previews\ May 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

UFC 2009 Undisputed - PS3 - Preview

If Forrest Griffin’s epic brawl with Stephan Bonnar at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale was a sign of things to come in 2005, then THQ’s UFC 2009: Undisputed is going do the sport another favor as the title represents everything that is great about the globally expanding sport. From the exciting stand-up game that can deliver a knockout at any second to the overly detailed ground game, UFC 2009 is taking the bar – albeit it’s very low for MMA titles – and raising it to a whole new level for fighting games. 

Gamers who have never watched an MMA match or have no knowledge of the sport should be able to learn via the tutorial modes that are provided. Beginning with the Guide mode, players can be trained to get a full understanding behind the navigation of the fighters, how to strike and take opponents to the ground. Once they are on the ground, players can discover how to transition to a more advantageous position or perform a submission. Outside of that, there’s the Muay Thai Clinch, up kicks, diving punches and much more to learn. If Guide Mode doesn’t help you get a better understanding on how the sport operates and the general basics of the game, there’s always the Practice mode to dive right into. 


In Practice mode, players are eligible to fight against a CPU to put in hours upon hours performing maneuvers until they feel natural. As with any Practice mode, you are able to see what buttons you are pressing to understand what commands do what and how successful they are. If you’d like to fight against more advanced competition, you can change the action of your sparring partner to only: defend high strikes or low strikes, grapple block, positively strike, positively grapple or auto strike defense. There’s also the ability to turn up the difficulty to Expert – or any of the difficulty settings – for the CPU to raise the stakes. 

When you’ve decided that your learning experience needs to come to a close, then you can jump into a multitude of other game modes. Exhibition matches in all five weight classes is there for offline play with friends and family. Career mode is one of the deepest modes that you’ll experience in a sports title first outing. On top of that, THQ has provided gamers with reliving 12 historic matches from UFC history through the Classic Fights mode. If you grow bored of those modes, then there’s always the option to go online and test your skill against competitors worldwide. Lastly, THQ has gone a step further in attempting to give players replay value and incorporated a Create-A-Fighter. 


Exhibition Mode is what a majority of gamers should have come to expect from their fighters. Players are able to change the match option before selecting their fighters with a variety of alteration such as: rounds (2, 3, and 5 rounds), refs (Herb Dean, Mario Yamasaki, and Steve Mazzagatti), and the venue (Mandalay Bay, Red Rock, The Palms, Madison Square Garden, and UFC Gym). Not much out of the ordinary here, though here’s to hoping that the developers implement CPU vs. CPU fights in the future. 

As for the Career mode, hardcore MMA fans will experience ecstasy with how much time THQ has devoted to the mode in their first iteration. Players will start out by creating their own fighter who will begin as a rookie in the UFC. Climbing the ranks, they’ll start on the undercard of Ultimate Fight Night cards and work their way up to headline and starring in PPVs. Along the way, they’ll accept and refuse sponsors and camp invites, hire better sparring partners, choose their own fights out of a list provided by Joe Silva, the matchmaker of the UFC, go to photo shoots and eventually, if they play their cards right, earn a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame. After you’ve accomplished all you want or you’ve reach the end of the Career mode, which is seven years, you’ll be able to retire him and take him into online matches. While there are a few kinks, such as current Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre losing four times in a row in a span of five months to challenger Josh Koscheck – fighters don’t fight this often and even if they do, it’s not against the same opponent at this level of competition – the Career mode is everything a fan could dream of.  


Next up, the Classic Fights mode would have been my favorite game mode if it wasn’t for the short replay value. Offering 12 classic fights, players are able to unlock video montages of the fights to see how the match actually went down. Unlocking the montages is done by recreating the result of the fight such as taking Anderson Silva and defeating Rich Franklin by means of KO or TKO in the second round. If you have a different result, then you won’t unlock the video montage and must try again. On top of that, the beautiful Rachelle Leah presents the history leading up to the match and there are also interviews with each fighter to hype up the match. The Classic Fights mode should be one of the more attracting modes when players first boot up their copy of UFC 2009: Undisputed

The last portion of the gameplay is the online portion. Players looking for an incredibly in-depth online mode might be a little disappointed to see the standard options THQ has provided, but that shouldn’t stop them from having an incredible time online with their friends and strangers. Players are able to engage in ranked and unranked matches along with creating their own custom matches for both categories. The custom matches allow for players to change the rounds and arena, decide which fighters are allowed (DLC and created fighters), and decide if they want a private slot for a friend to compete against. If they want to see how they stack up against the best online, players have three different leaderboards to view including: Player Ranking Top 100, Player Ranking My Score, and Weekly Top 100. Sadly, there haven’t been any matches that were found so we’re not positive on how the game holds up in terms of the connection; also, players aren’t able to watch rivals battle online as a spectator. 


Looking to create-a-fighter? UFC 2009: Undisputed features a robust create-a-fighter when you consider it is Yuke’s Osaka first attempt at a UFC title. In this mode, players are given a certain amount of points, which can be assigned to their fighter’s skills and attributes. Players can edit the trunks they wear in the ring with adding sponsors to particular slots they’ve unlocked from the Career mode or choosing from the six default trunks available that vary on length (Long, Long – Slit Type A, Long – Slit Type B, Medium, Short, and Very Short). From there, players can choose which brand they’d like to have embroidered on their trunks and five various colors (red, white, black, yellow and green). If the changing of your wardrobe, such as the mouthpiece (all five colors represented), ankle braces and knee braces, don’t get you excited, then possibly choosing from the 10 nicknames provided or customizing your fighting style will excite you. In the end though, it’s still recommended that players use the Career mode since they both share the same features but the Career mode isn’t capped with stats allocation since you are able to build up the fighter through the career to be a much dangerous fighter. 

UFC 2009: Undisputed is the game that every MMA fan has been waiting for. It’s intelligent for fans that enjoy the technical aspects. It’s exciting for fans that enjoy the stand-up brawls. It’s gorgeous in motion for gamers who nitpick all of the graphical aspects of their video games (though welterweight Marcus Davis looks like an ape). All in all, UFC 2009: Undisputed is going to set the MMA world on fire on May 19 when it releases for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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