THQ has been around the fighting game genre for a long time now, with their very poplular WWE Smackdown series. They decided to try to tackle the new up and coming sport that is MMA, with none other than the UFC. UFC Undisputed has been anticipated for quite some time now, and I, myself, have been really looking forward to what THQ is going to bring to the table with their new game.
I will start of the review with the career mode. You have to design your own MMA fighter to duke it out with the big boys in the UFC. You are given several options in this mode such as how tall, which weight class you want to be in, where you want to distribute your attribute points, and all of the normal create-a- character details like hair, tattoos, etc. I am actually not too fond of the whole create a character business, but I really enjoyed making “The Fury.” It was nice to be able to choose whether you wanted to be a kickboxer, boxer, BJJ fighter, and so on.
Now we get to the career. You start off and choose your coach, which actually doesn’t really affect much at all, but I guess they just added that in for the feel of it. Then you get your standard browsing calendar area which takes you from fight to fight. See, you don’t just have one fight after another. You actually train and spar to get ready for the fight, and then you get it on. This is the game’s biggest weakness. Trying to get from one section to another takes FOREVER. Let’s say you want to go change up your attire and add some sponsors to your in-ring shorts. You must navigate through something like 10 plus screens to just add ONE sponsor, and by that time you just get sick of doing it. Not to mention, there are many loading screens that aren’t particularly long, but when you add them all up, it just adds to the monotony of sitting there waiting for your next fight. The sparring sessions, in my opinion, were way too short and didn’t give me enough time to truly try any techniques out. So in conclusion, I got tired of jumping through all the hoops just to get to the next fight.
When you do step inside the octagon, it is a blast. Once you figure out all the controls, and yes there are a lot of controls, you can master all of the styles ranging from take-downs, submissions, punches, kicks, and so forth. Seeing “yourself” in there knocking out Rampage Jackson is quite enjoyable to say the least.
In terms of graphics, they are pretty darn good. They won’t make you stare in awe or anything, but they definitely deserve to be up there with the average next gen game. Sweat glistens, blood splatters, cuts show off the intensity. It is all good fun. But to tell you the truth, I wish that THQ would have gone a step further with the blood effects to truly give off that gruesome feel if you truly knock out someone. That may have led the game getting an M for Mature rating, but that would have been ok with me. But graphically, all is in check from the boob bouncing ring side girls to the fighters themselves.
Gameplay, which I talked a little about above, is quite intimidating at first glance. But it mainly comes down to your face buttons acting as punches and kicks, analog sticks accessing movement, left side triggers for the placement of the hits, and right side triggers for the blocks. Sounds semi-simple, but there are many details to the combat such as the way you rotate the analog stick to get out of submissions and stuff like that. Once you get used to it, you can tell your friends that the next Lyoto Machida is on his way.
Nothing makes a knockout more satisfying that hearing Joe Rogan scream out, “OHHHH” and hearing, “IT IS ALLLL OVER.” The announcers are spectacular. From the opening introductions from Bruce Buffer to the ringside commentary, the sound is very well done. The crowd gets into the situations when some big punches are being thrown to immerse you even more in the fight.
Last would be the online mode. It’s is fairly enjoyable to get online and duke it out with fellow gamers, but the lag kind of holds the experience back a bit. There were many instances where the movement got all choppy and at no point could I even throw a punch. If you can get a game without lag, the combat is pretty even. You can definitely tell who plays more and the more this game is played, the more crazy and monotonous the gameplay online will get. I have a feeling that someone will find one technique that can destroy practically everyone and that won’t be too good for the outcome.
Overall, UFC Undisputed is a good game. If you are a fan of the UFC or just MMA in general, this is a must buy for you. For the more casual fighting game fan, there is still fun for you too, and you must decide how much time you want to put into this game to figure out if this is a game to buy or rent. Hopefully THQ comes back next year with an even stronger performance without frustratingly long navigating screens and maybe even no loading screens? I know it is hard for them because I’ve seen them use long loading screens throughout all of the WWE games, but you can always hope.
KO RATING: 8.2