So I went down to gamestop last night and purchased my copy of UFC 2009 Undisputed. I got a chance to play before work and I have a few impressions, mostly good, about the game.
First of all, the character models look great. Some games make their characters a little too ripped and chiseled and some make theirs overly thin, some look cartoony. UFC did a great job at making the characters look realistic (with the exception of Dana White, who looks nothing at all like himself). Sweat, cuts, and body hair are also done really well in the game. Visually it is the best fighting game I have played to date.
From a game mechanic standpoint, I have a few observations. First of all, there are no sliders that I can find in the game to adjust various difficulties. Every other sports type game has them and this is a glaring omission. The reason this is such a glaring omission is submissions are almost impossible to pull off in the game. I thought it was a function of the characters I was using, but Demian Maia should be able to submit almost any middleweight from most any position. Hopefully they will address this in next year's edition. I had a few other complaints about the submission system besides the difficulty but they may have been left out for balance purposes. In real life, Brazilian Jujitsu fighters will attempt to pull a fighter close to their body when they have them in guard and from that position will frequently execute a triangle choke. I was either unable to execute that maneuver, or it's not in the game.
On the good side, striking is easy and fun, and responds pretty well. Punches and kicks to the legs, body, and head are all available (although boxers will not be able to execute head kicks, as it should be), and look about as they should. Also, the tuning between offense and defense is about where it should be, as compared to the real thing. It is a very viable tactic to just throw punches and kicks where your opponent is not defending. The "specialty attacks" (i.e. superman punch, thai clinch knees, spinning backfist, etc) are all extremely satisfying. I have yet to try to recreate the sick flying knee thrust Michael Bisping used to win one of his fights in The Ultimate Fighter.
Career mode is a little bland, but is a good first attempt. To use a food analogy its a really well cooked meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Maybe a little bland and not for everyone, but solid and enough to keep you going. You create your fighter and then train him up in hopes of competing for a title shot in your weight class. I created myself in the lightweight division (in Judo, I competed at 132lbs, but that was at 18-19, I have put on a bit of muscle since then), and made a Kickboxing and Judo fighter. So far I have been able to basically run through my competition with stiff head kicks.
Overall, great game, I would give it 8.5/10. With a few minor improvements, next years' version could easily be 10/10.
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