UFC Undisputed 2010ESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Offical Game Website: www.ufcundisputed.com
Online Multiplayer: 2 Players
Network Players: 2
2GB Required HDD Space
HD Video Output: 480p/720p
Dual Shock 3 Support
THQ has finally released their lasted MMA game to the masses as UFC Undisputed 2010 has hit store shelves. I had a chance to preview the game in late April, and even then I was quite impressed with what I played. I have had a chance to play the final product and given my time with the game I would venture to say that this latest release from THQ is going to make most UFC and Mixed Martial Arts fans tickled pink.
If there is one thing that I have to say about Undisputed 2010 it is that everything looks like the UFC, and I mean everything. Fighters are very detailed, from their rough and battered looks to the various sponsors that they feature on their clothes. Being a casual fan I have still managed to see quite a few different UFC fighters on TV (e.g. Pay Per Views) as well as on posters and advertisements, and the in-game models seem spot on to me. The character animations are also very smooth and everything that takes place in the octagon is very good looking. Heck, you'll even see cuts open up on the fighters with blood ending up on the mat and other fighters during the match.
In terms of the on-screen environments, from the training gym to the championship venues you fight in, it is all there. I was impressed with all the stadiums and coliseums that have been added to this year's version and how well they, and the crowd, were rendered. Being that I originate from Vancouver, Canada, I was stoked to see GM Place being included in the game given that their first UFC event at that venue will be held there this summer.
Of course this would not be a UFC game without the UFC style presentation being offered, and Undisputed 2010 manages to hit it on the mark here. From the pre-fight and post-fight interviews, the "Tale of the Tape" moments, to the fighter introductions, everything offered in this area is true UFC and as authentic as you can get. You will actually feel like you are watching a UFC Pay Per View or Fight Night, given how accurate the presentation is, but here you are in control of most of what you see.
As with the visuals, the sound in Undisputed helps to make this game a true UFC experience. From the fighter's music as they make their way to the ring, the introductions by Bruce Buffer, to the commentary of Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, it is all true UFC. On top of this the sound effects are just as good. You will hear the crowd cheer louder as fighters stop prancing around the ring and go toe to toe trading blows. You will also hear the impact of the smacks, punches and take downs as each fighter attempts to one up each other.
A new feature this year is how the game actually tracks and learns your actions in and out of the octagon. During your extended playtime, primarily in your career mode, you will find that how you play the game, answer interviews, and make decisions will actually affect how the commentary plays out during various matches. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg may comment on how you've fought in past fights, particularly if you use a specific move to take opponents out. This commentary may take place during an actual match or during a pre-fight build up. It is very neat and once you hear how "The Game is Watching You" technology plays its part you will no doubt be satisfied with the level of detail and the amount of work it took to nail down all the audio found in Undisputed 2010.
Undisputed 2010 brings many changes to the forefront that arguably change up the gameplay to make this a much improved game over the 2009 edition, which in itself was a very solid entry. From the presentation to the various gameplay modes, it is pretty impressive that THQ and Yukes were able to take an already solid game and make it even better. I have to admit that I have to limit myself on what I am going to say here, and even though you'll find a lot here, I could have done even more, but you'd have to read heck of a lot of text.
First off I have to talk about how this game controls. There is no doubt that this is one of the deepest fighters that I have ever played. Undisputed 2010 provides an in-game tutorial mode and I highly recommend you take the time to play through it. Given that the sport of MMA is so deep and there are so many different moves and abilities that real life fighter's employ, the tutorial is a must given that the real world of MMA is transferred over to the virtual world using your console's controller. From standing strikes, ground strikes, grappling, to submission battles, if it is found in the octagon then you will find it here in Undisputed 2010. I was amazed how long the tutorial took, but it was time well spent given how you learn everything the game has to offer. Bottomline, take the time to go through the tutorial as you will get so much more out of this game which in turn increases the enjoyment level that much more.
Undispted 2010 offers quite a selection of gameplay modes. Of course you will find yourself totally immersed in the Career Mode where you enter the Create-a-Fighter (CAF) mode. As I mentioned in my preview, fans will notice that they can truly make a fighter that looks the way they want him too look. Tattoos and logos can be placed anywhere this time around and there are more names (100 first and 100 last names) for you to choose from. There are also more custom introductions and celebrations allowing you to have a personalized look as your custom fighter enters the ring or celebrates a knockdown. There are also 50% more Create-a-Fighter parts for more customization of your fighter, as well as new sponsors and post fight clothing. Overall you can make a UFC fighter that looks like you, or you can make one that looks like anyone else you can think of. There is a lot more flexibility in the ability to create what you want this time around.
