Last year, we took a look at Kung Fu Factory’s MMA Supremacy title and needless to say, we were pretty critical. When 345 contacted me to take a look at their new game Bellator: MMA Onslaught, I was a bit concerned since the last MMA game I played wasn’t one of my favorite. 345 has some pretty cool people that work for them though and I decided to humor another attempt at a MMA title with the backing of a different studio.
Belator surprised me right out of the gate, while it is a downloadable game, it is actually a polar opposite of the Supremacy series (which 345 were VERY clear to explain to me before I even saw the game). I was immediately introduced to their collection of fighters which included strikers, grapplers and all around fighters. I am not a huge follower of any form of mixed martial arts, so it may sound silly to say but it seemed really cool that each fighter had specific tactics that needed to be used on order to make them effective.
The game felt much more arcade-like and controls were simplistic enough that I was able to fight against other players right after picking the controller up. The fighting itself seems to be one half of what makes this game worth checking out. It’s the type of game that you can get a few friends together and have a winner takes all tourney in no time at all. Characters have the typical “health bar” but also have a stamina bar as well and almost everything you do will cause your stamina to drop. You will not win any fights spamming attacks like Eddie Gordo in Tekken, once your stamina has reached a critical level you are open for what they call a “flash KO”. This knockout occurs when you take a solid hit when you are low on stamina and while 3 other writers as well as myself played, this was one of the most common ways a fight ended. Due to this, many of our fights had us on the edge of our seats, since a good blow or a slam could end the fight as quickly as it started. Submissions weren’t half bad either, in fact when you initiated a submission move on your opponent, you both had to immediately spam buttons in order to apply more pressure or to escape.
While Bellator: MMA Onslaught didn’t appear to be breaking any new ground in levels of graphical excellence, there were still some things that were cool to look at. After some grappling and a few hard hits, you could see swelling, bruising and even bleeding on the fighters. There appeared to be a small collection of different rings to fight in but they all looked pretty cookie cutter. The fighters themselves looked a little like mannequins, with a few looking way more detailed than others. which was a little odd but with the speed of combat they still were decent enough to not be a distraction.
The other big thing the game does is give you the ability to go well beyond the 8 existing characters that are available when you start the game. There is an actual character creating mode that is featured in the game that allows you to design your own character from their fighting style to their particular look. During the presentation, we made some Asian/gorilla looking guy that was a kickboxing specialist that had all his fighting points in grappling. Needless to say, the guy got his face blasted in by the existing characters. It seems that you have the ability to make a few characters and the team discussed the probability of adding additional styles of character customization to the game if the fans really want them, which I can’t imagine they wouldn’t since it is actually fun to create a character and send him out into the world to become a MMA great.
So, even though Bellator: MMA Onslaught wasn’t the flashiest game at E3, it certainly had enough of what makes a multiplayer game fun to warrant checking out. It comes out July 4th on XBLA and will be on PSN a little later, which is perfect because if you are in the US, I am sure you are going to be with friends and family (probably even some alcohol too), which makes the perfect environment for getting a people around the TV and seeing who can create the most unique character before throwing them into the ring to battle for superiority. For all you forever-aloners, there is a single player mode too, they didn’t leave you out!