UFC 2009 Undisputed

UFC 2009 Undisputed Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3

THQ's first licensed game from the MMA sport.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is closing in on you at frightening speed. Sweat is dripping over his heavily-tattooed muscles. He wants to hurt you - perhaps by bending one of your arms the wrong way, or more likely by simply hitting you in the head until you stop moving. Your face is already puffed and swelling from the vicious beating Mr Rampage gave you in the last round. This time he's going to shut you down for good.

But you're ready. As Jackson steps into range, you unleash a vicious kick to the left side of his head. He staggers. You hit him again, this time using your other foot to deliver an unstoppable roundhouse. Your heel connects with Jackson's skull, and consciousness departs. A plastic mouthguard flies across the octagon as the big man falls, toppling like a felled tree. You've just become the light heavyweight champion of the UFC - the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

When it comes to UFC Undisputed, the question to ask yourself is this: "Do I like kicking people in the head?" If your answer is yes (with regards to video games, obviously) then you should probably take a look. Among other things, Undisputed is one of the best head-kicking simulators I've ever played. Often 3D fighting games will struggle to convey the cause-and-effect brutality of what happens when one man hits another, but here every blow feels weighty and solid. Whether it's a rising knee, an arching kick or a fierce elbow to the face, you'll feel the impact of every strike you give or take.

Let's back up a bit. The UFC is a mixed martial arts organisation that attracts fighters from a range of disciplines. A UFC fight will generally consist of either three or five rounds, each lasting five minutes, with the winner determined by a knockout, a submission (forcing your opponent to quit) or by judges' decision. Due to the varied nature of the sport and its participants, any two matches may be remarkably different. Some fighters choose to focus on boxing and standing combat styles, while others attempt to defeat their opponent via Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and martial arts that focus on chokes and holds. In practice, most successful fighters have a mix of styles, since you'll never really know how an opponent may approach you.

Combat variation sets the game apart from other brawlers

Combat variation sets the game apart from other brawlers

Undisputed's success in mimicking this versatility is arguably its greatest strength. Whether you're using one of the 80-odd UFC stars or a character of your own design, you'll ultimately have to learn to how to fight in several different stances and situations. Each fighter is trained in two disciplines - one based around striking (boxing, kickboxing and muay thai), the other focused on grappling (wrestling, Judo and BJJ). Most gamers will find the first set of styles the easier to pick up and use, since their controls closely resemble most boxing games on the market. The face buttons govern attacks with your left and right hands and feet, while the shoulder bumpers and triggers are used for blocking and for modifying your strikes. Most moves will combo together easily, but you'll require smart timing and a range of tactics to slip past your opponent's guard.

So far so straightforward, but things get a bit more complicated once you end up on the floor. Whether you deliberately tackle a rival with a takedown or simply get knocked to the floor, you'll eventually find yourself sprawled on the canvas with your limbs wrapped around the other fighter. There are around 20 different positions you might find yourself in, and they all have their own opportunities and risks. As a general rule, the idea is to get yourself into an offensive position and then either knock your opponent out or bend their arm/leg/neck in a way that makes them submit. A move that takes you from one position to another is known as a transition; by making quarter circle or 120 degree motions with the right stick, you can attempt a minor or major transition to a better setup. By clicking the right stick in, you can try for either a submission move (if you're on the attack) or a reversal (if you're defending and trying to escape).

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gkramez's Avatar

gkramez

No review of UFC Undisputed would be complete without mention of the one damning characteristic of Xbox Live play. Disconnect during online play are not penalized. Instead, they result in both the player who disconnected and the player they were facing receiving a DNF. At lower levels of online play, the problem is not readily apparent, but the higher your opponent's level the higher the probability that they will disconnect as soon as they are knocked our or submitted. When 7/10 people one beats disconnect, one quickly tires of ranked online play. As this should be a major source of replayability, the value of the game is severely affected.
Posted 09:36 on 02 June 2009
Rogue_Soul's Avatar

Rogue_Soul@ antard

Quote:
Originally Posted by antard
UFC (short for Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a brand that seems tailor-made for gaming. It's got all of the fanfare of pro wrestling together with some seriously no-nonsense action; a huge international following; and the Beat 'Em Up genre is positively crying out for something new and interesting right now (even Street Fighter IV can only do so much on its own)....