Emulating the life of a UFC fighter is the name of the game in Undisputed 2010, and THQ has made some great additions to complete this task. Last year you were basically limited to two fighting disciplines. Well this year there is a lot more. It is amazing how many fighting disciplines are included in the game. I consider myself a causal UFC fan, but as I took a look at all the disciplines that are available in the game, along with all the moves that are associated with each, I was pretty much floored with the never ending lists. I should also note that you are not limited to any one specific discipline either, as you can mix and match moves from each one. This allows you to truly pick a fighting style that you can enjoy, as well as pull off moves that you find more to your liking.
After you make your fighter it is off to your career you go. You will find that THQ did not sit on their laurels here either. The 2009 version of Undisputed had a career mode that lasted 7 years; well this has been expanded to 12 years for the 2010 version. During your career your fighter's skills and attributes will be affected by age using an all new Stat Decay System. You have to maintain your characters stats in order to keep them up. Also new this time around is that you start our as an amateur fighter before you start your professional career. You can compete in up to five fights prior to joining the pro-ranks. Once you are in the pro-ranks you will fight in the World Fighting Alliance (WFA) where you will try to attract the attention of the UFC by winning as many fights as possible.
Something new this year is how popularity and CRED levels affect your fighter during your rise to UFC stardom. Popularity dictates the unlocking of sponsors in Undisputed 2010 (as opposed to CRED last year). You earn popularity by winning fights or by participating in media type events (e.g. interviews or press workouts). If anyone played the 2009 version of Undisputed you will remember that you had to wait until the end of your career before opening up the really great sponsor stuff; well this time around you can unlock these types of items much earlier. CRED returns this year, but its main focus is on your fighter's progression based on items like sparring partners and training programs which improves your skills and attributes. The more CRED you have the more points you will earn towards your progression of skills and/or attributes that, unlike last year, you decide on where to focus them and not have the game do the assigning.
The calendar system employed in last years game makes a return as well; however it does so with some much needed changes and additions. You really do have to manage what you do, and when you do it. Managing your fighter as he progresses through the weeks between a fight is very important. From training, sparring, to when to rest, you get to choose and when to do these things within the weeks leading up to your next fight. Of course should you want some assistance you can consult your trainer who can offer up some advice on what you may or may not need to do next. Bottomline, you will have to keep an eye on all your fighters stats in an effort not only to keep them from deteriorating, but in an effort to develop them to the point where your fighter can compete amongst the best the UFC has to offer.
Another new dynamic that has been added to Undisputed 2010 is interviews and your relationships with other fighters. In terms of the interviews, you control how you are perceived as you talk to either Rachelle Leah (pre-fight) or Joe Rogan (post-fight). As you are interviewed you will be given a choice of style of response, from respectful, disrespectful, or generic. These interviews will affect your popularity with the fans. Of course you will also generate relationships with other fighters, and this is determined by which fighters you train with and which camps you attend. What is interesting with these areas is that you again are in charge of your own destiny and you choose the path that your fighter will take.
Finally, given the fact that there is so many different fighting styles and disciplines offered in Undisputed 2010, there is now a new Dynamic Combo System. Last years game allowed you to combine attacks, but this year you can combine any kind of move such as sways, attacks, blocks, etc., and all these moves will flow into one another. As I learned new moves from the "Invite Camp" selection of the career mode I started to incorporate them into those that I already had a general knowledge of. As a fight progressed on the screen in front of me I was pretty amazed by how good the fighting looked, and how fluidly I could string so many different things together. It gave the game a sense of realism as you know that real UFC fighters string together all kinds of moves on the fly when involved in a heated battle in the octagon.
The Career and CAF modes are very rich, very involved, and very satisfying. You'll find that there is a lot to do and the time you spend playing here will really take up a large part of your Undisputed 2010 time. Taking your created character from the amateur ranks to the championship fight and beyond has never been more satisfying. Given the time that you will have to spend playing in the Career Mode to win a championship belt, is not something you'll do overnight. It will take time, effort, and commitment, just like real UFC fighters have to do to reach the top.
Of course there is more offered then just the Career and CAF modes. THQ has improved the UFC Undisputed franchise by adding more to do.
Exhibition Mode returns, and this is self explanatory. This mode allows for any UFC fan to get a quick fix by choosing from the 100 or so real life fighters and pitting them against each other in a single player or multiplayer match. If you desire you can take a created fighter into this mode as well to see how well you can do against the UFC pros.
