UFC Undisputed 2010 Review (Xbox 360)
I did not go into UFC Undisputed 2010 with over-the-moon expectations. That does not mean I expected the game to be bad or anything like that, I was simply trying not to not get caught up in the pre-release hype train. I was trying to stay neutral. Nevertheless, I also did not think I would stop playing the game within the first couple weeks.
The developers have added more to this year's title to make up for the lack of depth in some areas. Still, generally speaking, fighting games do not tend to have too much depth beyond the gameplay. You fight, fight some more, and you move up the ladder until you cannot go anywhere else. That being said, the developers did successfully add depth to at least one area: multiplayer.
Tale of the Tape
UFC 2010 plays just fine. It feels mostly like 2009, which might be a problem for some gamers. After all, they do not want to spend $60 on more of the same.
But the game is not entirely recycled or anything like that. There are thousands of moves to master now. If a gamer somehow mastered every move for every fighter in the game, it would probably be the most impressive thing I have ever witnessed in gaming. So it is obviously exciting to have multiple ways to pound your opponent into dust, but with so many moves and so few buttons, the controls quickly bleed together. Instead of moving your right stick one inch clockwise, move it three quarters of an inch clockwise.
One problem that kept nagging me throughout were the CPU fighters. I felt there was no middle ground between skill levels. I would either demolish a fighter in one bout or get clobbered by someone like Brock Lesnar in 30 seconds. And with certain fighters being so much better than others, it seems like the difficulty settings do not matter. (Lesnar will kick your teeth in no matter what.)
Overall the gameplay is solid. There are some balancing issues and oddities (including lack of submissions/frequency of flash KOs), but there is nothing so overwhelmingly blatant that it will affect each fight. I think the easiest thing to say is that UFC 2009 did a lot right, but this year's title failed to keep the momentum going. The game is still fun, but it also seems to be missing a bit of the "it" factor that last year's title had going for it.
The presentation in the game is rather well done. The fight display with fighter’s statistics at the beginning of each fight is pretty fresh and looks like something you would see on a PPV. In fact, most of the pre-fight festivities give off the feel of a TV-style fight, which is great.
The graphics are also fantastic. All the fighters look identical to their real-life counterparts. The facial features in particular are amazing -- this aspect is probably one of the most impressive parts of the game.
Beyond the aesthetics, let me talk a bit about the Career mode. I hate when it only takes two hours to get to the top of the ladder. I absolutely hate it. But in order to get to the top in UFC Undisputed 2010, you are going to have to go through some grueling and repetitive tasks.
Career mode starts you off as an amateur fighter just about to enter the Octagon for your first fight. After a few quick words form your trainer, you are in a fight for your first real action. The fight is rather easy, and once you win, you have the option to turn pro. Once you go pro, the real game begins.
When you turn pro, you will notice that you are not in the UFC yet. Instead, you are stuck in the WFA. Do not worry, this will change within the first ten matches.
In your career, you will have the typical calendar with all of the training options on the right of the screen. One thing that should catch your attention in this area is stat decay. Stat decay is your worst enemy. Do not worry about Rampage Jackson or B.J. Penn because they are not as terrifying as stat decay. When you ignore certain stats while training, stat decay will cause them to drop. In fact, your stats will drop at a pretty quick rate. This is not a huge problem because I love the fact that you need to vividly pay attention to your fighter, but the decay rate is a bit overdone.
Once you make the jump to UFC, you will notice quite the leap in talent. Fighters you face will be better than any others you have dealt with to that point. But with the challenge, comes one addition to career mode that keeps the liveliness of the mode alive: fighter relationships. This is an entertaining piece of the game. You can make friends and rivals, and these decisions will follow you across your career.
All in all, career mode is pretty deep. It has some new features and a lot of old ones, but it should keep you playing for quite some time.
Title mode and Title Defense mode are quite possibly the most anticlimactic parts of the game. The titles themselves get you excited, but you soon realize that these modes are just a fancy way of saying tournament mode. Title Defense mode is slightly different (you need to beat Title mode to unlock it) because you are simply defending rather than earning. Other than that, these modes seem to be made for you and your friends.
There are countless options available in UFC Undisputed 2010. You can re-create any fight of the past or start up a dream scenario with your two favorite fighters going at it. Add in a friend and this game goes to a whole other level. The local multiplayer in this game is underwhelming because you do not do much besides select your fighters, but the screaming and yelling you will be doing when you knock your best friend out is all you really need.
As for online, so far the online servers have done a pretty bang-up job. Games have been running pretty smoothly with only a lag spike here and there. The one thing that really sticks out in the online play is the ability to join a camp. When you join a camp, it gives you a sense of belonging because you are able to train and fight with the same people on a regular basis. Some of you may think that is cheesy and lame, but with the way UFC works in the real world, how much more realistic can a video game be?
UFC Undisputed 2010 is a solid title. The lackluster single-player modes beyond the Career mode hurt it a little bit, but the multiplayer can easily make up for that shortcoming. If you are a huge fan of UFC or are in need of a party game, this is a definite must-buy title. Career mode will keep you sucked in for a while, and it will not spit you out until you cannot handle the decaying anymore. Though not really a large improvement over UFC 2009, which was already a good game, UFC 2010 is better and worse than UFC 2009. The game delivers some upgrades and, if anything, perhaps this title is a necessary learning step on the way to becoming a truly successful iterative series.
In the Octagon: The game runs smoothly and does not hit any bumps in the road. Solid fighting makes solid gameplay.
Graphics: The graphics and presentation elements are two of the best parts of the game.
Sound Design: Just a typical soundtrack and some monotone voice overs, so it could easily be better. The announcers are solid.
Entertainment Value: Playing solo you will get bored -- that is a promise. But if you play with friends, then you just found your new after-school/work activity.
Learning Curve: There is actually quite a learning curve if you plan on using multiple fighters.
Online Play: There is a performance hiccup here and there, but the "camps" feature makes this an area of strength.
Score: 7.0 (Good)