If you have been following us the last few months you know there has been pretty extensive coverage of the followup to last year’s surprise hit UFC Undisputed. This year, UFC Undisputed 2010 takes the building blocks laid down before it and improves upon them for a stronger fighting experience. This year’s release added extra emphasis to the customizability of characters and their fighting styles along with deeper online play.
Realizing the value of online communities in sports games such as Madden, Yuke’s Osaka and THQ made sure to try and support the fanbase the original title already had while adding more features in an effort to establish UFC Undisputed as a yearly franchise.
Much like last year, and as traditional in quality fighting games, gameplay is the strongest feature this title has. The button layout is incredibly intuitive with each of the four face buttons representing a left or right punch or kick. These can be modified using the left bumper and trigger while the right control stick is used for holds, takedowns and submissions. The right bumper and trigger provide blocks.
Easy enough right? This is where UFC Undisputed 2010 takes a drastic (but positive) turn away from traditional fighting mechanics. While it is simple to learn the layout and execute moves, it is incredibly challenging and rewarding for a player to master the different techniques and styles available to them.
In addition to last year’s fighting styles, the game also added Karate, Greco-Roman Wrestling and Sambo. With the new levels of fighter customizability, no two fighters should ever be alike as each player has different move sets to work with.
Speaking of customization, the system for fighter creation has also changed. Instead of focusing on specific styles, players can decide to train their fighter one move at a time to create their own ultimate moveset. If a player wants a Muay Tai striking strategy combined with various Sambo takedowns, they can do that in career mode by bringing their created fighter to various fight camps to learn from the pros.
To increase levels of realism in the game, the cage itself is now a viable strategy in the match. Movesets change as fighters become pressed against it and mobility is reduced for the fighter caught between the rock and the hard place. TKO finishes from cuts and injuries have also been put into the game to allow for more authentic finishes to UFC’s real life fights as well.
That’s not to say the game is perfect either. Submissions still are a tricky area of the game. Unlike the Flash Knockouts which are to be expected in a game such as this with no health bars and add excitement, submissions being applied by the computer can often lead to almost certain and immediate defeat.
UFC Undisputed 2010’s career mode is fairly basic for this style of game. Because players take on the role of an unknown which a generic fighter personality, there isn’t much in the way of character development. Fighter’s attitudes resemble that of a member of the Jersey Shore cast with a bland “I’m gonna kick your ass” attitude with no other layers about them.
The only real personality given in the game is that of Dana White, UFC’s president. During your character’s progress through the ranks of the WFA up to UFC and its pay-per-views, Dana meets with your character and trainer, showing his enthusiasm for the business and the connection he makes with his athletes.
One of the most annoying features in the game comes from the PR fighters are asked to participate in. Instead of having an email system players can choose to check, each week when a new message comes in, they are forced to read it. This wouldn’t be bad if it wasn’t for the annoying interview requests constantly sent to the player that only add to their popularity and not their skills which they are pushing to increase further before each fight.
Character progression during career mode is also a little unclear at times. Training is never fully detailed or given a tutorial. This lead to an initial playthrough with gimped stat increases because the proper method for character improvement was never laid out for the player.
Much like its predecessor, UFC Undisputed 2010 is visually impressive. Each of the game’s over 100 fighters looks like who they are supposed to in uncanny realism. The facial deformation and bruising add further realism to the appearances of the battered and bruised fighters as the rounds pass by.
Still impressive to the game’s visuals is how all contact means something. Unlike various other fighting game’s over even WWE’s SmackDown vs. Raw series, moves do not cancel each other out if contact is made. The game offers full collision detection so that both fighters receive damage from simultaneous attacks.
Visually, the game’s only weakness comes from the blood animation. Looking authentic while coming from cuts on player models, immersion can quickly be broken seeing the blood fly out of a fighter’s mouth or off their head from a hit as it ends up looking like that of a ten year old Mortal Kombat animation.
Sound design is very interesting in UFC Undisputed 2010 as it can either drastically add to the experience or leaves certain parts feeling incomplete. The impact sound effects are awesome. Listening to a fight feels authentic to the actual televised experience along with the announcing from UFC announcers.
When coming up through career mode however, fights in the WFA feel empty with no announcer speaking over them and no music playing in the background. The crowd noise isn’t enough to compensate which leaves a very unfinished feel to that section of the game.
UFC Undisputed 2010 is a strong showing from a publisher that has made its name on the wrestling and fighting genres. The game feels like a much more polished version of the previous incarnation and has the potential to continue growing. Will it be enough for a yearly franchise though is the question.
Unlike WWE with its frequent roster changes and drastic trades made in the NFL, UFC doesn’t have a huge and every changing roster of fighters. It begs the question if these extra fighters each year could be brought in instead as downloadable content.
Regardless, UFC Undisputed 2010 does what it came to do and brings an authentic UFC feel to the home gaming console. If you are a UFC fan already, this game will not disappoint. Enjoying traditional fighting games such as Marvel vs. Capcom or the Street Fighter series, UFC Undisputed 2010 will offer a very different but still enjoyable and addictive experience.