Mixed martial arts is one the most appealing and fastest-growing sports around the world, largely because it’s highly entertaining. It should come as no surprise then to learn that many MMA games have provided fans with entertainment along the way too. It’s a genre that offers the brutality, skill and all-around pleasure that many other sports simply can’t match.
The games in this space haven’t always delivered, though. As with most other titles from other gaming categories, the options can be hit and miss on occasions. There is an abundance of MMA titles that have gone under the radar over the years still. Some releases had a small but dedicated community of gamers, while others – like many of the UFC Undisputed releases – pulled in massive numbers. Games aimed specifically at martial arts tend not to be pushed as hard by developers as other titles from bigger sports like soccer, basketball and tennis, for example. As a result, it’s largely up to fans to sample as many MMA releases as possible before deciding on the best product for them. For example, titles where players can swing for the knockout, like in the Eliminators Slot Machine, are relatively new, but fans of MMA might not know about it. The same applies to countless other releases in recent times, too.
With a number of classic MMA releases living long in the memories of fans and others going somewhat under the radar, here is a look at some of the best of MMA games ever.
Pride Fighting Championship
A hugely popular release on PlayStation 2, Pride Fighting Championship was an excellent MMA video game. The game’s Grand Prix events were particularly well-received among fans, as players enjoyed the entertaining pre-game routines and the fighter transitions. The game’s mechanics were fairly impressive for its time also, alongside the all-around fun it provided along the way.
The UFC games tend to do better than releases like EA MMA, but it still goes down as one of the best MMA games ever created for many fans of the sport. For its time, the game boasted mightily impressive graphics to go alongside its excellent fighting aspects. The controls were easy to grasp, it was new and exciting at the time of its release, and it was ahead of its time in many aspects when it became available in 2010.
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Regarded by many MMA fans and gamers alike as being the ultimate title from the genre, Pride FC included a solid roster, excellent presentation, superb gameplay, and an all-around experience which was truly amazing for its time. With players tasked with winning the Grand Prix, they had to quickly learn the striking and grappling aspect of the game before they could really challenge at the very top. Pride FC involved skill and planning in what is one of the most impactful MMA games ever made.
Virtual Pro MMA
A popular PC title at the time of its release, Virtual Pro MMA didn’t boast the same graphics that many of the other releases on this list had, but it served up the same, if not more, amount of fun. Similar in many ways to the WWE game No Mercy, Virtual Pro MMA offered a more fun and casual approach to MMA gaming. It didn’t require the tactics many other similar titles do, and it’s more just about serving up good, honest fun as you see off your rivals.
Other classic MMA games from over the years include K-1 Premium 2005 Dynamite!!, The Ishu Kakutougi, Kings of Colosseum 2, and EA Sports UFC 3.