And in this corner...pain
Title: UFC: 2009 Undisputed
Release: May 19, 2009
Platform: Xbox 360
Rating: T (Teen)
There are two distinct genres of fighting games—arcade and simulation. Arcade, in the context of video games, is the most recognizable. Games such as Street Fighter IV, Tekken 6 and Virtua Fighter V all represent the lunacy and charm of shooting fireballs and juggling your opponent in the air with jabs. Simulations on the other hand, showcase a quiet dignity that involves patience and planning that reflect a realism fulfilled only by actual athletes who venture outside their homes from time to time. As one of the fastest growing sports in North America, mixed martial arts fighting aches for a competent game translation. Undisputed represents the pinnacle of simulation fighting games today.
The graphics aim for photorealism and come surprisingly close. It is difficult at times to tell the difference between televised matches and video clips of game play. The only gripes are the awkward animations featured when a player is knocked out; they tend to fall as if they have no bones in their bodies like jellyfish. The result is life-size display manikin flailing onto the mat. The music is obnoxiously ramped to the extreme. Stale heavy-metal blasts during just about every menu screen while the fight itself has no music at all. Adding your own custom soundtrack seems like a no-brainer, why it was not properly utilized is a mystery.
The game play is well-crafted with thoughtfulness towards building a deep overall fighting system. The game is accessible enough for first time users to fight effectively with the basic punches and kicks, but the game continues to build with advanced techniques dealing with grapples, counters and takedowns that feel intuitive while rewarding you for becoming an expert fighter. The game offers a career mode that allows you to create your own fighter who works hard to eventually become a champion. The career mode is bare-bones, however, with workouts set to the press of a button and the occasional sparing matches to prepare for the real scheduled fights. This mode quickly becomes tedious and repetitive. Most people will simply play against a friend in the exhibition mode that offers a robust roster that any fan will appreciate. Despite all the depth and balance implemented to make Undisputed a solid fighting game, online multiplayer is marred technically by an upsetting loophole. Players can disconnect from a match during the replay animation before losing. This ends with the loser escaping a loss and the winner robbed of a win. This is a costly oversight by the developers that effectively ends any potential fun for online play.
Presently, with no other simulation fighting game on the market until Fight Night Round 4, Undisputed has successfully created a name for itself. Fans of mixed martial arts should look forward to UFC 2010 and every sequel afterwards if Yuke’s can manage to maintain and improve upon the quality shown in Undisputed.
Overall Rating: * * * / 5
M. Michael Chwedyk "The Gamekok"- MuzikReviews.com Sr. Video Game Reviewer
June 1, 2009
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