The popularity of the UFC, a mixed martial arts company, in recent years has grown at a phenomenal rate. Before it was only known for its brutality and opposition from politicians, nowadays fights are held all over the world in sold out arenas, the fighters themselves are household names and with mainstream exposure comes the merchandise – toys, DVDs and of course videogames. UFC Undisputed 2010 is the much improved follow up to the 2009 version.
A major positive about this game is the fighting system. It is amazingly deep, with sets of moves for different positions. It also does an excellent job of authentically representing the real combat of actual UFC fights. What I really enjoyed was the fact that the game’s controls were so deep and complex, yet still had the button mashing fun in the form of strikes. The feeling of weight behind the punches and kicks is a real bonus, as it feels like you’re actually landing with the blows. It’s most evident when you knock out your opponent, and this can happen at any time during a fight.
Of course, to fully enjoy the combat experience, players will need to use the other methods of fighting like clinching, takedowns and submissions. The only downside of the complex fighting controls is that a newcomer to this genre may feel lost trying to figure out how to execute a certain move from a hold.
The tutorial comes in handy for those new to the game, or those needing a refresher course. I highly recommend playing through the tutorial before jumping into the first fight, as it teaches players all about effective use of clinching, countering, transitions, takedowns and submissions. It also offers tactical advice such as using the cage walls to your advantage, which is a new feature to this year’s game.
The roster number for UFC Undisputed 2010 is huge, with over 100 fighters to choose from, compared to 41 from last year. With this many fighters to pick from, you’ll have no problem selecting a fighter with the style you’re most comfortable with. Of course, choosing can be as simple as picking your favourite fighter and this game includes most of the current stars, such as Brock Lesnar, Lyoto Machida, as well as a few legends of the octagonal cage like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (currently starring as B.A Baracus in the A-Team movie), Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
And all the fighters are easily recognisable, as the player models are amazing; they’re well modelled and highly detailed. The sweat and blood smears on the body, as well as the degeneration of the fighters face, such as swelling around the eyes is a nice touch. In fact, the overall presentation of the game is top quality. The fights have a real television production look about it - which includes introductions by Bruce Buffer, Octagon girls parading around between rounds as well as commentary by Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. The game does a great job of bringing the look and feel of a UFC event into the game.
The game offers players a fairly meaty Create-a-Player mode, that isn’t too complex so it’s easy and fast to create. A few areas stood out for me here - first was the ability to have different variety of ear damage, so the fighter could have any between a normal to a full blown cauliflower ear. There are also 10 slots to place tattoos and scars over your fighter’s body, with ability to move and scale. I actually spent a fair amount of time giving my fighter some character with body art.
UFC Undisputed 2010 offers several game modes, such as Title mode and Title defence mode. But it’s the Career mode that will hold your attention the longest. It is much improved and deeper than last year’s version.
You begin your UFC career with a few amateur fights; these are used to figure out what difficulty level you wish to play at. You then begin your pro career fighting in the WFA, where after a couple of fights, you’ll be invited to the UFC. The fights immediately become more difficult, and the fighters are of a higher quality. It was cool to see some actual UFC personalities such as Dana White and Marc Laimon involved.
In Career mode, the fighter improves by various methods such as training, sparring and attending camps; the latter is where you learn new moves to add to your arsenal. A negative aspect of the training camps is that you have to scroll through lists of camps and moves till you find the move you were learning. It would’ve been nice to have an area with a list of the moves you’re learning, for quick access.
My major gripe is with that you have to micro-manage your fighter’s schedule. If you neglect a certain attribute or skill for a few weeks, you notice that it’ll decrease rapidly. And because there are many areas to watch, it becomes quite difficult to keep on top of things. The schedule can become very repetitive, as on most occasions you’ll only be sparring, training or attending camps in between fights. There is an option for auto sparring, but the payoff is so low, that you’ll never increase your fighter’s stats.
Throughout your career, your fighter will have opportunities to increase their popularity through media work. These were fun at first, and provided a break from the monotony of sparring and training. But after awhile, it became more of a hindrance, as it interrupted the schedule and therefore halting the improvement of your fighter.
UFC Undisputed 2010 is a real solid game that I really enjoyed; to me it was a mixture of the WWE Smackdown series and the Fight Nights games, both great franchises. Fans who enjoyed last year’s game will definitely appreciate the many improvements, especially in the visual and gameplay departments.