|System: X360, PS3, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Yuke's Media||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 25, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
April 28, 2010 - UFC Undisputed 2010 is likely going to be quite successful. After playing through the preview code, I got a great feel for what the full game will have in store in terms of fighting mechanics. In truth, fighting is strikingly similar to what was available in last year's outing. Nevertheless, the changes that are there make this a more fluid experience that fans of the sport and of the last game should appreciate a great deal.
Perhaps the best innovation this time around is that of better control over standing grapples. By simply making quarter-circles with the right analog stick, your fighter will adjust his positioning to set up a takedown (get double under hooks, single collar tie, over hooks, etc.) or keep the opponent at the perfect distance to get some knee drives to the stomach. It feels very natural and is straightforward to execute, resulting in some awesome setups and the ability to wear your opponent's stamina down.
Similarly, the ground game has also been made even more fluid. Transitioning between positions as well as applying chokes and other submissions is seamless. If your opponent is able to foil your initial attempts to pass guard, taking up a new position, hitting him with a couple knees while on the canvas, and then employing a different submission (executed at the right time) can certainly make the difference. Of course, being on top isn't a guarantee of success. In fact, the dev team over at Yuke's has implemented an auto-guard system that allows a defensive position on the ground to be more easily maintained and subsequently transitioned into a counter hold. That means, as a downed fighter, you'll be able to take advantage of the attacker's mistakes more readily and press an advantage that wasn't there a few moments earlier.
Though learning all of the control combo variants is a lot to take in at first, things begin to set in quickly because all of the moves, regardless of position, are pulled off in the same manner (i.e. the same button presses, stick inputs, and control modifiers are used, just with different results depending upon positioning). Also, by pressing start mid hold and selecting the actions list, you'll instantly be taken to the appropriate hold and be reminded of how to get side control or how to go for the win with a kimura. This makes learning the ropes much easier. Setting up your foe professionally is a challenge worth besting because you'll be rewarded with some stunning and satisfying submissions, assuming you time your moves right.
Grappling on the ground, while a major part of a lot of fighters' repertoires, isn't the only game in town. In fact, toe-to-toe brawling is often every bit as devastating with the right fighter. UFC Undisputed 2010, from what I've seen so far, makes brawling an important element. For example, if pitted against an opponent that likes to charge in for takedowns, you can time your kicks to the shins and knees to the midsection to keep the shooter honest. If an opponent is too greedy, sticking out your foot and connecting with the on-rusher's face can stop them cold.
On the other side of the spectrum, if your opposition likes to keep things off the ground, you'll be able to thwart this strategy too. That's because dodging, called Sways, has become more important this year. Rather than just blocking incoming strikes, you can time an evasive maneuver, with a quick tap of the left analog stick, to make your foe flat-out miss. Naturally, this sets up counters extremely well; depending on how well you time the dodge, you'll get a power boost behind your punch, or perhaps catch a leg and give him a loaded strike of your own.
Not only are countering strikes destructive to an overly-anxious opponent, but unwary ones can be knocked out with just one punch or one instep drive to the face if they don't properly guard against standing attacks; watching the competition crumple in a heap after delivering one of these blows almost makes you want to keep your game off the canvas. It's apparent that the developers have decided that timing is paramount in MMA bouts, whether it's for dodging a brutal hook, stopping a charging fool in his tracks, passing guard, or pulling off a slick reversal.
Playing UFC Undisputed 2010's preview code was an awful lot of fun, but it definitely won't do the retail version justice. I was only able to get my hands on the exhibition and tournament modes, and I could only work the octagon with four fighters (Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Rashad Evans). The full game is going to have loads of options, including an expansive career mode, tournaments, a fight camp, web-driven community features, a deep custom character creator, and tons of top fighters with which to brawl. Stay tuned to Cheat Code Central when we give you the full low-down hopefully before the game launches on May 25th.
CCC Editor / News Director