UFC Undisputed 2010 Review

Developer: Yuke’s Osaka
Publisher: THQ
CONTACT FROM WHICH GAME WAS RECEIVED: Jamie Jensen and Monica Albert from THQ
Released: May 25th, 2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 and Playstation 3
Players: 1-2
Genre: Fighting/ Mixed Martial Arts
Rating: Teen for Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes and Violence

Mixed Martial Arts. Has it run its course yet? Of course not and another installment of THQ’s UFC fighting series is here to show you that.

More than 100 prolific fighters, a broadcast team of Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, the Octogan’s King Bruce Buffer and Octogan Girls are all here to make your ring experience a memorable one.

It is authentic. A lot of that is the licensing and unprecedented access that THQ has to the UFC brand, but the fights feel alive and big time each time out. Undisputed 2009 enjoyed no competition, but this version will get a run for its money when EA’s MMA franchise is launched later this year. It won't be a swan song because this experience is for real.

The game is basically the same and that is okay. The fighting still feels complete and authentic. Strikes feel both strong and weak depending on attributes, timing and placement.

The grappling is still top notch and like nothing wrestling or other fighting games have been able to do before. You just feel like you are in control of the submission and grappling system. If you want to increase your positioning, move the right stick and battle with your opponent so you have a better chance to arm bar him or choke that lazy bum out.

It is a blissful combination of striking and ground and pound. Last year’s clinch game was poor at best, but this year transitions are more intuitive and easily mapped out using the analog sticks, making remembering them a lot easier than before.

There are three new fighting types to dive into, Karate, Sambo and Greco Roman Wrestling. Sambo is a Russian fighting style that was started in 1923 by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand-to-hand combat systems. So for the brawler fans out there, try the Sambo out, it can be a brutal type if use correctly.

Swaying and pinning your opponent against the cage are also new additions that become a big part of your technique. Swaying is a take from the pure boxing style fighters. A good sway and block game will have you set up for quick and savage counter attacks.

In creating a fighter for career mode, you can pick fighting styles when creating a fighter. Or take on an existing fighter and inherit styles, skills and signature moves from the Ultimate Fighting legends.

Create a fighter is robust with plenty of brand named apparel and equipment to unlock and further edit your fighter. You see a lot of the same ideas from simulation fighters like Fight Night, where training and working on your skills will pay dividends. Working out, sparring and honing new techniques as you progress is key to having your created fighter excel.

Career mode is much of the same from last year but there is a new focus on learning moves through associating yourself with fight organizations and just flat out training those skills.

Add managing your popularity through magazine shoots and post fight interviews and your fighting game plan and out comes a pretty deep career simulation experience.

Classic Fights is back but under the title Ultimate Fights and is a mode available right out of the box. It gives you a chance to relive and possibly change the outcome of some of the greatest battles in UFC history. If you are a big UFC fan that finds yourself home alone a lot and you didn’t pay the Internet that month, this will be a mode that will take up a lot of your time.

Online mode is another huge part of Undisputed 2010 with the new feature called Camps. This is a MMA take on the clan system where you and some friends or other random people you meet along the way, can create a almighty powerful fighting posse. Within Camp mode, players can organize sparing sessions to upgrade stats and can also gun for shared accomplishments called milestones.

Like Battlefield Bad Company 2 and all future EA online able titles, a code, packaged inside of a new game, is required to log on to the UFC Undisputed 2010 servers.

There are also the staples of fighting games: title mode, tournament mode, career mode and event mode where you create a UFC event, name it, select the location and assign fighters for your brawl.

All in all, it is a simple game with a deep secret. New gamers can pick it up and understand, while true gamers can take the fighting styles and create art in the ring. 2010 adds twice the fighting depth with half of the complexity. The fighting system is really a gold star in gaming, and luckily that is what the title is based on.

This is a good looking game. Character models are spot on and blood is realistic looking and acting.

Of course with Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, some great stuff was recorded for this game. Your progression and strikes within the fight are tracked and noticed by the commentary pair. Rogan stays fresh and reacts to your punishing shots on your foe. Goldberg does a great job of cranking up the intensity pre-fight to get you in the mood to mash. Overall, nothing is off with the broadcast style and presentation.

Getting into the fights you are graced with a tale of the tape style overlay stating the names, heights, weights and reach lengths of the fighters. The graphics used are stunning and will change based on what circuit you are currently a part of, whether it be WFA or UFC.

One of the knocks I have on the in fight display is that you have little feedback about how your fighter is doing “health wise.” Is he one punch away or can you go all out? The overlay and lack of HUD keeps you from knowing your wellbeing.

I played a lot of career mode, Jimmy “Don’t Play” Smith is a beast. I felt like it would be a good representation of the game mechanics as well as one of the more popular modes of play. It started slow, fighting in a gym with no commentary or glitz, but once Dana White (kudos to him for being in the game) calls your name and offers you a spot in the UFC, the presentation reaches a pinnacle.

You really feel like you are in the fight with pretty girls carrying cards with round numbers on them to lifelike and packed arenas from around the country.

Another cool feature to career mode is the post fight interview and how it is interactive, allowing you to disrespect your opponent, address the fans, love on your sponsors and like most athletes, talk in generalities. But after a while, just one interview, those responses are drawn out and repetitive. It serves a purpose, allowing you to increase popularity or sponsor support, but the process of answering Joe’s same couple questions doesn’t seem worth it some times.

Online mode on its own gives lasting appeal but throw in Camp mode and extra incentive is placed on keeping up the prestige of your fight troupe.

With offline unlockables available as well, the game will be worth your while without yelling at someone you are playing online.

Plus it’s a sports title and sports titles have lasting power. Have a UFC crazed buddy over to watch the fight, why not whoop up on him on Undisputed 2010 to start the evening? Being able to play with other humans in person will also give the game some extra plays in your console.

I am not a huge UFC fan. I like the brutality of the sport and think it can be exciting if two stand up fighters brawl. But for me when the fight hits the mat, it slows down. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS GAME. Punching is the most fun for me, but the ground game and submissions give it a deeper and more challenging side.

Graphics are very good, the commentary is great and the fighting physics and lack of complexity make it a winner over last year. I just can’t wait to see how EA’s MMA launch will improve this one. They always say that you work harder when someone is gunning for your spot.