Bellator: MMA Onslaught review
There’s just something empowering when roundhouse kicking a foe to the face, right? Well, maybe not in real life, as that may land you a spot in the big house – unless you’re a MMA fighter of course. Riding the coattails of the sports success, Bellator: MMA Onslaught has entered the gaming picture and aims deliver the knockout punch amidst a crowded digital scene. Can a fifteen-dollar MMA downloadable title compete with the major UFC contender that’s now in the hands of EA? Read our head-smashing review and find out.
In a sport that’s as technical as MMA, Onslaught sets itself apart from other similar titles by ramping up the action and pace. The best way to describe this formula would be to call it a Mortal Kombat meets MMA cross. You’re still setting up moves to counteract your opponent’s movements, but the focus isn’t detracted by complex button sequences. Indeed, most of the time will be spent button mashing to break blocks and to expose takedown opportunities – not pacing around the ring to find that one viable chance to score. This style of play coexists well with the introduction of a stamina bar. Like most fighters, you have your health bar that depletes after every hit, but you also have a stamina bar that keeps strategy vital in Onslaught. As you throw punches, kicks, and takedowns, your stamina bar will drop lower and lower; as it does, you run a greater risk of being knocked-out easier by a “flash KO.” This feature can be used against your opponents, thankfully, and will keep you on your toes throughout your matches.
Whereas some downloadable titles fall short in terms of graphics, Onslaught surprisingly impresses. The game ships with a number of well-known MMA fighters that are detailed from head to toe, or beard to chest hair. Though the game focuses less on surroundings, Onslaught’s slew of fighting locations are detailed enough to satisfy, as your focus won’t be on the setting. Onslaught also captures fighting in all its gory glory. As you and your enemy duke it out through three rounds, gashes become wider and your body more bloody. It’s always satisfying when you land a killer blow on an opponent and it’s then complimented with blood flying from his mouth onto the matt.
Onslaught does have some hindrances that detract from the overall experience, though. Unlike UFC Undisputed 3, Onslaught’s fight presentation is little to none. Apart from a nod to fighting games (Ready, ready, FIGHT!), you won’t be treated with play-by-play commentary or thrilling intros that show the fighters have come to pound each other into a pulp. There are also some hiccups in the fighting engine that makes the action pause for a moment, though some of them are absolutely hilarious. One time we were knocked out and our opponent began jumping and running around our body and pushed it around the ring.
Thankfully, these rough spots can be mostly overlooked thanks to the amount of content within Onslaught. Along with your standard exhibition, ladder, and multiplayer modes, the game features an extensive create-a-fighter mode that’s a breath of fresh air in sports games. You’ll have four spots available to create fighters that can be leveled up to 64, though no one fighter is the “ultimate, unbeatable fighter.” You can make your character as serious or silly as you want and can then level him up through any of the game’s modes. As you rank up, you’ll earn points that are used to improve your fighter’s skills across several horizons: strikes, takedowns, submissions, and technical. 345 Games has also promised future DLC, some free, that’ll extend your play time.
From a normal standpoint, Onslaught may not be much, especially in comparison to similar triple-A titles. The fact of the matter is, though, that the game is a fifteen-dollar downloadable title that offers more playability than any MMA/UFC game on the market. It’s also considerably unique in its gameplay style that is definitely a homage to fighting games. Simply put, 345 Games’ Bellator: MMA Onslaught is a great addition to the ever-growing digital marketplace and compliments the ever-growing sport that is Bellator.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]