Review – UFC: Undisputed
The Chuck Liddell Simulator hits the 360 (and KILLS IT).
Mixed marital arts (MMA) is getting more and more popular by the day and it’s all thanks to the fighting promotion that made it all happen in the first place, the UFC. This is due to a media unsought of sorts ranging from reality TV shows to charismatic characters like Chuck Liddell and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Hell, even ex-WWE stars are getting in on the act now and the last time I checked Brock Lesnar was the heavyweight champion!
So with that said, not since the first UFC game that hit the Sega Dreamcast has there been a compelling MMA game although THQ and Yukes hope to change that with UFC ’09. So has the fastest rising sport just got itself a fast rising star of the franchise in the video gaming industry? Well considering this is THQ’s first attempt things are looking very promising indeed.
First of all I would like to point out the controls, not since the original Dreamcast game have I been so comfortable throwing haymakers and applying triangle holds in the steel octagon. While the fighters are on their feet, the gameplay is very easy to grasp and plays like a standard realistic 3D fighter (stamina is in effect and no fireballs or dragon punches I am afraid!). When the fighters are lying on the ground, that’s where players not familiar to the sport will probably struggle with the game.
The ground game is involves heavy use of the right analogue stick. Of course you can just pummel the guy on the ground. If you are on the receiving end you are going to have to learn how to change position properly and learn when to block and counter. Without practice this can be daunting and especially when the game is telling you to do this in a training session to improve your character stats but you can’t because you don’t know your â€œFull Guardâ€ from your â€œNorth Southâ€.
That said if you get to grips with the controls, which most people will eventually if they have played games like EA’s Fight Night, then you are in for one atmospheric and brutal MMA treat. The presentation in general especially the animation of the fighters rolling around on the floor seamlessly to massive right hooks that send a guy reeling you do feel like you are actually taking part in a proper MMA fight and is fun to play especially with a mate who also understands the game.
Since most fighting games are best played with another human opponent why is it that the online functionality of UFC ’09 is about a smooth as sand paper and about as painful to experience as rubbing said sand paper up against your face for a full five minutes. OK THQ obviously had plans for this mode as the game has dedicated half of the games gamerscore on ranked matches.
With all the WWE games THQ have published, I was not looking forward to reviewing this. I have not enjoyed many of them and in my honest opinion the last five years of sequels have not impressed. For example, the character models do not ever seem to move around on the canvas properly, they look like Michael Jackson doing the Moon Walk. So my thoughts have not been overly positive.
Was I ever surprised. The graphics are extremely photo realistic. The sweat and blood sprays realistically, blood stains the mat and if cut severely enough, blood drips on to the bodies of the fighters in a very authentic way.
The body damage amazed me. Real-time body damage and stamina level is shown on the fighter when your fighter is tired he will breathe heavily, and will move more sluggishly, if he has been kicked in the legs repeatedly he will start limping. This greatly affects how the fight will play out as you wont be able to move around the octagon as fast as your opponent which could end in disaster.
If I am to be critical of the game, the career mode left me wanting. I will have to point out the lack of customisable intros before the fights, no training mini games, no fighter rivalries or personalities, quite a bland UI and a disappointing feeling of it just filling the space between fights. However, having a game engine that allows for spectacular fights like it does, this game shouldn’t be rated unfairly.
The Exhibition mode is where the game hits its stride. All UFC fighters are available from the get go and allow for some interesting match ups. The games I have played were tough and required a lot of strategy. This game requires you to think, button bashers need not apply.
(Full review at ‘Righteous Reviews‘)
Secondary Score: 9/10
The games are so laggy that they are unplayable, in fact if you are not the host and you are playing a ranked match then make it easy for yourself and just walk away from the controller because you are going to lose. This is just awful considering how damn fun the game is to play otherwise. Seriously I don’t mind a company giving half of a game’s gamescore to ranked online play but if it’s massively broken, like it is at the time of writing this, then you have a game that you will never be able to max out due to crappy net code, WEAK!
That said the single player does fair better. Much better. There is a mode were you re-enact classic UFC fights which is pretty fun and the career mode is awesome if you like that sort of thing but I warn you it can get repetitive after a while. I must also point out that the career mode is only seven years long and considering you get roughly ten fights in a year then you are looking at seventy fights in total. Probably less actually depending on the spacing between matches, it’s not an exact science
The create a fighter is actually pretty good but then again these is coming from the company that craps out WWE wrestling games every year. That said while you do get a lot of detail to mess around with you won’t be able to create anything truly wacky because this is the UFC, it’s serious business don’t you know. Oh yeah and I also don’t like the fact that all created wrestlers have to be the same weight in any particular weight class. Maybe it was just me but I wanted to create a real fat arse or stick man but could not due to restrictions on a fighter editor which is a shame.
That said UFC ’09 is a really, really good game if you are the type of person who really like MMA and is looking for the most realistic MMA experience around but is the best MMA game ever? No, sorry that title still belongs to the much faster, easier to understand, older brother on the Dreamcast but that’s my preference of accessibility of realism. That said while there are some notable faults with this title it’s still a very good start from THQ and Yukes just don’t go buying this thinking that you’ll get a good online sessions any time soon.