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Swaying And Clinching With UFC Undisputed 2010
by Jeff Gerstmann on
THQ's second crack at the Ultimate Fighting Championship is cleaning up the rough parts from last year's release and moving forward.
The career mode, unfortunately, wasn't on display. But the ability to create a fighter was available, and it appears to be way more detailed than last year's version. Now, rather than selecting one striking style and one grappling style, you'll be able to go deeper into your fighter's moves, spending points on individual attacks and powering them up through three different levels. At some point, it starts to resemble what THQ has done for its WWE SmackDown! series, which also allows you to assign different strikes and holds to specific button combinations. Placing tattoos on your body and sponsor logos on your trunks is more flexible, moving away from the slot-based system and going for a more freeform application. You can also choose from more names and locations for your fighter, which should make the commentary when using a created fighter a bit more realistic.
On top of that, your fighter will have a voice. This year's career mode gives you some out-of-the-ring choices, such as whether to respect or disrespect a fighter during a weigh-in. This sort of thing will govern which training camps you work with, which training camps are out to get you, and which fighters will be considered your main in-ring rivals.
Once you're in the ring, you'll probably find that the game doesn't immediately feel like an all-new game. Conceptually, the act of fighting and the way you take other fighters down and work the ground game are extremely similar. But once you spend a little time with it, you'll start to notice things like the combo system, which has been thrown out the window and rebuilt an an all-new way. Now, any strike will theoretically string into any other strike, rather than making you learn a group of style-specific button presses. The catch, of course, is that some attacks won't string together quickly enough to be unblockable, so you'll need to experiment and figure out which attacks get out fast enough to do damage.
The submission system has been reworked a bit, as well. Now, you can't just hammer the face buttons to break free. You'll have to rotate the right analog stick to get out of holds. Skilled submission fighters will be able to transition from one submission attempt to another, and this will force the defending player to rotate the stick in the opposite direction to continue breaking the hold.
The clinch controls have changed to work more like the ground game, where quarter- and half-circle sweeps on the right stick perform transitions that give your fighter an advantaged position. Major transitions, in this case, move you between a striking clinch and a body clinch, which is better for throws. When clinching, you can also press your opponent up against the cage itself, which gives you another set of options, like leg trips and transitions into double- and single-leg takedowns. There's a risk vs. reward scenario at play in a lot of this stuff, so going for the less-reliable single-leg takedown might not work as frequently, but when it does you'll end up in a better ground position once you get there.
Undisputed 2010 also benefits from a new sway system. By holding down the high guard button and tapping the left stick in various directions, you can plant your feet and sway around incoming strikes. It requires a quick tap of the stick, which differentiates it from the similar swaying system found in Fight Night Round 4, but much like EA's boxing game, you can throw counters off of a sway. The sideways sways are a bit trickier to perform, since you have to guess which side the strikes are coming from, but their counters are more impactful.
The roster in this year's game is expanding, but how much of it you get will depend on how and where you buy the game. Four fighters from the UFC's reality TV series, The Ultimate Fighter, will be available with GameStop pre-orders. The PlayStation 3 version of the game will also feature more fighters than its 360 counterpart, including some classic combatants, like Royce Gracie. A handful of UFC fights will also make their way onto the Blu-Ray version of the game.
I enjoyed UFC 2009 Undisputed a great deal, so I was already sort of on-board with this year's model as soon as it was announced. After checking it out for myself and spending some time talking to some of the folks behind it, it really feels like the team of THQ and Yuke's is making some very smart decisions about how to evolve its newest franchise. It sounds like the team is days away from submitting a final build for approval from Sony and Microsoft, so it sounds like its late-May release date is totally locked in.