UFC Undisputed 2010 Review
If you're looking for a button-smashing brawler, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a combo-crazy arcade fighter, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a fighter with sim qualities, the kind of game in which fight preparation and strategy are important success factors, then UFC Undisputed 2010 is for you. Career mode is all about training and preparation, with the actual fight merely the coda to your training regimen. Even if you're a big UFC fan who just wants to jump straight into the Octagon you're going to have to be smart about playing to your fighter's strengths and your opponent's weaknesses or your one way ticket to the mat will be punched pretty early in the fight. There's a lot of depth to UFC Undisputed 2010, but just like in the real UFC you're going to have to work hard to succeed at it.
The game has a number of modes for those just looking to take control of their favorite UFC fighter or creating a custom fighter to get pummeled at the hands of the pros. There's a simple, jump-in-and-fight Exhibition Mode, and several modes that essentially amount to a series of fights. In Tournament Mode that series comes in the form of a bracket, in Title Mode itís a ladder on your way to the belt, and in Title Defense Mode you need to defend your belt against a succession of twelve challengers. Ultimate Fights Mode is something UFC fans will probably enjoy as it includes footage from classic matches and challenges you to recreate them. Each match has a set of nine goals in three tiers of difficulty for each fighter, and thegoals include things like landing a particular punch in the first round, avoid a takedown in another, and the like. Personally I found the goal-based matches in this mode to be somewhat less enjoyable than having the freedom to do what I want in a fight (KO in first round! Oh wait, I didn't complete the goals and lost...), but I can see some gamers into the UFC really getting into this mode.
The game's heart and soul really lies in its Career Mode which gives you the chance to create your own fighter and take him from an unknown amateur to a UFC fighter (and hopefully champion). A career in UFC Undisputed 2010 begins with the creation of your fighter, and the game features a pretty extensive fighter creation system to help you craft one to your liking. You could easily spend an hour or more once you finally get through putting all of the finishing touches on your character's looks and stats. Or you can simply use the random generator to create your fighter and go from there. In either case you'll still want to take the time to distribute your fighter's attribute points into the areas that will match your desired fighting style. It would have been nice if the game gave you a little direction here, like preset starting builds for a striker or Muay Thai fighter, because you're kind of left to figure things out on your own and poor choices made here can leave your fighter with a long road to the UFC. Once you've created your fighter, the last step is to pick his name. New in this year's game is a list of first and last names so that the announcers can refer to your fighter by name during the fights. You can still pick your own custom name, but the announcers will only refer to you by your nickname in that case.
You start the game as an amateur with four regular sparring partners. This is the method the game uses to help you select your skill level as each fighter's abilities corresponds to one of the game's four difficulty levels. You can play a few matches against these guys to get a feel for your general skill level and the level of challenge you would like from the game. While on the amateur level you can also play through a series of tutorials that cover all aspects of the fights, so if you're new to UFC games you can get a little practice with the controls before committing to a skill level. The tutorials are just basically a walkthrough of the controls, though, and don't give you much in the way of fight technique or strategy. A game with such a complex control scheme and interactions between the fighters really needs some sort of better tutorial, but as it stands you're left to figure out things the hard way. Once you select your skill level you become a pro and start training for your first fight.