UFC 2009 Undisputed
So far this generation, UFC fans have been left in the dark. It’s been five years since Sudden Impact, the last title to depict the brutally compelling sport, as THQ turn up with their fists fully clenched and ready to get on with business. It’s a huge surprise that we haven’t seen a UFC game in so long, as the publisher’s other man-on-man sweat ‘em up has been slammed onto shelves every year with the grace of a seven foot monster hurling another juggernaut face first into the canvas. Luckily, it’s clear that THQ has been spending their time wisely, crafting a product that’ll not only knock the sport’s fans forcefully to the mat, it’ll send everyone else down with a rippling of the cheek and a splattering of claret.
It’s fair to say that the UFC is one of the most physically demanding, deceivably complex sports, made up with some of the best mixed martial arts fighters in the world; something that developers Yuke’s are keen to replicate. For anyone who understands the abundance of terms in the various disciplines of MMA, this is still a tough game to pick up and play with immediately effective results. As the title first prompts you, we wholeheartedly recommend spending a decent amount of time learning the techniques needed to send legs quivering and necks reclining with what becomes an entirely useful tutorial. Covering all aspects of the sport, from groundwork to outlandish striking moves, it won’t be a surprise if you have to revisit the coaching set-up, as it’s almost impossible to fully understand and digest the many intricacies of the MMA action on offer in one sitting.
For most, the initial drawing point of the game will be the career mode that pits you as an up and coming fighter wanting to make a name for himself. After an initial briefing and qualification brawl in front of UFC President Dana White, you’ll be ready to start your ascent up the rankings and into the position to gain a title fight. With the large majority of your career taking place training – by either sparring against a versatile coach (who tries to replicate the offensive style of your next opponent), or by increasing either your strength, speed or cardio – you have great influence over how your fighter will shape up. Although there aren’t any training mini-games like in EA’s Fight Night series, you’ll witness differences from your fighter even if his stats are tweaked slightly in the opposite direction to before. It’s a shame that apart from sparring, which is the same as a ‘proper’ fight but with loose objectives to follow, there isn’t any other interactive way if improving your brawler. You will receive invites from other UFC camps to try and pick up some new techniques, but this only comes by performing certain moves within a time limit. The lack of invention in this part sadly underlines the main problem with Undisputed’s career mode, as you’ll quickly tire from repetition and the sheer blandness of trawling through the ultra slow menu system just to get to an actual UFC event.
When the action does begin, the graphical brilliance and prowess of the title shines through. You can expect to have to defend as much as you attack, as your foe will not want to be nursing a horrific loss, even on the easier difficulties. You’ll need to have super-fast reflexes in order to sprawl against an incoming takedown, and then the knowledge and execution to turn the situation into your favour. Although brutally realistic and often frustrating, there is a great sense of reward when you do something correctly. Landing a huge uppercut to the face, knocking your opponent to the ground with a cheer of the crowd will have you sadistically licking your lips with the bloodlust that follows. If you’ve knocked your opponent down without forcing them into unconsciousness, expect to pounce on the flailing corpse with a flurry of face-altering hooks until the referee stands in and declares you the winner. The damage to your opponent is brilliantly highlighted, as blood drips from their face onto their chest and remains there for the rest of the bout. Bruises, cuts and even the ‘gassed’ state are all so apparent that there is no need to have the stamina meters on (which is an option), as you can tell exactly how both fighters are feeling simply by the detail and extent of their damage.
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