UFC 2009 Undisputed Made Me Tap Out

Want to know how addictive UFC 2009 Undisputed is? Take a look at this:That's my hand, a day after playing THQ's upcoming mixed martial arts game for an extended period of time. That disgusting pink spot in the middle of my palm is the blister I got from a result of that extended play session. Yes,...

Want to know how addictive UFC 2009 Undisputed is? Take a look at this:

That's my hand, a day after playing THQ's upcoming mixed martial arts game for an extended period of time. That disgusting pink spot in the middle of my palm is the blister I got from a result of that extended play session. Yes, I got a blister playing a videogame. I can't remember the last time that happened to me.

Why that blister appeared on the middle of my palm (and not, say, on my thumb) I'll get to in a bit. First, let me set the stage for you. Last week, we received the PS3 version of the upcoming downloadable demo for UFC 2009 Undisputed. The game, being published by THQ and developed by Yuke's, is the first licensed UFC game since 2004's mediocre UFC Sudden Impact. The demo, which will be available on PSN and XBL on April 23, features two modes: an extensive tutorial to get you used to the game's in-depth controls, and a single exhibition fight between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Chuck Liddell.

The Liddell/Rua exhibition--which will be a highlight of this weekend's UFC 97 in Montreal--proves to be a fantastic exhibition of UFC's gameplay and the different fighting styles found in the game. Liddell, a pure striker is as deadly as can be when standing up, capable of an awesome barrage of kicks and punches-- including that vicious overhead right hook--any one of which can take Rua out in a single shot. Rua, while no slouch in the kick department, is much more adept at clinching, mat work, and submission. Pit these two different styles of fighting, both equally dangerous, against one another and you've got a chess match in the UFC 2009 demo that speaks volumes about the strategic depth this game contains.

Over the past few days, I've played the demo over and over against both the CPU and against other folks in the office. The demo is passable in single player, though the AI lack of aggression and skill leaves something to be desired. And while I'm hoping the AI poses a stiffer challenge in the final version, Undisputed really comes to life when playing with a friend, preferably side by side on the same console, where the smack talk and the non-stop shouting can flow.

Undeniably, there is a lot to learn when you first pick up the UFC demo. The game's controls are deep yet have a logic and flow to them that unfolds the more you play it. Striking is simple--the four face buttons are tied to left and right punches and left and right kicks, with the L1 and L2 buttons modifying your strikes high and low, respectively.

For your first few fights, these controls will likely be all you need to end a fight, especially when playing with the hard-hitting Liddell. Much as in the real thing, fights can end quickly in Undisputed, with a punch or kick landing in just the right spot to send a guy crumpling to the mat, out cold. The fact that a lucky strike can end a fight acts as a pretty clever balancing act in the game; something to keep even expert players wary of their opponents, who might be able to end a fight with a single well-placed punch. Early on, you'll learn to defend early and often in Undisputed. The R2 and R1 buttons are for blocking low and high respectively, and you'll need to get your defense together if you hope to last more than one round in this game.

Stand-up fighting in Undisputed is a lot fun but I'd argue that the game really begins to come alive strategically once both fighters hit the ground. Depending on the position you find yourself in, you can still punch your opponent but there's also a ton of jockeying for position on the mat that ups the strategic jockeying in the game. There's mat-specific controls, and most are centered on the right analog stick. Essentially the idea on the ground is to continually improve your position on your opponent. To do so, you trace circles on the outside edge of the right analog stick. A successful motion (known as a transition) will mean you'll improve your position on your opponent. For example, when crouching above your opponent while your opponent is on his back, a successful transition might result in your fighter moving to half guard, side mount, or reverse mount. When a fighter is on his back, a successful transition means moving from guard to an escape or even to a submission (such as when catching the arm of your foe as he's punching and instantaneously transitioning to an arm lock submission). Defending against these transitions is also tied to movements on the right analog stick.

Submission attempts can happen at practically any time. To attempt a submission, you simply press the R3 button; if the attempt is successful, you'll transfer to a submission animation. The gameplay changes here dramatically--going from a cat and mouse game of careful feints into an all out frantic button masher. To submit an opponent (or defend against a submission attempt), you can either move the right stick around in rapid circles or press the face buttons like a madman.

It's those submission moves that did my right palm in. You see, it wasn't until later that I realized you could use the buttons to defend against submissions so, in my zeal to protect my fighter from a tapout, I palmed the top of the right analog stick and moved the stick around as fast as I could. It wasn't until an hour later that I realized that the motion was slowly eating away the skin of my palm, leaving a disgusting weeping wound in its place.

I spent the following weekend in pain and cursing the game's addictive nature, yet still not able to get it out of my head. I've played the game against other GameSpot editors since and it seems like no two fights have ended in the same way. From the time I accidentally leaned forward with Shogun Rua just as Shaun McInnis was throwing a vicious Chuck Liddell kick into his face, to the time I actually managed to make Homer Rabara's Shogun tap out while playing as Liddell, every fight in UFC Undisputed will have a storyline all its own. Considering the demo features just two fighters from the game's 80-plus-strong roster--each with his own combination of strength, stamina, and style--it seems like Undisputed's dead-serious focus on MMA styles and realism is paying gameplay dividends.

