- Publisher: THQ
- Developer: Yuke’s
- Also On: PS3
- ESRB Rating: “T’ for Teen
- Genre: Mixed Martial Arts Fighting
- Pros: Great roster of fighters; amazing gameplay; solid commentary; no two fights are ever the same; satisfying career mode; good presentation
- Cons: A bit lacking in modes; no penalty for quitting online; steep learning curve
The controls take some getting used to, to put it simply. The four face buttons control your four limbs. By holding the left trigger you’ll attack the body/legs while holding the left bumper lets you do power shots and really attack the head. The right stick plus a left shoulder/bumper button lets you get into a standing clinch or shoot in for a takedown. On the ground, different movements on the right stick let you make transitions and get into better positions for some ground and pound or a submission attempt. Defensively, the right trigger blocks low and the right bumper blocks high, and there are also defensive counter moves for everything in the game, and learning how and when to use them will make the difference between a win and a loss.
A couple more notes. The ground stuff is really complicated and if you want to be an effective ground & pound or submission fighter you really need to work at it. Because of this you’ll likely find that most players online choose to stay standing so it will be to your benefit to get really good on the ground. It takes a lot of work, but the reward will be worth it. Also, submissions are ridiculously hard to do against the CPU. They’re easy against humans, though. A little tweak to the A.I. would make a big difference here.
Features and Modes
You can use any of the real fighters as well as your created fighters in exhibition matches. There are also a handful of classic fights you can take part in (Griffin v. Bonnar, Ortiz v. Liddell, etc.) and each one has interviews and video clips taken from the real fights to get you hyped up. You earn rewards for finishing the classic fights in the same way they ended in real life, but you can play them out however you want.
Multiplayer is also available, of course, in both local an Xbox Live play. Local play works perfectly and flawlessly. Online play is a little bumpier. The game isn’t super smooth online and lag rears its ugly head and spoils fights more often than we’d like. Also, there is no penalty for people that disconnect in the middle of a fight, which is absolutely inexcusable. People, don’t be a jerk. Take your loss like a grown up and move on. Don’t disconnect just to protect your imaginary record that means, literally, nothing in the real world.