UFC Undisputed 2010

The UFC is on quite a roll these days, riding high on a wave of popularity fueled by its intense pay-per-view events, the terrific reality show 'The Ultimate Fighter', and its current roster of superstars like Georges St. Pierre, Shogun Rua, and Brock Lesnar (we hope to see you back in the Octagon real soon, Brock!). But one of the main cogs in the UFC hype machine lies in its video game spinoff series, Undisputed. The slick interface, brutal knockouts, and technical sophistication found in last year's title helped turn a legion of gamers into fans of mixed-martial arts, but gamers have even more reason to be excited this year as Undisputed 2010 is a vast improvement in pretty much every key area. It's a terrific follow-up to what was an already excellent game, and it should help elevate the stature of the UFC to untold heights.

Last year's UFC Undisputed 2009 was a surprise hit, not only garnering rave reviews from critics but registering monster sales numbers and helping to elevate the stature of the entire UFC brand. That's no small feat for a game that fans were skeptical of from the beginning; many of us wondered if a video game could realistically represent the sport in digital form. Many casual observers may think MMA consists solely of two people trying to pound each other into submission, but the truth is that the sport is incredibly complex.

Undisputed 2009 was a success because it did an admirable job of capturing MMA's many nuances, but it suffered from a handful of issues which grew more apparent the longer you played. The 2010 installment of Undisputed addresses many of those problems, and it really feels as if the developers listened to the concerns of the community when they went to tweak, change, and in some cases totally revamp, sections of the game. As a result, Undisputed 2010 feels like an actual upgrade rather than the simple roster update other yearly sports game franchises are sometimes guilty of.

UFC Undisputed 2010

You can no longer spam transition blocks in the ground game, meaning fighters now have a chance even if they allow their opponents to get the upper-hand.

The most dramatic change to the franchise formula is the new sway system. It took me a little while to get the hang of it but it's a solid addition that adds a new layer of strategy to the striking game. A quick tap of the right analog stick causes your fighter to duck, lean or sway to the right or left. It allows you to maneuver away from your opponent's strikes rather than just absorbing them with a block. Combine a well timed sway with a counter punch and you'll not only deliver extra damage but gain an increased chance of stunning or knocking out your opponent. Fortunately there are repercussions for excessive swaying back and forth as leaning into an incoming punch causes extra damage (something I learned the hard way when I suffered a quick knock out after dancing around too much).

The clinch game, which in my estimation was handled poorly in last year's game, has also been overhauled with great success. Being on the wrong end of a Muay Thai clinch is no longer the death sentence it once was, and jockeying for position is now done with the same semicircle movements used in the ground game. Pushing opponents against the cage can also open up another avenue of strategy, making the clinch an actual asset rather than a clunky feature that doesn't work as well as it should.

UFC Undisputed 2010

Blood and cuts are rendered more realistically, capturing the brutality of MMA fighting in its fully glory.

Yuke's also addressed ground grappling by adding numerous new transitions, positions, and submissions -- I am especially thrilled to see the inclusion of the crucifix pin Matt Hughes famously used to defeat BJ Penn at UFC 63. The addition of exotic submissions like the gogoplata, BJ Penn's arm-trap rear naked choke, and the Peruvian necktie are also welcome, and offer a nice change of pace from the usual tap-out maneuvers. Button mashing is no longer an option for defeating submissions; rapidly spinning the right analog stick is the only way out. You can instantly transition from one submission attempt to another with a quick button press, forcing your opponent to change the direction of his rotations to escape. This may not sound like a big deal but it's trickier than it sounds and represents how a fighter can quickly change his technique mid-move. Fighters now have a passive defensive ability that helps eliminate the "punch, transition block" cycle of last year as well. Additionally, fighters can eventually break through an opponent's sustained transition defense, which will hopefully eliminate the block spam from last year and keep players active on the ground.

All of these improvements to the fight engine are terrific and add a greater sense of realism but it can prove confusing at times. You have to know when and how each discrete set of moves work, which left me making frequent trips to the pause menu for a quick refresher. Remembering that your left bumper modified sweep applies only to "side control bottom position down" is rather cumbersome, and will no doubt turn off gamers who don't have the patience of learn every subtle nuance. You can still have fun by learning a basic move set but to really get the most out of the game -- as well as the actual sport -- it helps if you dig deeper.

UFC Undisputed 2010

The clinch game gets a much needed overhaul, making it a much more useful offensive weapon.

