Before RobotGeek, I shared a certain Penny Arcade comic’s view: that MMA contained just a whole load of “Sweaty dick punching”. Since joining the illustrious RG crew, MMA now conjures a vey different image in my mind; Jade cheering as two men, women, or whoever beat the ever-loving hell out of each other, and now, thanks to 345 Games most recent efforts with Bellator, I’m even more appreciative of the world-wide phenomenon that is Mixed Martial Arts.
Bellator is the largest MMA tournament in the world, where fighters join a “Fight-to-the-finsh” style tournament, hoping to win a chance at fighting for the title of world champion; and after seeing Spike Games and 345Games efforts with Bellator, I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited to play an MMA game.
MMA games are notoriously difficult; UFC Undisputed and similar MMA games require you learn transitions, fight styles, moves, balancing, etc. Simply put, they are the Formula 1 of fighting games. 345’s Bellator seeks to alter that, but only slightly. They aren’t shying away from realism, with stamina being as much as an important factor as health, nor are they taking away from the technique and style that MMA fans so adore; rather, Bellator seeks to make the game slightly more accessable. Transitions, while still difficult, are easier to achieve, combos are easier to pull off, and the pace of the fights is quicker overall. Flash KO’s, the result of having your stamina too low before being hit, are one of the most frequent ways to end a match, and between the faster paced combat and simplified combo system, Bellator seeks not to compete with Undisputed, but to compliment its technical heavy, competitive side with a fast and fun experience.
Bellator is an ambitious project; seeking to bring new fans a fluid and fun experience, while still catering to the fans of EA MMA and UFC Undisputed is not a simple task by any means. But their combat system, combined with features like the “Create-a-fighter” mode, ranked fighters, and online play, Bellator is able to bring all the features to the table that UFC and EA fans have sorely been missing since its inception.
Bellator releases this Wednesday on PSN and XBLA for the low, low DLC price of a mere $20 USD. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on my ground transitions, before Jade gets a chance to get good at the game and smoke me.