This time last year, I knew nothing about Mixed Martial Arts. The sport was as alien to me as Olympic curling or picking up women. Thankfully, my new job at the time put me in close proximity with an MMA nut. He simply couldn’t get enough of the sport, and, after viewing just a single UFC tournament, I too was drawn into the brutal ballet of Mixed Martial Arts.
UFC Undisputed 2009 was our first chance as gamers to experience the violent thrill ride of an MMA melee. And while it had its flaws, it was by and large considered a success. A year has passed since then, and both developer and publisher have had the chance to listen to feedback and fine-tune their product. Is UFC Undisputed 2010 the ultimate fighting game we’ve been waiting for?
First of all, I must applaud developer Yuke’s on their willingness to tweak the fighting system. In UFC 2009, the tutorial was not only convoluted, but also difficult to complete. Needless to say this made for a torrid first few fights, more often than not ending in the destruction of your character’s face. UFC 2010 gives players a much more streamlined approach to learning the basics while still providing a thorough analysis of the fighting mechanics. Casual gamers are not likely to glean too much from a quick game of UFC 2010, as it takes skill and patience to master the moves. But for those intent on becoming the ultimate fighter, you can settle in for a half-hour tutorial session that will set you up for the rest of your UFC career.
Thanks to the control changes, players are now able to get much more out of the game. Depending on what weight division your fighter fits into, you will be able to customize your attack/defense styles to suit. Heavyweight fighters can finish fights quicker standing up, while light and welterweight classes rely more on grapple tactics and submissions. The stark difference in MMA fighting styles allows UFC 2010 to bypass the boredom factor synonymous with standard boxing titles, and instead gives gamers numerous different ways to play out matches.
Players are given a wide variety of modes to enjoy from the outset, so whether you are looking to jump straight into a heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, or prefer to create your own fighter and compete for the championship belt, you can do it. Classic Fights, Title Mode, and Title Defense Mode are added extras that will undoubtedly entertain, even after your UFC career is at an end.
In addition to the vastly improved controls, the game also offers several new inclusions that help to flesh out the experience. Career mode has been revamped to include the World Fighting Alliance, where you will hone your craft until you are deemed worthy of promotion into the higher echelons of MMA fighting. Finishing moves have been expanded upon, as have TKO finishes, and the addition of Karate, Sambo, and Greco-Roman Wrestling styles are welcome newcomers.
As you progress through Career mode, sponsors will offer your fighter free gear in order to collect extra points at the completion of a fight. While training and sparring haven’t been greatly improved upon, there are a wealth of new sponsors at your disposal, adding to the realistic feel of career progression. A few new Octagons have also been added for UFC 2010, with GM Place, The 02 (London), and Centre Bell all available to host your next Main Event clash.
UFC Undisputed 2010 multiplayer has been something of an elephant in the room since it was announced that players would need a unique keycode to unlock online play. I can understand THQ’s intention to allay the fiscal losses of pre-owned gaming with unique keycodes, but it adds a level of frustration that is entirely unnecessary. Gamers who buy UFC 2010 brand new will receive a code that they can use to unlock online play. Sounds fair enough, but it means that anyone who buys the game second-hand, hires it, or takes it to a friend’s house to play won’t be able to access its stellar online capabilities.
While the vast majority won’t have a problem with the keycode issue right now, in a few months when UFC 2010 trade-ins become more and more popular, I suspect we will see a lot more hatred directed at THQ for their, arguably, over-the-top decision.
Moving away from that hot topic, the online play itself is brilliant. There are a number of different modes and tournaments that you can compete in, and the game automatically matches you with a fighter of the same or similar ability. Like any fighting game, you’ll need practice if you want to survive in the Octagon. Real players provide a unique challenge that AI simply cannot match, and with so many gamers already masters of last year’s release, you can be assured that you’ll have your ass handed to you more than a few times.
UFC Undisputed 2010 is a beautiful, more enjoyable, and altogether better game than its older brother. For the MMA fan – or any lover of fighting games, for that matter – there is so much on offer here, it’s simply impossible to bypass. After only two seasons of UFC releases, Undisputed is setting itself up to be one of the best video game sports franchises for a long, long time.
The fighters look more realistic than last year, and the inclusion of new venues allows each match to feel unique. Blood, sweat, and tears: this game provides stellar entertainment in HD.
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The fighting system has been tweaked to perfection; any gamer with a little patience can now become a master of the Octagon.
While the wailing guitars can become grating after a solid 5-hour session, the sound effects, crowds, and even voice acting all combine to create an unforgettable aural experience.
Keycode restrictions will frustrate some gamers, but both career mode and online play provide hours upon hours of UFC entertainment.
The best MMA game to date. Fans of the fighting genre should jump on UFC Undisputed 2010 with both hands and never let go. The fighting system has been perfected, while entertainment value soars with increased options. Such a brilliant game bodes well for the future of the franchise.