Review by Parasitic

Reviewed: 06/01/10

THQ takes us back into the octagon for another knockout

Fans of MMA and video games haven’t had it easy over the years. Their favorite sport was never given the proper treatment in video game land. But Last year, fans of the UFC were treated with one of the best Mixed Martial Arts games ever created in the form of the highly successful UFC Undisputed 2009. With all the success, it was bound to turn into a yearly offering. The problem with creating games like this comes from the source material. These sports are extremely complex and attempting to transfer that into a game is a difficult task. While we were presented with a fine attempt last year, things were far from perfect. It seems that Yuke's (of Smackdown! fame) listened to many of the complaints and were determined to fix a lot of the issues and gaps that made it less than stellar. What we have this year is more than a quick cash update, we are given a familiar but different game, and that's a good thing.

The fighting system has been changed around in quite a few ways. One of the first noticeable improvements is the speed of the gameplay. While some may feel that Yuke's is looking for a more arcade feel, this isn't the case. The improved speed actually feels a lot better and more realistic compared to last year’s pace. Not only has the speed been upped, but the fluidity in the animation has been improved. While there are still awkward movements and stiff looking punches and kicks, the improvements that have been made are sure to please those who disliked last year’s robotic feel.

Obviously this isn’t the only change. We are presented with a variety of new submissions, punches, kicks, takedowns, positions and even a sway system to name a few. This adds a lot of depth and variety in the gameplay department that will please many enthusiasts. One thing I’ve learned throughout the course of my playing time was that patience and countering was a big key for success. If you try to go in there throwing wildly and playing the ’09 style, your chances of winning will diminish. Being strategic and knowing your opponents style (and most fighters do act like themselves) will go a long way in enjoying the gameplay elements of UFC Undisputed 2010.

Fighting for position is also a big key for success if you’re taking your game to the ground, working on the cage or enjoy clinching. A big complaint last year was the fact that one could easily transition into full mount while punishing their opponent relentlessly and it didn’t take a ton of skill. This year, with the new posture system, you’ll be working to get into that kind of dominating position while your opponent will have a better chance to control it. The same goes for the clinching system. You won’t be landing those big knees or uppercuts with ease. Instead, it will be a struggle for that position whether it’s in the middle of the octagon or against the cage, and when you land those big shots, you’ll feel rewarded for the work. It will take time to learn the system, but as I’ve said, it is very rewarding and you’ll really feel that when you head into career mode which has been changed as well (sense the theme?)

Again we use the familiar but different approach here because while career mode has a similar layout, the experience feels better (plus your career is twelve years this time). There are much more options to creating the fighter you want. No longer are you held back by choosing two disciplines and mainly having to stick with them. In 2010, you get the chance to create the absolute fighter you want by going to camps and learning any move available. How awesome is this? Extremely! And while it won’t be easy learning everything and can be a bit of a hassle going through lists to find the moves, it’s a welcome addition to allowing you the control over what your fighters should be. One last cool thing about career mode is as you make your way up in ranks, you get to be interviewed by Joe Rogan after fights and choose the kind of responses you want to say. It may get a bit repetitive after awhile, but it’s still a nice touch that gives the career more life.

One thing that hasn't had a huge overhaul is the graphics. They are generally the same as last year, but this isn't a bad thing. Last year’s UFC title looked great, so why fix something that isn't broke? While the graphics themselves may not have had an unneeded overhaul, the presentation has. The menus in '09 were annoying to navigate around with the loading times, but now the menus are so much more smooth and simple to get around. Trust me, it’s a big deal. We are also given quite an awesome presentation when it comes to the pay-per-views whether it is in career or in the create event mode. It feels true to life as we are greeted with the gladiator intro and main event fighters discussing their fight. We even have Mike and Joe on camera discussing the upcoming event. It adds such a great boost to the presentation and it’s those little things that go a long way.

I’ve said a lot of glowing things about this year’s UFC game, but it isn’t without its issues. Career mode can be a big hassle and quite repetitive in doing the same thing over and over. The stat decay presents a challenge but at the same time it can be a burden. Stats will decrease quickly if you’re not paying attention and before you know it, you have nothing. While they will stop decaying at certain levels (30, 50, 70) it still gets annoying with how quickly they do drop. I’m not saying stat decay is a bad idea. It just needs tweaked a bit. It’s also awkward as you get deep into your career and you end up fighting a bunch of fighters in their forties. They can’t all be Randy Couture, can they? Also, you will be asked quite a lot of times to do interviews, sparring for all access, and predicting fights for upcoming events. While I do enjoy the interaction, when you are constantly being asked all the time, it takes a bit out of the fun and becomes an annoyance.

THQ has also thrown in a lot of modes this year such as tournaments, title mode, title defense, etc. That’s great and all but they do tend to feel too similar. Classic fights make a return and are just as tedious as last year. It’s not really fun and the reward for accomplishing it is a bit subpar (I’d rather see the full fight). The controls are very similar to last year as well and they do tend to be complicating at times and sometimes not so responsive. The sway system is a nice addition but ultimately its control scheme needs to be implemented differently as it just comes off as an afterthought when playing and I found myself dumping it and just dodging out of the way by moving back. Luckily, button mashing is gone (along with online cheaters who exploited it) and we are left only with the shine system. It’s good, but don’t plan on submitting everyone with ease. I really feel that the submission system still needs more work to it as it’s a big part of MMA but do to the way it’s implemented, this will cause more players to play the stand-up game more instead of utilizing all the aspects of MMA. Maybe we can also move away from the health bar system and move in a different direction? Even though you can have it hidden, it’s still the system that’s in place and a lot of these KO’s reflect that.

While I expected a bit more from UFC Undisputed 2010, it’s a good game. It has its issues but we have to remember that it’s only the second title in the new “era”. As long as THQ and Yuke’s keep pushing forward, there is no doubt we are all in for some great UFC games ahead. It’s always a trial and error ride with these complex sports to finally hit that sweet spot. With online modes, loads of fighters, a good career mode and a lot of modes in general (even if a lot of them feel the same), this game will keep fans of the UFC and MMA happy until the next installment. Just take your time to adjust and learn the mechanics and you will enjoy it. It is, after all, the best MMA game on the market to date.

8.7

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: UFC Undisputed 2010 (US, 05/25/10)

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