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'UFC: 2009', almost 'Undisputed'

June 12, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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UFCIt was only a short time ago that ultimate fighting or mixed martial arts competitions were banned in many places throughout the world mainly because of the unfettered brutality of the combat itself. Commonly accepted now by most mainstream audiences in North America, ultimate fighting has traveled a long and hard road to be recognized alongside boxing or other martial arts events.

Having already made the best wrestling game engine there is in 'WWE Smackdown! Versus Raw', is it no wonder that THQ signed developer Yuke's to create the quintessential ultimate fighting game...and that they have. 'UFC 2009: Undisputed' is an intensely demanding and difficult game to master. Be prepared to put in the time if you really want to excel at breaking and snapping bones.

UFCThe all-star 80-character roster (including our old wrestling pal Brock Lesnar) represents the cream of the ultimate fighting crop, the five weight classes and all of the different fighting styles from kickboxing and Muay Thai to Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. Because of this, the fights are largely unpredictable and often the momentum can shift so rapidly due to a well-timed block, that it is a struggle keep the advantage. When I say struggle, I mean that in a good way, of course.

The countering back and forth is the hook of 'UFC' that drives you to welcome each new challenger. Your defensive maneuvers are just as important as your offensive arsenal. As fans know, ultimate fighting is more than just wrestling your opponent to the ground and then pounding the crap out of them until they submit or are knocked out. Perceptive to this, Yuke's formulated a very deep combat system that gives you almost any option that would expect to be available when determining who is deadliest in the octagon.

UFCThe career mode is very rewarding. As the battered bodies pile up, not only will you gain new sponsors, improve your skills and grow as a disciplined fighter, your competition will rise to the occasion too. The one drawback is that there is just too much lag time between bouts. Plodding through weeks and weeks of dreary training, answering out of place messages and sitting on your butt can test your tolerance for the mundane.

Clicking through the clunky menu system can be a championship fight all on its own. Overly convoluted and even unresponsive at times, just picking your fighter's gear can be like deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Battling online can be just as awkward, although the Classic Fights mode will tantalize the die-hards who remember all the pain and punishment involved in many legendary UFC rivalries.

UFCJust as they did with the 'Smackdown! Versus Raw' series, Yuke's has captured all of the personalities perfectly right down to the scars and tattoos on their bodies. The detail in the character models is mind-boggling. They have done an exceptional and accurate job with the commentary as well employing real UFC announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan to do the play-by-play.

Yuke's could have very easily cheesed out by resorting to the crude combat systems of old that focused just on brawling and striking in producing 'UFC: Undisputed'. Instead, they designed an entire system from scratch. A system that turned away from traditional button mashing and embraced strategy over plain, dumb luck. Yuke's has set a new benchmark for combat games. If they can just lasso and coral those pesky menus, they just might have an undisputed champeen in their corner.

UFCUFC 2009: Undisputed
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Yuke's
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Official Site:

Rating: 9 / 10


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