New to Undisputed 2010 is the Title Mode. This is best described as a middle ground between Exhibition Mode and Career Mode. Here you get to experience a compressed path to a championship belt well still feeling like you are going through a Career Mode play-through. Basically you complete in a ladder of randomly chosen fighters within your weight class in your fight for the UFC belt (8,10, or 12 fighters). If you eventually lose a match you can choose to rematch the opponent immediately without penalty. Completing the Title Mode opens up Title Defense Mode.
Title Defense Mode has you defending your title belt as you fight in championship caliber matches back-to-back over a period of time. They all take place in championship venues and are 5-round fights. I have to note that the opponent AI ramps up quite quickly and it only takes one loss to end this mode. Successfully defending your title 12 times completes this mode. Here you have to manage your fighters "condition" as each fight takes a physical toll. You are awarded a set % bonus to each body part's health. The more abuse you take over the number of fights you get through the more 'worn' the body becomes. If you manage your health, and get time to heal, you'll stand a better chance go into your next fight in a healthier state.
Tournament Mode allows you to compete in a bracketed, single elimination mode that can accommodate 1 to 16 players battling it out in a 4, 8, or 16 man tournament. This is the most 'social' mode of the game given that you and a group of friends can sit down and fight it out to see who is the best of the best so to speak. You can even have the CPU take up the slack if you don't have enough players to make up the full bracket.
Another new and exciting addition to Undisputed 2010 is the Event Mode. Here you can set-up your own Pay Per View or Fight Night event. You have the control of setting up the various matches and venue for your event. An added bonus here is that you can also download events based on real world UFC events through Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network. During the Event Mode each event is presented like an actual UFC broadcast right down to the pre-event banter of Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. I for one was impressed by the post-fight recap and replays of the nights big moments. When you choose to play from the cards offered over Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network the results are actually recorded and tracked for use on UFC.com, Undisputed.com and even some broadcasts of actual UFC Events. At the time of the completion of this review nothing in this mode had gone live online (Xbox LIVE or PSN) but knowing this was coming is very exciting indeed. In many ways this mode is a tribute to the die hard UFC fans who have always wanted to simulate or set up their own UFC events and it is something I think THQ was smart to have included.
Finally, Classic Fight Modes returns but in the form of Ultimate Fights Mode. Here you can relive past fights from the UFC's history. Should you manage to relive the fight and meet specific objectives you are rewarded with content associated with the specific fight. New to this mode this year is the chance "to play as the spoiler", or in simple terms, win as the fighter who actually lost the match in real life. It is your chance to re-write UFC history so to speak. For those who own a PS3 there are exclusive matches for your system including UFN 18 - Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann, UFC 66 - Keith Jardin vs. Forrest Griffin and UFC 102 -Nate Marquardt vs. Damian Maia to name a few. This mode really does seemed geared for the hardcore UFC fan who has been following the sport for a long, long time.
Of course you can take Undisputed online as well for a little multiplayer mayhem that extends out of the confines of your own gaming room. Most of your time will be spent fighting exhibition matches (Ranked or Regular) over Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network. As I mentioned earlier on in this review, I received my copies of the game prior to it's retail release, so needless to say that there were very few players online. I thank my lucky stars for this fact as I could play and stand a chance even though I was just learning the nuances of the gameplay. I assume there are going to be some pretty good people online though as the UFC community is a very dedicated group who love their UFC fighters.
One of the bigger, and definitely hyped up, new features of Undisputed 2010 is Online Fight Camps. Here you can create an online fight camp and then invite your friends who also own Undisputed 2010 to join. The best way to describe it is that these Online Fight Camps act like a clan so to speak. Once a fight camp is started you create a camp name, camp logo and camp banner. Within the camp there is a pecking order where certain people will be in control of camp features or camp activities. You can even participate with other 'camp members' in various activities to take advantage of what they are doing. Of course there are Camp Leaderboards as well which help to see who is the better camp out there. There are also milestones that are Online Fight Camp specific, and these actually are ways to see how your camp compares to the other camps out there. This aspect of the game is really interesting and I think that the true UFC fan will get a lot out of this as not only does this add to the feel of the game, but it also adds to the competitiveness of such. It is a feature that rewards those who take the time to participate. Again, given the earliness of the playtime for my review, not a lot was out there the land of each console's respective online services.
I think it is noteworthy to let all you know that you will have to redeem a one time use code found inside Undisputed 2010's instruction manual to access the online features mentioned in this review, as well as any possible roster updates or DLC. For those that find this familiar, this is very similar to EA's announcement of their Online Pass. Given that this code is a one time use only, those who end up buying this game used will have to purchase the right to use the game online for a very minimal fee.
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