UFC 2009 Undisputed Preview

The demo for UFC 2009 Undisputed was released to the public last Thursday. In the demo, users can fight as or against Chuck Liddell or Mauricio Rua. The final game is set to be released on May 19.

Those who have played the demo have generally spoken about it in a positive fashion. Having played the demo extensively, I have found a lot in the game to be impressed with myself. However, there are still a few rough parts in the game, which I will address along with the positives in this article.

What’s Hot?

Real Life or Video Game: Unparalleled Graphical Quality

This game looks phenomenal. The fighters have realistic builds, and the faces appear to be spot-on. The animations also add to the graphical fidelity of the game. Seamless transitions, fighting styles and gameplay make everything on screen appear to be very fluid and lifelike. During many instances, the game looks exactly like what you would watch during a real UFC fight on television.

This game is unparalleled when it comes to graphical quality.

Never See the Same Fight Twice: Variation is Key to Longevity

The variation in this game is excellent. In two successive matches, a player may have starkly different results. In one fight with Rua, I managed to knockout Liddell at the beginning of the third round. It was a tough fight, and one in which both Liddell and Rua went down in previous rounds -- only to fight their way back to their feet to continue the match.

In the very next match I played, still controlling Rua, I knocked Liddell out in less than two minutes because the computer did not have a chance to protect its face from Rua’s onslaught. This kind of variation, especially on an easy level of difficulty, is certainly a positive aspect of the demo. It shows that no matter what skill level users have, they will be able to see varied results and intense matches.

The Possibilities Are Endless: Extensive Combo/Action Lists

The first time I played the UFC 2009 Undisputed demo, I glanced at the combo and action lists in the pause menu. They were intimidating to say the least. Numerous different combos for each defensive and offensive position, including different moves for clinches, was overwhelming to me. After a few matches, however, I started trying out some of the different moves, and I realized how deep the fighting system seems to be. While I certainly have not learned all of the different moves and combos available in the game, the possibilities of different combos will likely add a significant amount of longevity to the game once it releases.

What’s Not?

Liddell is Still Dangerous When He Backs Up: Repetitive Commentary

While the commentary certainly sounds authentic in the game, and gives the impression that the player is watching a real UFC match, it also becomes repetitive very quickly. In the demo, I began to hear the same comments about the fighters in just the second or third match that I played. However, this should not be nearly as much of a problem in the retail version of the game considering consumers will have access to numerous other fighters. Still, it is disappointing that a few more lines of dialogue were not recorded for the fighters because it would have added another layer of realism to the experience.

Delayed Reactions: Controls Are Sometimes Unresponsive

Hopefully this is just an isolated incident, but a few times when my friend and I were playing the demo, the controls seemed to take an extra second or two to register in the game. For instance, my friend would hit the "right bumper" on the Xbox 360 controller to attempt to defend his fighter’s face, but instead the fighter would just stand there repeatedly taking punches and kicks to the face. Then, a few seconds later, after my friend had begun yelling at the game, the fighter finally put his hands up to block my punches. It is a minor thing if it does not happen often, and perhaps it will not be evident in the final game at all, but it is certainly frustrating to have controller unresponsiveness occur in the middle of an intense fight.

Difficult Controls: Submission and Takedown Controls Are Unnecessarily Hard To Master

Maybe it is just my friend and me, but we both found the submission controls to be a bit unnatural, especially when you are tasked with swiveling the right thumbstick in order to break out of a submission or takedown. Presumably, after a longer amount of time with the game, it will get easier to perform some of these moves. Nevertheless, an on-screen indicator would give the player an idea as to how close he or she is to breaking out of a submission -- perhaps at the cost of some immersion though.

Maybe an on-screen indicator would make it easier for users to know how long they need to swivel the thumbstick before they break out of a submission?

Potential Game of the Year Candidate?

While there were a few problems I encountered with the demo of UFC 2009 Undisputed, most, if not all of them, can be considered minor, especially when the rest of the game looks and plays as well as it does. From the animations to the authentic, though often-repetitive commentary, to the sheer number of moves and combos, UFC 2009 Undisputed looks like it may be an excellent game when it releases on May 19.

UFC 2009 Undisputed Videos