Getting Down to Business
Last year’s UFC Undisputed was quite the breakout title. While previous titles attempted to use the MMA franchise with moderate success, Undisputed 09 was a game-changer. With a huge roster, amazing visuals, and a deeply strategic battle system, it seemed like the ultimate UFC fighter. The bar was certainly set high for this year’s Undisputed, but I’m happy to say that it looks like the teams at Yuke’s and THQ have pulled it off again. With new online and offline modes and a completely overhauled combat system UFC 2010 Undisputed is definitely packing the heat!
When you start up the game, you may be tempted to jump right into the action and start fighting. However, resist this urge, as the battle system has changed quite a bit since last year. Though the fundamental strategic-style combat is still intact, the game has introduced several new mechanics that give you greater control over your fighter. One of these new mechanics is the Sway System, which allows you to actively defend and counter attacks. The Sway System is seamlessly integrated into the standing battle controls, and using your defense feels easy and natural. Also, new in the battle mechanics is a beefed-up combo system, which gives you the ability to chain together more attacks to create better combos with your standard attacks.
On the strategic side of things, the combat system has also been tweaked to allow new posturing, which can help you strike your enemy from a more defensive or offensive position when you are in a submission hold. Although the posturing system does make fighters a bit harder to hold, if you find yourself at the bottom of a submission, it is much easier to defend yourself and get out of the hold. However, if you can manage to stay on top of the hold, you can land stronger blows.
When you first start up the game, you may be struck by how similar the layout and interface is to last year’s title. However, as soon as you start exploring the game’s content, you’ll begin to notice exactly how much has changed since last year. The game’s main single-player mode, Career Mode, takes the same RPG-like formula that was presented in last year’s title; it allows users to create their own MMA fighter and take them through a career that begins on the amateur circuit, culminating in a UFC title match. Although the premise is essentially the same, there are some key differences that fans will notice. Right from the start, you’ll see that the character creation interface has been streamlined, and you can use a drag-and-drop interface to apply tattoos, logos, and branding. You can also choose your fighter’s moves from several fighting styles (instead of just two) and take moves from fighting disciplines like Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and even Karate and Sambo (which were not featured in last year’s title).
Once you have created your MMA fighter and given him some winning moves, you’ll launch into the same RPG-like leveling system that was featured in the first game. However, you will notice that there are some additional elements to level up this time, including a “Popularity” meter that you will need to fill in order to attract sponsors. The Career Mode has been extended this year, and instead of just seven years, players will be able to battle other UFC players for fifteen years. But be warned, after your fighter hits his stride (around the 8 year mark), you will start to see the effects of aging on your fighter’s stats. If you can see it all the way to the end, however, you’ll be rewarded with a UFC championship, and of course, millions of virtual fans.
In addition to the Career mode, UFC 2010 Undisputed also features a Title Mode that lets you fight with your favorite UFC superstar and fight through their weight class. This mode is a great mini´-career mode, which is perfect if you want to have a full game experience but don’t want to take on the full commitment of the story mode. There is also a Title Defense Mode that can be unlocked which functions as a survival-style mode where the opponents keep coming as long as you have the stamina to fight them. In addition to these long modes, there are also short modes, including the standard Exhibition Mode – lets you go toe to toe with a friend, Event Mode – lets you design your own Pay Per View event card, and Ultimate Fights mode, which enables players to relive classic UFC matches.
While there is plenty to do with the game offline, there is even more to explore online. While the game does feature the normal standard and ranked matches for users to participate in, there is one new mode that fans should be excited about. Camp mode is a new feature that allows users to connect and train together to improve their common UFC online record. This mode is a lot like the guilds in MMO-type games, and it adds a whole new dimension to the online gameplay. Camp leaders can schedule playtimes, training sessions and group sparring matches between members in order to improve the camp’s online ranking.
Technically, UFC 2010 Undisputed hits most of the right notes. The game’s visuals offer only a minor upgrade from last year, but it still features plenty of detail and stunning damage effects. The audio in the game is a little hit or miss, however. One of the game’s hallmark features is the way the audio commentary changes depending on your actions in the game, as well as your fight history. However, though this feature is kind of interesting, it creates a lot of repetitive commentating. For instance, as I progressed through Title mode with heavyweight fighter Frank Mir, I heard the same commentary over and over about the last opponent I faced and how my Jiu Jitsu helped me escape from tight situations in the past. Of course, commentary in any game can become repetitive, but it seemed a little more obtrusive in this title, and I found myself turning the sound down quite frequently as a result.
UFC 2010 Undisputed is a great title. I was a little worried about it at first, as the bar was set so high with last year’s title and we’ve seen plenty of franchises that start strong but coast into their second and third iterations. However, 2010 Undisputed feels like a real sequel, and even though there are some similarities between this year’s and last year’s Undisputed (such as the roster and the format of the career mode) there are enough additions and improvements in this title that it feels completely fresh. If you liked last year’s UFC title, then you will definitely love this year’s, and if you have never tried the UFC Undisputed series, 2010 is definitely a great place to start.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.8 Graphics
The UFC roster comes alive in stunning detail. Damage effects have been improved since last year. 4.1 Control
The controls are fairly simple, but the different fighting styles add much-needed depth. 3.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Commentary can get repetitive in some modes (like Career or Title mode), but it is fine during regular Exhibition or Ultimate Fight matches. 4.4 Play Value
There are a plethora of offline modes to check out, and online “Camps” give players plenty of reasons to stay in the game. 4.4 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.