesn’t quite live up to the unique experience it promised, especially when you dont get to pick your opponents or defend your belts before you get moved up to a bigger promotion. Online modes have been given a fair bit of polish and seemed to work well throughout testing. Of course not to mention the joy that is Live Broadcast. However, if you prefer a more strategic long term game that features more than just train, train, train, train, fight then WMMA3 could be more your cuppa tea and has more to hold your attention once EA’s online wears thin (or they shut down the servers) Its up to you to choose. Do you wanna be Fedor Emelyanenko (considered the best heavyweight fighter in the world for the last seven years by major publications) or Dana White/Joe Silva (UFC’s President & Match Maker) Its a draw in my book.. Roll on the rematch next year.

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