UFC 2009 Undisputed Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
UFC 2009 Undisputed box art
System: X360, PS3 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 19, 2009 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
Ground and Pound
by Leon Hendrix III

March 2, 2009 - I’m a sucker for success stories, but aren’t we all? For my money the UFC is one of the best around, and Dana White is the poster child. White is probably responsible for one of the most incredible sports franchises around. The UFC President got together the partners to form the original group that purchased the UFC from the Semaphore Entertainment Group. It was White who transformed the UFC from boxing’s rough and tumble cousin to the mainstream cash cow it is today.

UFC 2009 Undisputed screenshot

Alas, for all the UFC’s marketability and pocket-lining there has yet to be a solid entry for gamers to kick around. Despite a few attempts at a reputable treatment of the license, the best fans of the UFC have been left with are a couple of C+ entries on the PS2 and Xbox. Amidst the discussion about the UFC’s catapult to fame, gamers have had little to talk about… until now. Leave it to White to get the UFC back in the game.

UFC 2009 Undisputed is the first next-gen liberty taken with the license and, with any luck, the best of the group. So far the game seems well underway to heavyweight champion. Gaming giants Yuke’s and THQ are developing and publishing, respectively. With their previous experience partnering on the Smackdown series in the equation, business is picking up.


Having practically invented the modern brawler, the two companies are sticking all their know how into Undisputed and it shows. From screenshots, trailers, and match videos, it’s obvious that an incredible level of attention has gone into the game’s presentation. Each fighter has been meticulously and beautifully rendered from tattoos and hairstyles to specific movements and fighting styles. Cut-men, managers, and cameramen hang off the fenced edge of the octagon and authentic sponsor logos and ads adorn the ring. The result is a visual arrangement that mimics a UFC bout without the price of a ticket.

UFC 2009 Undisputed screenshot

The fidelity doesn’t stop there, though. Audio is also clean and memorable and establishes the atmosphere to an amazing degree. Audiences scream and cheer as fan favorites are introduced by the enthusiastic announcer, but we’ve seen it before. What is new could be the audience’s reactions. The crowd seems to know exactly when to scream and when to mellow, and every blow has its own soundtrack. The action is observed and commentated by real life announcers Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. I’ve read the pair provided nearly 30 hours of commentary for the game. On top of that, the sound crew recorded and mixed audio from live fights and included it in the game. None of these are entirely new concepts, but they are employed impressively here.

But any UFC fan comes for the fight, and it is here in abundance. Variety and authenticity are the name of the game when it comes to the in-ring action. Players can choose fighters in any of 5 weight classes (80 fighters total so far) and all the best are here. Rich Franklin, Wanderlai Silva, Brock Lesnar, Matt Hughes, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Forest Griffin are each represented with attention to individual appearance, fighting style, and movement patterns right down to Griffin’s signature auburn chest-mane.

UFC 2009 Undisputed screenshot

The fighting itself seems to take inspiration from a number of THQ’s own efforts, but the control scheme is closer to EA’s Fight Night series. The face buttons control strikes (left and right) and the shoulders are modifiers and control blocking. Grappling is handled through the right analog stick. Unlike EA’s ‘sweet science’ series, players will not have to choose specific strikes, only the strike itself (punch or kick) and its location (left or right, head, body, legs). The game’s A.I. determines the best strike (jab vs. elbow, for example) for the situation based on distance to an opponent, position, fighting style, etc. It is a stripped down system that provides gamers with the essentials without complicating the fighting too much.

Ironically, fighting seems to maintain its complexity as gamers attempt to change positions and catch enemies off guard to score something akin to a ‘flash KO’ or counter strikes into submissions. The all important ‘ground and pound’ is the best example. As players takedown opponents, they will have to hammer their foes while being careful to look for opportunities to squirm into more powerful positions. The give and take of the system offers a level of true UFC action absent from other titles.

Undisputed seems to be coming together nicely, but the animations (while mostly natural) become a bit more canned when transitioning between positions and switching mounts, and missed clutches smack of, well, the early Smackdown games. There hasn’t been much about play options, but expect an online match mode and a title chase to figure prominently into game time. With the release date still not announced, there is much work that can be done. We’ll have to wait until the game’s release to see if it’s worthy of its title.

By Leon Hendrix III
CCC Freelance Writer

Game Features:

  • Over 80 real life UFC fighters.
  • Authentic match presentation.
  • Fighting styles from boxing to Jiu-Jitsu are included.

  • Screenshots / Images
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