Game Review: UFC Undisputed 2010
Release: May 19, 2010
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T
UFC Undisputed 2010 has a lot going for it. It has over 100 UFC fighters in 5 different weight classes, and it is by far the best Mixed Martial Arts game on the planet. Your tolerance for some of its short comings will vary greatly depending on how much of a fan you are to the source material. If you are a fan of the UFC then you will find little to annoy you in this years effort. If you are just a fan of gaming in general, then you will like the game as well, but some of the flaws will seem unforgivable.
UFC Undisputed 2010 is the sequel to the last years Best Individual Sports Game, and it improves on the old fighter in all but a few ways. If you are a “pick up and play” exhibitionist, then you will probably not see many of the new features in 2010, as most of the new tweaks have been made in the Career Mode. You have more control and interaction on your fighters 12 year road to the UFC Hall of Fame,. Last year, you would invite different schools to train with, and therefore level up your different fighting styles. This year, you will be able to learn actual moves from different fighters. Wanna punch like Brock Lesnar? Invite him to your gym and kick a pad until you get it. There has been a few alterations to the actual fighting engine, but the new situations from which you would see these new additions rarely present themselves, and end up just being in the background. All except the new cage mechanic. This year, Octagon Control is an actual aspect you will want to master. Where as last year, the cage was an invisible barrier, this year, it can save you from being taken down, or punish you for trying to run away. Its one thing that really adds to the look and feel of the UFC.
Career mode has seen some updates, but not as much as the create-a-fighter itself. Were as last year you would just pick a striking/grappling style, this year you have absolute control over every move from any single situation. It really gives you the control to really feel like you are your own individual, and not just a random faceless generic fighter. With all these new moves also comes the greatest upgrade in the game. The fighters from last year were just glued together from the different fighting styles, and did not have any flavor between them. This year they have added signature moves allows each fighter to control like their live action counterpart. You can sway like Anderson Silva, throw the over hand right of Chuck Liddell and get knocked out like Rampage Jackson (Go Rashad!). It adds such a feeling of authenticity that sets a new standard in the genre. Take note EA, your MMA game has a lot to live up to. The last thing in this that really makes UFC 2010 great is the Event Mode. This give you the chance to play match maker and set up your own fight card like an actual UFC event. THQ goes the extra mile by giving you all the bells and whistles of a pay per view. Everything from the gladiator opening to the pre-fight vignettes really sell the atmosphere of the sport. If you are going to be playing with a friend I would recommend setting up a series of fights in Event Mode as opposed to playing exhibitions. It really gets your blood pumping when all these matches come together. Along with Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night. It is really awesome.
It also deserves to be said that the commentary from Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan is some of the best in any sports game. They follow the action punch for punch, and add most of the energy that comes from the game. The amount of audio they recorded for the game is impressive on any level.
It is not all sunshine and right hooks in the land of the UFC 2010. The beginning of career mode will drag. It will be boring, and it will be lonely. There is no commentary or any real energy in those early fights, and it can disappoint you if you are not careful. Luckily once you get to the UFC and start getting post-match interviews by Joe “Right-on-the-button” Rogan, it finally starts picking up. Other than the Octagon being a physical object, most of the other gameplay tweaks don’t really find a place in the match-to-match flow of the game. There is a new transition submission system that is really just show, and the clinch game has changed, and not for the better. Sometimes all you want to do is let go of the clinch, but instead you just keep switching stances. The controls are solid, and my skill is as well, but sometimes it’s just frustrating to “swim” from transition to transition. For these reasons, most fights end up just being wild haymaker “bomb” throwing until someone gets knocked out. If you want any sort of a really challenge, play a real person or be prepared to crank that difficulty up. Otherwise fights can seem stale. If you don’t have friends sitting next to you, the online play is decent. The occasional lag is always an issue in games that require precise timing like this. The online Fight Camps are pretty well done, provided you have enough friends to make it worth your time.
One last minor complaint is the in Ultimate Fights mode. This replaces UFC 2009’s Classic Fights Mode. In this mode you recreate the winning moments of “ultimate” fights. Considering Brock Lesnar is this years cover boy (and rightfully so), it seems off that the games doesn’t let you recreate the red-ass beat down Lesnar gave Frank Mir at UFC 100. It’s a minor complaint, but the fights don’t really stand out as ultimate, and the Octagon Girls who introduce the fights sometimes have trouble reading from the cue cards.
Let’s be honest. UFC Undisputed 2010 has been out for a few weeks and if you wanted to pick it up, chances are you already have. If you are on the fence, however let me put it this way. If you missed out last year then this is a fantastic game to throw your money on. The graphics are terrific, the game play is complex and (mostly) satisfying. If, however, you played UFC 2009 to death, then there may not be enough here to keep you entertained beyond a weekend rental.