UFC Undisputed 2010: review

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  • Format: PS3 (version reviewed), Xbox 360, PSP
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Developer: Yuke’s
  • Players: 1-2
  • Site: http://www.ufcundisputed.com/

The Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts sport is an up and comer gaining quite a fan base in recent years. This was cemented by last year’s UFC Undisputed release from THQ. Following in the footsteps of football and wrestling games, a new year apparently warrants a new game.

Right from the off it was obvious to us that how much someone would get from this game would be dependent on how knowledgeable about the UFC sport they were. If you were to look at the box art and wonder who Brock Lesnar was, chances are you would keep walking anyway. Nevertheless, there are some deeper mechanics that can at times make this an enjoyable, albeit slightly frustrating, game even if you know nothing about the sport itself.

The mixed martial arts on offer probably goes a long way to easily appeal to numerous groups of people. UFC isn’t quite wrestling, it isn’t quite boxing and it isn’t quite kick-boxing. There are knock outs, submissions and a set of rules that all borrow heavily from those other sports and try to put a grittier twist on them. Even for an initiate into this world it is clear why it has been growing in popularity.

Online or offline, what a bout in UFC Undisputed 2010 comes down to is either landing enough hits to win by a point victory, getting your opponent to submit, landing a blow that ends up bleeding too much or scoring a knock-out. Each button corresponds to a fist and a foot, with a shoulder button needing to be held down to use more powerful strikes and a different button to be held for lower blows. Grapples and submissions make use of the right stick.

The controls can be a little daunting, unless of course you’ve already played the 2009 release. The key to combat is mixing high, low and powerful blows while at the same time defending your own body and knowing when the right time to try for a grapple is. Throw into the mix counters and also the ‘gassing’ system where too many blows dealt or received can lead to a very weakened state and things get complicated. For that authentic feel, by default stamina bars are switched off but they can be enabled in the options.

One improvement from UFC 2009 is better grappling fluidity, and it’s true that the transition between techniques as fighters push each other or roll around on the floor does look more realistic; but at the same time things can look very strange at times. Hands can seem to twist around inside each other and if both players (or CPU and player as the case may be) are fiercely vying for dominance, their hands can fly about so loosely and strangely that it looks more like a tickle fight.

This game also probably features the most realistic sweat, bruising and body hair we have ever seen. We’re not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It would have been nice if as much time had been spent on making non-real characters (for example the trainers and ring side staff) look even remotely alive.

Besides the usual game modes you probably expect (Exhibition, Title Mode, Tournament Mode and so on) you also have Career Mode and Event Mode. We were surprised just how menu heavy the career mode for a uniquely created fighter was. You’ll spend far more time trying to balance upgrading stats with hilariously extreme statistic degeneration on untouched skills than you will actually having fights. Event Mode essentially lets you create your own custom Fight Night and if you just want to make a viewing experience out of it you can even pit AI against AI.

A big addition to this game is the online camp system. This is distributed through a download code in the box, which can lead to some confusion if you don’t look at it before loading the game for the first time. These camps allow players to form an online gym of sorts and to contribute to trying to make it the best and get to the top of the leaderboard. The camp system is an interesting twist and will encourage group participation in online play as well as a competitive edge thanks to integration with the official community website.

Annnnddd...tickle, tickle, tickle!

While at its core is a fairly deep fighter that mixes (arguably) the best aspects of numerous other sports, the real question to be asked is whether UFC Undisputed 2010 adds enough compared to last year to warrant a fresh, full price purchase. We came away feeling that the upgrades were negligible at best and still far from perfect. It didn’t detract from the game, but at the same time it felt like nothing was new.

The bottom line is that, like with every new FIFA game or sport you’d care to mention, regardless of what simple or tiny changes are made, fans will still pick up the new release year after year. Whether there is enough here to really, really appeal to a new audience to get them interested in this sport we can’t say for sure that there is. However, if you missed out on the 2009 release and are looking for something with a little more depth than your typical beat-em-up then maybe, just maybe, you will find something here.


5/10

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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