UFC 2009 Undisputed – 360 – 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

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

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.