The first time I saw a UFC match was on one of those days when nothing worth watching is on TV so you start flicking round the various channels in search of something to entertain yourself with, even if its only for a few moments. What I stumbled upon on this particular channel surfing mission was a brutal battle between two very skilled and highly trained combatants in a UFC showdown, which pulled me in and made me want to find out more about the sport. Needless to say when the chance to play UFC 2010 came up I grabbed it with both hands, as having never played a UFC title, I was curious to see whether the developers would be able to capture the harsh nature of the contest, and if the game could stand up to well established fighting series, such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken.
At first, the game didn't impress me that much, in fact I found myself becoming bored with it after a very small space of time and wishing I could turn it off and play something else. However, after another session of pummelling my opponents to the floor within an extremely short space of time, the game really started to grow on me, so much so that I'll certainly be playing it for the next few weeks in order to refine my combat style.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are many more game modes for players to choose from than you might expect to find in a fighting game, including career mode, exhibition, event mode, title mode, title defence mode, tournament mode, ultimate fight mode, and the online multiplayer modes.
Disappointingly, the different modes are pretty much the same thing, with little differences to try and disguise this fact. Between fights in career mode, you control your character's calendar, choosing when to train, spare, and rest. Unfortunately the portion of the game outside of the octagon feels a bit rough around the edges and gives you little to no instructions as to what to do, which can be incredibly frustrating. Exhibition mode is a one off fight where you can take on either the computer or a friend. Event mode allows you to create your own unique UFC fight nights, choosing from a range of locations, combatants, and the number of matches, following which you can either choose to take part or sit back and watch. Title mode and title defence mode, pretty much go hand in hand, first of all you work your way up the ladder to win the UFC title belt in your weight division, which then unlocks title defence mode where you'll have to defend your title against an onslaught of opponents. Personally, I thought it was a nice touch that you couldn't go straight into title defence mode and had to earn this privilege. In tournament mode you enter into a single elimination tournament which can have between 4 and 16 players, and as with event mode, you can either take part in the fights which can involve passing the controller around a group of friends to include everybody, or sit back and watch the computer battle it out. Tournament mode is where I spent the majority of my time, I'd take one side of the board whilst my brother took the other, and we tried to work our way through to the final, so we could fight each other. Ultimate fight mode allows you to play some of the best moments in UFC history, and my favourite aspect to this section of the game was the incredible amount of information which is narrated to you by the UFC girls and numerous video clips.
There are two online multiplayer modes; exhibition is exactly the same as the offline mode, whilst online fight camps allow you to create a team with a group of friends. I've got to admit that I find these options quite boring, however in my opinion the best aspect to jumping onto xbox live is the chance to get real life event information from the UFC website, which you can then recreate within the game.
The game provides you with over 100 fighters to choose from and you'll easily spot fan favourites such as Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine. The level of customisation in the create a fighter option is outstandingly good, although not quite as spectacular as some of the better RPG's like Mass Effect 2 and Oblivion.
The graphics behind the fighters themselves is very impressive, however it does make the rest of the game look incredibly bland in comparison. As you're fighting, your character muscles will twist and flex like they would in the real world, and when they take hits you can see the impact it sends through their body. This is also the first game of its type that I've played where you can see the immense amount of physical exertion thats required to take part; sweat realistically coats the characters' bodies and you'll even be able to see individual drops running down them. Also, cuts and bruises will develop depending on where and how hard you or your opponent are hit, and helps to emphasise the amount of punishment that these guys are able to take in the real world.
At first the control system can seem a little overwhelming, as you'll have to become familiar with controls for standing combat, clinching, and ground work. I spent almost an hour going through everything in the tutorials and by the time I'd finished I couldn't remember half the controls and was eager for a real fight. As a result, I charged into my first encounter thinking 'How hard can this be, you can get through most other games like this by button bashing'. How wrong I was! The AI has a clever system built into it that guards against attempts to foil it by mashing the palm of your hand into the controller, whereby it learns from your actions and adjusts its tactics accordingly. This ended up in my quick, bloody and inevitable defeat at the hands of the computer.
I'd strongly advise you to take the time out to get to grips with the controls, because it enriches the combat experience and you'll be able to deal with a greater range of opponents in unique circumstances.
Yes, UFC Undisputed 2010 is a little bit rough around the edges and the sections of the game that don't involve fighting are sadly lacking in detail and enjoyment. However, the game captures the essence of its real world counterpart magnificently, with bone crunching blows, terrific takedowns, punishing submissions, and breath taking knockouts, which are all unbelievably realistic and great fun to dish out.
- Brutal Combat
- Good level of character customisation
- Great fun when playing with other people
- Any part of the game outside of the octagon
- The different modes are all far too similar
- Environments are boring and drab in contrast to the characters
The Short Version: UFC Undisputed 2010 really captures the essence of its source material, and is great fun to play with a group of friends. Unfortunately, the sections of the game outside of the arena feel a bit underdeveloped and quickly become boring to play.