EA Sports MMA Career Mode Impressions

We get a look at the road ahead for those hoping to strike and submit their way to global dominance.

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When EA Sports MMA hits store shelves this October 19, it will meet with eager fighters ready to claw their way to the top of the rankings by any means necessary (and legal). However, the road to Strikeforce stardom is a long one that will take you through training camps, international leagues, and, of course, plenty of tough opponents. We took some time during EA's Studio Showcase to find out what prospective champions can expect from MMA's Career mode.

Every career has to start somewhere, and in EA Sports MMA, yours starts with character customization. Using EA's Game Face feature, you can map your own mug onto a fighter and then make him as true to life or as ridiculously muscular as you please. Then you can design custom logos and tattoos to adorn your shorts and skin, respectively; choose an entrance and victory animation; and you're ready to get fighting.

Each character's skills are tracked in three main categories: stand-up, clinching, and ground game. Playing to your strengths is obviously smart, but you'll also have to develop your skills further if you hope to succeed. As you win fights in training gyms, you'll earn money that you can use to spend on licensed training gyms. Need to work on your ground game? Spend some time over at Xtreme Couture. Pat Miletich and Rickson Gracie are among the other famous trainers listed, all of whom will be able to help you add moves to your repertoire. If you want to incorporate an arm bar into your move set, you're going to have to go somewhere to practice that arm bar. This simple correlation is born out of EA's focus on imbuing the MMA Career mode with a sense of authenticity.

Randy doesn't seem too pleased with your performance.
Randy doesn't seem too pleased with your performance.

Once you've proven yourself locally, it's off to international leagues where new challengers and new rules await. Foot stomps and soccer kicks fly in the vicious MMA matches in Japan, while elbows to the head come at you from the clinch in Thailand. These global contests will be tough, though as is the case in most sports games, the toughest competition you're likely to find will be online. For more on EA MMA's online component, read our hands-on preview of EA Sports Live Broadcast.

With many tiers of combat across many different countries, MMA's Career mode looks to deliver an authentic training experience and prepare you for the rigors of online combat. EA Sports MMA is set to release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 19, 2010.

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