That's where the career mode comes in: like last year, it is a great way to slowly master the intricate fighting system over the course of your career. Create a fighter has been greatly expanded and predetermined styles are eliminated. Individual moves are selected à la carte, giving created fighters a much needed sense of individuality. You no longer get a free ride to the UFC, either; instead, you follow a realistic career progression path, starting off as an amateur than rising up through the ranks. Cut scenes build an actual sense of narrative to your journey as well, fleshing out the overall career experience, and you can engage in pre- and post-fight interviews with Joe Rogan to disrespect your opponent or suck up to the fans to boost your popularity rating. Unfortunately most of the post fight dialogue is bland; it would be more fun if they allowed you to exhibit a more colorful personality. And for those that were wondering, UFC President Dana White won't harass you with 20 emails a day like a jilted ex-lover, taking on his familiar role as the UFC's charismatic and foul mouthed front man instead.

Multiplayer is another important aspect of the game, and while I didn't get a chance to try out the mode -- servers were not available yet -- I have high hopes that Yuke's has addressed the issues which hampered last year's online fights. Quirks like people fighting with created characters with blown up stats and transition block spamming really cut into the joy of taking on human opponents. This year's version adds some new twists to keep the action more interesting, including the ability to recreate actual UFC pay-per-view event cards and a central database to upload stats to. There's no telling how the mode will hold up over the long term until the servers go live but it looks as though Yuke's is at least learning from their past mistakes.

And that's what makes Undisputed 2010 such a success: it addresses the problems of the past while making subtle improvements that make the product better. The graphics are crisper, the animations are better, and several new tweaks make the actual fighting more enjoyable. Even the menu system and user interface is cleaner and easier to navigate. This attention to detail makes UFC Undisputed 2010 an intensely satisfying experience, and if THQ can keep up the momentum, the future of MMA games looks bright indeed.

PROS: A worthy sequel to the original; refinements in every key area; additional game modes and new challenges offer greater replayability.
CONS: Intricate fighting system can be overwhelming; while vastly superior to last year, career mode isn't quite perfect and needs some improvements.

Comments [34]

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quantum212

This has to be the worst game i have ever played!!!!! who ever created this game should be shot!!! and this is the first time i am posting a comment on any game i have ever played! the fighting in this game sucks! career mode is unrealistic and the training sucks as well bottom line a total waste of 60 bucks ufc undisputed 2010 sucks the sweat of a dead mans balls!!!! and for everyone that is going to write smart ass remarks about what i wrote..you can kiss my ass too!!!!!
this game fucking sucks!!

Afflicted89

Sounds like you got too much time on your hands. This game kicks ass the multiplayer needs a patch but other than that its much better than last year.

bombrowicki

this game sucks. i just finished the career mode maxing my fighter out totally. All the stats are ranging from 98 to 100 and the physica statsl are max. I got around 400 points for most of the training sessions simply getting to clinch , suplexing and submitting repeatedly and i finish every single fight within a minute. Career mode sucks! How could they give it a 9/10 is beyond me!!!!!!!

JohngPR

I think it was necessary to explain how the "Exclusive Review" happened, simply because of John Davison's take on them in the past.

I would be a liar if I didn't admit that seeing you guys with an exclusive review under him didn't raise an eye brow, but I'm not cynical enough to think you are lying about how it came about.

Either way it was a well written review, and I'm really looking forward to playing the game for myself.

wisegamero

Hmmm.... sounds like UFC undisputed might be a good game to buy, I'm still enjoying Super Street Fighter 4, but I'll wait and see how UFC's online multiplayer pans out. It's nice to see a game where it's not just one endless combo after the other.

ProtectMyBallz

@TKK

Yeah, ProtectMyBallz was my gamer tag on the Xbox, but now is my PS3 name. I got it from a song on the South Park episode where the boys wanted to be ninjas--the best song ever written imo :)

Thanks for the reply, us readers appreciate interacting with you guys.

Jacobs

I think this was a well written review, but to give a game that relies heavily on its online multiplayer a score without actually playing said multiplayer is suspect. I understand that in order to get a review out ahead of everyone else they had to bite the bullet on playing the games multiplayer, but it really hurts the credibility of the review when it is rushed out just to beat other outlets. I'd rather read a review a week later that can inform me on how the game handles online. I'm sure at some point the GamePro editorial team talked about the pros/cons of not being able to talk about multiplayer.

Again, I understand the nature of the business. Undisputed 2010 will undoubtably be a big hit, and being first to the internet with a review of this game will bring in a ton of page views, which means revenue for the site. IGN makes a ton of money this way, that is why you see early reviews from them all the time. The money they spend on these reviews is well worth the brand recognition they receive for being early to review games.

I'm not insinuating that GamePro paid to be able to review this game early, but I do think that they jumped the gun on this game by reviewing it without playing the multiplayer. I have come to expect a lot out of this site since they changed their editorial philosophy a couple of months back, and for the most part the content coming from this site has been great. I just hope that they don't make a trend of reviewing games early if it means that they have to leave out important information about how the game plays.

Gixman

Not a bad score. This review has me pumped to buy the game next week. I just hope EA's MMA game turns out just as good.

greyscale

solinvictus wrote:

@jianmei17

Can you guys delete this idiot's pofile? Thanks

Done and done.

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