‘MMA by EA Sports’ App Review – Martial Arts (almost)Perfect

Since the time that the app store came into existence to the day about 2-3 weeks ago we had yet to see a quality, full-featured martial arts based game. Then EA came along with their version of the MMA Franchise made to play on an iDevice, MMA by EA Sports.

The App Store has taken yet another dramatic step in the past week with the release of EA’s MMA. Mixed martial arts has been the one kind of game that I’ve never experienced, so when I played this game I was surprised…in a good way for the most part.

When you open up the app and start to play, the first thing that you will notice are the great visuals. The character sprites, the authentic arena, and overall realistic environment makes the game shine. No more boxy characters with rough, jagged outlines to throw you off balance with disgust: crystal clear, smooth, retina-enhanced graphics that look just about perfect.

Though the artwork is extremely nice looking, it’s probably the highlight of the game along with content: so if you’re looking for other highly praised areas forget about it. After sitting through a considerably long tutorial which explains the controls, you’re ready to start playing. It seems that the developers of many games slightly among the same lines as this one such as wrestling don’t seem to be able to grasp the correct controls to make the player feel right. This adds to the list with a pretty bad decision when it comes to controlling your character while in combat. With the various swipe controls used to activate the different attacks, the game feels oddly uncomfortable in your hands. Firstly, it’s a pain remembering what direction does what so half of the time you’ll be performing a move you never wanted, and secondly since many of the controls involve two parallel swipes across the screen at the same time, you can sometimes not see what’s going on on the screen making it hard to react to counters and such. On top of that, moving your character is extremely difficult because of the tilt option used to do so; this area also feels odd. The controls make it pretty difficult to win a match, so all-in-all I was pretty disappointed when it came down to the actual fighting.

However, when it comes to actual depth the game picks back its name. It’s got an exhibition mode where you can quickly set up a match and start playing. What’s good is that the characters are all real life characters that actually exist. You’ve got all of the superstars in one place each available to be used. On top of choosing characters you can choose the location of your fight which can be in a few different locations around the world, your opponent, and the style of the ring you want whether it’s the classic hexagon, square, or circle.

There’s also another game mode which holds most of the game’s values. The career mode lets you design your character in different categories from his personal info (name and such) his outside appearance, tatoos, entrance music and attitude, and of course his gear. This mode has you playing through a series of matches against opponents and rivals while also focusing on improving your character’s attributes by playing minigames available periodically.

This is the standard for other companies to piggyback off of since it was the first endeavor with the genre, so I’m not too worried about not eventually getting a better version from another developer. It had potential in some areas like the super polished characters and the enticing career mode, then lacked greatly in others mainly with the controls for fighting. So while you were getting a game with candy for your eyes, there was no point because you couldn’t play it with ease.

If you’re looking for a full featured, flawless MMA game to satisfy your hobby, steer clear of this one. But, you don’t mind a few bumps in the road every now and then, and are looking for mainly a very time consuming career mode it’s not such a bad game. The main thing is, it needs more and personally I don’t think it’s worth $4.99.