In the lead up to the release of UFC Undisputed 2010, THQ had announced that gameplay in this year’s game would be made more accessible to help the game appeal to a broader audience. It’s a common trend these days, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise; except that developer Yuke’s obviously wasn’t listening to what THQ had to say, because UFC Undisputed 2010 is just as difficult and just as technical as last year’s title. And that’s a good thing.

This is an important release for the UFC Undisputed series, partly because it’s a follow-up to Unidsputed 2009, which was a fairly big commercial and critical success, but more because publishing powerhouse EA Sports is set to release its own entry into the mixed martial arts (MMA) genre later this year. But Yuke’s has shown that it’s up to the challenge by building on last year’s game in almost every way, and at the same time reminding players just why the UFC stands head and shoulders above other MMA promotions – its fighters.

The developers know that the USP of the UFC is its fighting talent, and they’ve exploited that advantage to the fullest in this game. Every weight class is well represented and there is a larger roster of over 100 top fighters to choose from. The personalities of the top fighters is more evident than ever before, with their in-game personas behaving just as they would in the real octagon, complete with signature moves and well-documented strengths and weaknesses. Brock Lesnar is lightening fast and equally good on his feet and on the ground, Chuck Liddell features his viscous ducking hooks, and Antonio Nogueira has his famous granite chin. If you follow the UFC and know its fighters, playing this game once you’ve got a hang of the controls is almost instinctive, because they behave in-game just as they do in real life.

But it’s only the UFC fans who will be able to fully appreciate the authenticity and attention to detail in its fighters. What about those new to the UFC Undisputed series and the sport of MMA in general? As we said before, the game really isn’t as accessible as THQ would’ve liked, so it’s still technical, it’s still complicated, and it’s still very hard. But MMA itself is technical. It’s a mix of various fighting disciplines, such as wrestling, Muai Thai, and kick boxing. Also, MMA fights take place as much on the ground as they do in stand-up, which also brings in many complications. So understandably, all of that is accurately represented to help make Undisputed 2010 an authentic game. If you can live with that, there’s an in-depth tutorial mode that will teach you every gameplay nuance to ready you for the challenge that awaits you in the many game modes.

Gameplay itself has seen a few improvements, but it’s mostly an evolution over last year’s system. There are now new fighting disciplines such as Karate and Roman Greco, and the cage of the octagon can now be used as leverage during fights. There’s also more of a focus on counter-attacking, and the new sway system and flash KOs help you land damaging counter attacks after evading or blocking a punch or kick. There are still a few issues though. The clinches and transitions from one grappling move to another aren’t as smooth as they should be, which sometimes makes the ground game a frustrating experience. And again, for anyone new to the game, gameplay can be very daunting unless you’ve been through the tutorial. This is the farthest thing from a pick-up-and-play title.

Of the many game modes, the career mode is the highlight. You can create your own custom fighter using the deep creation options, and choose a weight class and fighting style for him. It’s then up to you to train him, groom him and guide him towards the ultimate goal – the UFC title. The career lasts 12 in-game years, and there’s a lot more than just fighting to be done. Sparring and training between fights helps improve your fighter’s skill attributes; attending camps will help you learn more moves; and other side activities will improve your popularity with the fans (although increased popularity doesn’t really reward you in any way). You’ll also earn sponsors, whose logos you can wear on your fighting attire to earn more money. How you nurture your fighter is vital to his success. It’s important to build up his strengths, and yet be mindful of his weaknesses, because the AI will use it against you. All in all, the career takes you a lot deeper into the world of MMA than it did last year, and you’re never short of things to do.

Besides the career mode, you can also play through the Title mode, which essentially involves beating one fighter after another until you win the UFC title. Similarly, Title Defense mode requires you to beat a series of fighters who will challenge you for your title. The Ultimate Fights mode also makes a return, with a few changes. You are tasked with reliving some of the most memorable UFC fights from years gone by. You can either recreate the exact match result, or rewrite history by changing the outcome. Achieving these objectives unlocks the video to the actual fight, which is a nice bonus. The online mode has been bolstered as well, with the addition of online camps this year. You can now invite friends to your camp and participate in online sparring sessions to boost your stats. Thanks to the sway system, online play is also more tactical and well-rounded now, rather than the stand-up slugfests witnessed in last year’s game.

Presentation, just as in Undisputed 2009, is top notch. The character models are eerily accurate, and the animations are realistic too. The menu system will be instantly familiar to UFC fans, as it’s almost identical to what you would see in a UFC television broadcast. Commentary from Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan is brilliant too, and their comments are always appropriate, accurately describing the on-screen action. If you happen to pick up the PS3 version, you’ll also get some bonus content such as exclusive Ultimate Fights matches, exclusive fighters, and a few classic UFC matches in HD.

UFC Undisputed 2010 is as accurate a representation of MMA as you can get. It uses the UFC license to its maximum potential, with a huge roster of fighters and accurate TV-style presentation. It’s also just as technical as the sport of MMA itself, which means it’s not easy to just pick up and play. You’ll have to put in many hours before you start to discover how good it really is. If you’re unwilling to give it that time, this isn’t the game for you. But if you are, you’re sure to be rewarded with a game that is fun and deeply fulfilling.

  • Genre: Fighting
  • Title: UFC Undisputed 2010
  • Price: Rs 2,499
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Developer: Yuke’s
  • Distributor: E-Xpress Interactive
  • Phone: 022 29661017
  • E-Mail:
  • Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

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