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EA Sports MMA Event Report

Never in one day did I expect to meet numerous celebrities, learn how to choke out an opponent and also play a brand new EA Sports IP but I suppose that’s the life of a journalist.
Despite the severe tube strikes in London, something that crippled most of the capital city for transportation, there was still a decent turnout. Straight away we were given a presentation from Nick Laing one of the producers of the game. He went through some of the controls, talked about whom from the MMA industry helped shape the game such as UFC legend Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock and John McCarthy. In-fact John McCarthy, the first UFC referee helped the team shape the different sets of rules for EA Sports MMA, it was obvious that Nick and the team working on the game wanted the first title to be the most realistic out there.
Apparently the huge roster of fighters in the game is “more than just a lot of fighters, our roster is a collection of distinctive fighting experiences” hence the mix of current and older fighters from the MMA sport. One of the things that Nick wanted to get across was that the game wasn’t a button mashing experience. One of the slides summed it up perfectly “Stay calm, feel the fight, no mashing.” And from playing the game you easily see where they were coming from.
After the presentation we were free to wander around and play the game or interview Nick. Getting a drink from the bar I noticed an attractive blonde sat next to me, she smiled and I was sure I had seen her before. After a couple of minutes of small talk about the game, I still couldn’t figure out where I had met her before. Maybe she was a journo from another event? Or one of the PR people… then John Robertson who had just joined us jogged my memory straight into place, ”That was Kate from The Apprentice wasn’t it?” And there I was talking about EA Sports MMA to one of the presenters from Live From Studio Five.
“Right who’s getting in the cage?” the question rang out and suddenly I ended up volunteering, well with the encouragement (is that the right word?) of Paul. Being given an EA Sports MMA T-Shirt to wear, there I was stood in the middle of a MMA cage without the faintest idea of what I’m about to do. However before my nightmare of being kicked the crap out of by a professional fighter could occur I thankfully found out he would be teaching me some moves from the ground position. Suddenly this situation had gone from getting my ass kicked to being shown how to kick someone’s ass.

IncGamers’ James goes MMA
The first manoeuvre I was shown was a reverse arm lock, apparently locking it in and applying too much pressure could break the opponents arm. Yeah, so, first time I lock it in I applied a little pressure but didn’t realise I was to let go and the trainer quickly tapped. Oops not the best first impression. Secondly, and my personal favourite, a triangle choke, despite getting legs around the neck of an opponent and
knowing where to squeeze it it wasn’t until they do it to you that you realise how effective it was. Finally, I was taught how to switch from being on my back to flipping around to the front to lay down the elbows. Overall quite an enjoyable and successful experience.
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I clambered out the cage and the fighter asked a puzzling question; “Where are you from?” Explaining IncGamers were from Bridgwater and then saying the nearest city was Bristol he came back with the three words which no one that has ever seen me expected to hear, “You should train.” Politely reminding him that I’m primarily made out of skin and bones he quickly cut me off, “Lanky fighters prove to be one of the toughest to break down and you were picking up the moves rather quickly.”
Could James “The Game” Chalmers (yes I’ve thought about a ring name, sue me) really make it in the MMA? Of course not. I thanked him for his time but said I would leave it for the professionals. Knowing he was fighting a loosing battle he thanked me for the time, urged me to get into a gym and rethink it. I can safely assure everyone I will never step into the cage just to get thrown and punched around for the evening. If I wanted that I would take a night out in Bridgwater. Anyway we had more important things to try, the actual game.
The roster we had on offer was limited but you could see the vast array of fighters from different promotions that will be on offer when the game launches. Unlike the UFC Undisputed games the fighters receive full entrances from the curtain and down the ramp, it would’ve been nice to have the fighter’s full team following him down to the cage but the entrances are impressive nonetheless. Taking the same control scheme of Fight Night, EA Sports MMA takes some time before you start to get the hang of things. Being a complete newbie to the Fight Night series I was struggling to pull off punches let alone the combos that John was managing to easily execute.
Unfortunately for me the next few fights consisted of me getting my face smashed in and John standing over my prone body, wailing down punches to my defenceless character. However after a few more matches I was beginning to get the hang of things and while the game looks a lot like UFC Undisputed, the gameplay feels a lot more fluid. Grapples and takedowns flow a lot more easily compared to the struggle that you have in the Undisputed games and switching different transitions was a simple flick of the analogue stick. Sure there is still a lot to be learned through the game, but from the sections of when I wasn’t being knocked out by John, I could see EA’s version of the MMA genre wasn’t simply a ripoff of the UFC franchise.
Taking the advice of Nick into account I decided not to button bash and believe me if you can follow this simple rule you will succeed. I soon learned this when taking the roll of MMA legend and former WWE superstar Ken Shamrock. Trying to lock in a submission you are prompted with a button to press as you attempt to gain the advantage against your opponent. Previously I had button mashed and quickly saw my stamina run out and my opponent easily maneuver out of the hold. However trying this different approach, I slowly pressed the X Button to apply more pressure and soon the game showed the bones of the opponent and the areas I was applying pressure  to with the hold as I tightened it in. Soon I had made John tap and for the first time that afternoon I had actually won a game of EA Sports MMA!
After giving the game a few more rounds, which mainly consisted of me being knocked out yet again by John, we then got the chance to chat to Nick Laing about the game. He talked about the whole Dana White fiasco saying the UFC owner was one of the main PR guys for EA Sports MMA due to his comments. We discussed women fighters, the different promotions and titles and a whole lot more, which can be found in the video interview. Oh and Nick’s favourite fighter? Who else but the immovable object Chuck Norris who has a devastating roundhouse kick. Could we see the legendary fighter become unlocked throughout the game? Somehow I doubt it, then again I wouldn’t put anything past those crazy lot at EA.
Just before we started packing up who else but Alex Reid walked into the gym to much excitement of most of the press attending the event. While his PA wasn’t allowing any interviews with him, in true IncGamers fashion we managed to persuade “The Reidinator” to give us a couple of lines before he went off to train for his fight against Tom Watson on 25 September in Birmingham. Believe it or not but Alex Reid is quite a nice bloke and despite what you read in the tabloids that dress-wearing fighter is actually alright. He talked to us about his reality show and then gave us an intro for the video before disappearing into the cage with his trainer who looked like he could kick seven shades out of him, let alone us.
So there it was a day of learning how to fight, playing the very first MMA title from EA Sports which is shaping up quite nicely and exactly how not to talk to women especially if she is from the television. A demo for EA Sports MMA hits PSN and XBL on 28 September and features two heavyweight and two middleweight fighters.


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