Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is on the uprise when it comes to popularity and public opinion. It’s not a sport filled with wrestling rejects, but a sport that involves athletes with special training beating the hell out of one another. THQ and the UFC noticed the rising popularity for the sport and delivered their first installment of UFC Undisputed last year. After making a good debut, THQ makes its return to the octagon and makes a few well needed adjustments in UFC Undisputed 2010.
Career Mode will probably be the mode you play most and seems to be the mode that THQ focused on the most. The focus of Career Mode is to take your created character up the ranks of the sport, eventually leading to the UFC, a title shot, and the hall of fame. The first step is creating your fighter; the creation process is pretty deep, allowing to choose various physical and facial features, your stance and fighting style. You also must choose one of the several stereotypical macho voices for your character, which he’ll be using for post-fight interviews. Once you’re set, it’s time to hit the gym and train for several weeks before a fight. You’ll be able to visit numerous fight camps and learn new moves. Or work on your fighters strength, speed, or cardio; all of which are done manually after selecting which you want to work on. You can also have sparring sessions which will award you points that can be spent on your fighters stats. Training your fighter will become a bore and more of a chore, making the career mode only gratifying when you step inside the octagon.
UFC Undisputed 2010 has more to offer than just a Career mode. The fight continues in several other modes like Tournament Mode, Title Defense, and Event Mode. Tournament and Title Defense are pretty much just survival games, the objective is to just win. Event Mode was actually a standout mode for me, it allows you to create or download a UFC event. For example, UFC 114 which was this past Saturday, I was able to download the entire match card and play it much like a real PPV event with the Spartan soldier intro and the pre-show interviews. If that isn’t enough then the online world awaits your entrance to the octagon. As you may already know, if you bought UFC Undisputed 2010 used, you’ll have a $5 dollar entry fee to access the online component of the game. I received my copy new and having played online I can say it isn’t worth it. With no more than simple ranked or unranked exhibition matches, there’s really nothing deep about the multiplayer. Not to mention the connection errors you’ll deal with and the lag during the fights.
You’ll notice only a few changes to the gameplay in UFC Undisputed 2010. The new “sway” system allows you to sway away from your opponents punches. Holding the right-bumper (or L1) and flicking the left thumbstick you can sway away from incoming punches and deliver a counter of your own. Also new to the gameplay is the ability to put your opponent up against the cage allowing you to deliver some great Muay Thai knees to gut. I did have trouble getting the opponent into that predicament, after I got into the clinch with him it seemed impossible to move him. Playing UFC Undisputed 2010 I realized what Kimbo Slice did at UFC 113, punching might get you a few wins but it isn’t everything. A gamer unfamiliar with MMA or the UFC can pick this game up and play it somewhat like a boxing game, but it does take skill, training, and dedication to be a good player. Easy for all, but a deep robust hardcore game to the core.
One of the sure things that THQ should capitalize on is the presentation and they do with only a few minor flaws. Fights are presented in the exact same way they are when watching the UFC. You’ll get the tale of the tape, followed by the fight introduction from the veteran voice of the octagon, Bruce Buffer. His performance is well done but doesn’t mirror what we hear through our TV sets, it lack some zen. You can also expect to hear Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan on commentary. Now I ask the question: Can commentary even be done properly? UFC Undisputed 2010 does a decent job in the commentary but it too becomes a serious annoyance. You’ll hear several repeated lines during the fight like, “He’s really hurt here Mike.” Not only will you hear that in every fight but who is really hurt? Me or the opponent?
With more than 100 fighters included in this game, I’m surprised by how life like most of the fighters look. Not picture perfect exactly, but you won’t have to guess who you’re looking at if you already know the particular fighter. I did see a few clipping issues while in a clinch with someone or on the ground. Its not major but you can’t help notice it either. Like I mentioned before the sound is so-so. The commentary is annoying but at least THQ did away with the theme music during menus and added a more UFC inspired musical instrumentals.
THQ comes out of their second trip from the octagon with the win. A very close win. UFC Undisputed 2010 made some nice additions to the game and I look forward to seeing how the game grows. But with THQ making a UFC game annually I fear for the quality of the game as the years pass. So to all UFC I say, get it while it’s hot.