Inside the octagon, there really wasn't a lot wrong with UFC 2009 Undisputed, which makes it all the more impressive that the combat in UFC 2010 Undisputed is so much better. New features and improvements aren't confined to the cage, either. When you're not busy punching, pummeling, or posturing, you can create a custom fighter who's no longer restricted by styles, play through a far less clunky (though still problematic) Career mode, and shop for trading cards and unlockables using points earned in all-new modes. Some of the new features have come with problems, but despite some drawbacks, UFC 2010 Undisputed is definitely a bigger and better game than its predecessor. Its fighting system is deep, but it's also accessible enough that you don't need to be a fan of mixed martial arts to enjoy it.
6263922NoneBJ Penn takes on the classic, PS3-exclusive Royce Gracie.
Regardless of whether or not you played last year's game, you'd do well to check out UFC 2010's Tutorial mode before jumping into the octagon to do battle with one of the 100-plus (as opposed to last year's 41) UFC fighters. The mostly intuitive controls are largely unchanged: Your limbs are still mapped to the four face buttons, shoulder buttons are still used for blocking and modifying attacks, and the right analog stick still has a number of different uses, depending on whether you're fighting stand-up, in a clinch, or on the ground. There are several new techniques and strategies for you to master this year, though, and while none of them are complicated, you're better off learning about them in the impressively thorough tutorial than in a fight when one of them is used against you.
Depending on your play style, the most significant change during fights is that the octagon itself now comes into play. When you get your opponent in a clinch and force him up against one of the cage walls, it becomes harder for him to defend himself as you gain more leverage for attacks. The walls can also come into play during takedown attempts and while wrestling on the ground, which makes this a much more realistic representation of the UFC than its predecessor. The new sway system is similarly game changing because you can evade attacks simply by leaning in one of four directions. Performed by holding down a trigger button and tapping the left analog stick that's usually reserved for movement, sways make it easier for you to stand your ground without having to resort to blocks while an opponent is on the offensive. It's a risky tactic, but the payoff for a perfectly timed sway is that you get to launch a powerful counterattack as you return to your original stance.
Risk-versus-reward mechanics also have an impact on the mat, where the ground-and-pound strategy that proved so effective last year has been made a little more challenging to use. You can still take an opponent to the ground and transition between different positions in an attempt to get a full mount, but you need to "posture up" before you can land really powerful blows, and when you do that, it becomes easier for your opponent to escape. Furthermore, it's now easier for the guy with his back on the floor to neutralize the guy on top by grabbing hold of his head and--if it seems like the best available option--waiting for the referee to stand both fighters up again. Alternatively, regardless of whether or not you're on top, you can try to submit your opponent.
The tutorial is impressively thorough, and a great place to start your UFC career.
After initiating one of the numerous different submissions with a quick click of the right analog stick, both players then rotate the stick as quickly as possible in an attempt to end the submission favorably. This inelegant system (referred to in-game as "the shine") works in much the same way that it did last year, except that as the guy being submitted, you now have to watch for your opponent transitioning from one submission hold to another. If that happens, you need to shine in the opposite direction. If you fail to do so, you're treated to an extreme close-up of the improved fighter likenesses and animation as the camera zooms in--getting closer and closer as the submission looks increasingly likely to end the fight. The improved visuals and camera work make the ground game more compelling and even a little easier to understand than it was last year, but if you prefer strikes to submissions, there's a good chance you'll still do your best to avoid it.
The UFC 2010 roster has plenty of fighters to choose from to suit every play style. There's no easy way to figure out which fighters specialize in which fighting styles. This is unfortunate if you don't follow the sport, but the vast majority of these guys are such well-rounded mixed martial artists that you can still fight effectively even if your chosen fighter's style is nothing like your own. One way to avoid any of this confusion, of course, is to create your own character from scratch, either as a finished fighter that's ready to go toe-to-toe with the pros or as a work-in-progress that you subsequently build up in the lengthy Career mode. Either way, it can be a time-consuming process because while your choices for variables like stance, voice, celebration, and nickname are limited, the options get much more granular when you start using sliding bars to tweak the appearance of your fighter's facial features and such. When it comes to your created fighter's stats, you get two distinct pools of points to spend. One pool can be spent on a combination of strength, speed, and cardio attributes; the other pool can be distributed between no fewer than 16 offensive and defensive skills. These skills determine your fighter's strengths and weaknesses because, for example, if you want to put a lot of points into making sure that his punches and kicks are lethal, you might have fewer points to spend on things like submissions and takedowns.
Unlike their counterparts in last year's game, UFC 2010 fighters aren't limited to using one grappling style along with one striking style. If you're creating a finished fighter, you choose from one of nine "technique templates" (Japanese MMA or Boxing, for example) and then have the option to customize your repertoire by trading in the moves that you don't want for points and then spending those points on moves that you do want. It's a great system because it lets you create fighters that specialize in your favorite moves--even if those moves span a number of very different disciplines. Career mode takes a similar approach, except that you don't even get to choose a technique when creating your character; you start out as something of a jack-of-all-trades and then earn skill points and new moves by taking part in training activities between fights.
Classic fighters like Dan Severn are exclusive to the PS3.
Last year's Career mode was bogged down with unwieldy menus to the point that you spent more time navigating them than you did inside the octagon. Thankfully, that's not the case this year, but while the Career mode is much-improved and introduces some good features, it still has its fair share of problems. One neat change is that rather than being thrust into the UFC from day one, you now get to take part in up to five amateur fights (these are a great opportunity to experiment with the four difficulty settings) before turning pro and competing in the World Fighting Alliance. The WFA fighters aren't nearly as formidable as the guys in the UFC, so beating them and getting invited to join the UFC is just a formality. The important thing at this early stage of your career is that you use the weeks between fights wisely; otherwise you're liable to get destroyed in your first Ultimate Fight Night undercard. Sadly, while it's more important than ever and has been improved somewhat, training in UFC 2010 still isn't much fun. Strength, speed, and cardio training are still entirely menu driven; the most effective way to spar is to employ cheap tactics, and visiting camps to learn new moves is more often frustrating than it is fun. You need to devote a lot of time to training in Career mode this year because even as a young fighter, any stats and skills that you don't invest points in on a regular basis start to deteriorate.
On paper, the new skill-deterioration system sounds like a great idea. After all, it makes sense that you'd lose skills you neglect to work on over time. The problem is simply that this idea hasn't been implemented or explained anywhere particularly well. To avoid letting your skills deteriorate, you must regularly spend at least one point on each and every one of them, at least until you reach the deterioration-proof ratings of 30, 50, and 70 that they'll never drop below. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that you can only earn skill points in sparring sessions, which leave a lot to be desired.