You could at least credit the original source for that, Antard...

http://www.game.co.uk/lowdown.aspx?l...2009-_-preview
Posted 14:53 on 16 May 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ _MICHAEL_

You could say the same thing about FPS games, Michael. "Throw a bunch of guys into a space, someone wins." Or pretty much any genre you care to name. What gives fighters legs is the depth offered to the players. For example, you might think that Ryu is the same as Ken is the same as Akuma. Whereas I think that Ryu demands a more defensive approach, Ken requires you to control space, and Akuma simply can not take hits and demands all out attack. UFC games actually require a great deal of strategy from the player, as simply attacking your opponent without thought usually means you lose.
Posted 13:55 on 16 May 2009
antard's Avatar

antard

UFC (short for Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a brand that seems tailor-made for gaming. It's got all of the fanfare of pro wrestling together with some seriously no-nonsense action; a huge international following; and the Beat 'Em Up genre is positively crying out for something new and interesting right now (even Street Fighter IV can only do so much on its own). But, for whatever reason, no-one has really been able to fully capture the explosiveness and variety of UFC's signature Mixed Martial Arts battles – until, possibly, now.
Blown away

UFC 2009 Undisputed isn't the first UFC title in the history of gaming, but it is the first in a good few years, and by all accounts it's going to blow its predecessors away. Having said that, to begin with at least, it isn't the most pick-up-and-play fighter we've ever come across.

They take some getting used to, but UFC 2009 Undisputed's controls should make for the most comprehensive MMA experience ever.

Unlike most fighting games, the controls in UFC 2009 Undisputed are really quite complex, boiling down to two distinct ways of fighting. Standing is easy enough: movement is on the left stick (with faster movement gained by pushing down the stick), the four fascia buttons each make you attack with a different limb, and holding the left trigger makes your strikes stronger, while holding the left bumper initiates special attacks – like leaping roundhouses which make for some spectacular knockouts. Blocking is done with the right trigger for low blocks, and the right bumper for high blocks – meaning you can't just hold down one block button and expect your fighter to be fully defended. In a standing fight, UFC 2009 Undisputed is all about working the openings.

So far, so fighting game – right? Wrong. Just when you start to get that familiar feeling, UFC 2009 Undisputed has your opponent tackle you to the mat – and basically sit on top of you, pounding you senseless until your mouthguard falls out.
Reigning down

A couple of frustrating KOs in, though, and you start to get your head around UFC 2009 Undisputed's analogue stick grappling controls. Flick the right stick and your fighter will try and tackle your rival to the mat – and if they manage that, from there you've a wealth of ways to go. Slight quarter-turns of the right stick move your fighter, and pressing the same stick down executes submission manoeuvres – or, if you manage to get yourself into the potentially match-winning Mount position, you can just reign blows until you render your foe unconscious.

You will have to be wary though – getting into the most advantageous positions on the mat can take several transitions, all of which are vulnerable to being countered and you potentially on the end of a submission yourself. In all, they take some getting used to, but UFC 2009 Undisputed's controls should make for the most comprehensive MMA experience ever.

UFC 2009 Undisputed experts will come to define their own personal strategies based on who they've picked and who they're facing.

The great news for hardcore UFC fans is that UFC 2009 Undisputed doesn't dilute the sport's intricacies in either standing or mat fighting forms. Fighters themselves are lifelike combinations of Boxing, Kick Boxing or Muay Thai for the standing style, and Wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for takedowns – so the in-game fighters feel noticeably the same as their real-life counterparts, and UFC 2009 Undisputed experts will come to define their own personal strategies based on who they've picked and who they're facing. No two fights in UFC 2009 Undisputed should be the same – and needless to say it all looks absolutely immaculate, rendered in full, bonecrunching HD on next-gen systems.
Personalise your pugilist

That bodes well for the many modes in UFC 2009 Undisputed. The complex controls may not make for the most instantly playable post-pub Multiplayer, but online play should be a particularly big draw – while the Career mode, together with its own Create A Fighter option (which THQ are being particularly coy about at the mo), should really let you personalise your pugilist to your favoured forms of fighting.

Non UFC fans meanwhile might also want to keep UFC 2009 Undisputed on their radar if they're at all interested in checking out a different type of fighting game. Like the brand itself excitement for the game seems to be growing, and hope is high that this could make a big impact amidst the usually quiet early summer videogame release period.
Posted 09:22 on 16 May 2009
_MICHAEL_'s Avatar

_MICHAEL_

Meh, a 9 is a little too high in my personal opinion. I'd give it a mid 7. Fighters are essentially all the same. Throw two people in a space, and one can come out the winner. I will say this is the best UFC game to date, but for some reason it still seems like it's missing something... What? I have no idea, but that's just my opinion.
Posted 16:15 on 15 May 2009
thpcplayer's Avatar

thpcplayer

wow wow !!!!!!!!!!!!
22 may hmm not alot to wait just cant wait
Posted 10:46 on 15 May 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

"Do I like kicking people in the head?"

Thats an awesome question. Great review. Probs trade in my finished copy of Wolverine for this.
Posted 10:23 on 15 May 2009

Game Stats

UFC 2009 Undisputed
9
Out of 10
UFC 2009 Undisputed
  • Plenty of variety and depth
  • Meaty, visceral action
  • The first game to "do" UFC properly
  • Character creation could be better
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 22/05/2009
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Yuke's
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Sports
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 1,419 1
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