I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the roster once the game is released on May 19 to see how the different fighters play. The game's single player experience will have a career mode but, as with other fighting games, Undisputed's best chance at longevity is in making sure the online play is flawless and lag-free. The game's subtle and engaging fighting engine deserves that kind of extra special online attention.

One tip for THQ: You might want to consider packing in some sort of palm protectors once the game is released on May 19. FYI, I've heard UFC has some nice gloves available…

Written By

Want the latest news about UFC Undisputed 2009?

UFC Undisputed 2009

UFC Undisputed 2009

Follow

Discussion

107 comments
RaPPinGraNNy69
RaPPinGraNNy69

I love it. Can't wait for the full game to come out. The roster looks awesome and fighter detail is crazy. Defiantly picking it up in May. Cheers!

flinA42
flinA42

dont their heads snap a little too far back?

LIQUIDxOCELOT
LIQUIDxOCELOT

I have been playing the demo all day and i only have one problem with it... is ther any possible way to actually pull off a submission? Even on the "Begginer" difficulty it's impossible but as soon as i play on "Expert" its an even fight until I take down the computer then he just makes me tap...? I tried swirling around the R joystick and mashing the face buttons but still the computer rapes my soul when it come to submissions...-.-

Mason-McGlasson
Mason-McGlasson

I got the demo for the 360 last night (even though I have it preordered for PS3, GameStop only had the 360 demos). I downloaded it and played it for over 6hours. The games controls are great and I highly recommend completing the tutorial so you learn how to perform take downs, clinches, throws, transitions, and submissions. They are not hard to do and performing them feels great. If you do not do the tutorial you will more than likely be button smashing trying to figure out how to do take downs. Button smashers can play this game but will get destroyed by and experienced player (unless they score a lucky hit, btw those make the game amazing). This is easily one of the best fighting games I have ever played. I didn't get a blister on my hand as this guy has soft hands. My review of this game would be a 9.0/10 based off of the demo (the final game will probably be a 9.5/10 assuming the online is lag free, the career is well done/fun, and the create a fighter has depth. I wish I could try the online from the demo and see if it is any good. I will be playing the PS3 demo until the game comes out.

mechberg
mechberg

@MrG31 - Thanks for being "that guy". Fixed!

MrG31
MrG31

"...the four face buttons are tired to left..." I don't wanna be that guy, but there's a typo in your article. Any editing jobs available? J/k...Great article.

USMC_MARINE_88
USMC_MARINE_88

Im gonna whip some punani in this game...lol...cant wait to tear some one up...limb by limb!!

TheOneKrow
TheOneKrow

the demo is effing sick i played for hours and never got tired of the amazing gameplay and there are only 2 players to choose from... im definitely pickin this one up i got it preordered and cant wait to play as brock and kick some @$$!!!

secretagentman
secretagentman

I used to get those blisters in Mario Party for N64. So painful. I might pass on this game solely for that reason haha. Just kidding. But really I hope it turns out good.

gypsygib
gypsygib

Online will make or break this game.

eyet00th
eyet00th

Those screen shots look authentic. Never seen such realism!

Sh4n3
Sh4n3

Waiting in great anticipation. Been following this game for a while. Really glad to hear that it's shaping up well. Thanks for the little preview.

ScaryLemons
ScaryLemons

This game looks awesome and i cant wait to finaly play a game that i can hurt my hands with (other then guitar hero)

BigDog333187
BigDog333187

Why are homos that claim to hate the UFC even reading this? Idiots. Looks sick, but I'm not thrilled about the button mashing

twyz
twyz

This game looks pretty good. Too bad I hate UFC.

emacdaddy08
emacdaddy08

if he were to put a rating at the end of the article, it seems like he'd put an 8.5 or 9.0. thats awesome, i can't wait.

TimmyNude
TimmyNude

I used to hurt my thumbs when I played Mario Party on N64 and once or twice playing Fight Night on PS2.

Hotsora
Hotsora

I've been waiting for a decent UFC game since the disappointment of the first one on PS2. Can't believe this is actually looking sweet!

at26522
at26522

looks sick. not a fan of ufc but it looks like a sick fighter

Begley
Begley

no joke this game's givin me a hard-on, no homo

metalsledge
metalsledge

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

janson2185
janson2185

im pumped as hell for this game!! i cant wait

clay865
clay865

Its been too long....pride fighting was the last decent one..well decent might be a little much, but it was fun

XxF3ROCIOUSxX
XxF3ROCIOUSxX

im going crazy for this game the demo need to hurry up n come out

player_leo
player_leo

Yes, no pay-per views for me. I'll just recreate the main events with who ever I want to win.

chopstx667
chopstx667

Absolutely CAN'T wait for this game...I need the demo NOW!

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

Going to be......BEST FIGHTING GAME EVER MADE....I am so excited.

DKHardee
DKHardee

I can't wait for this game!!! I hope it has a good Create a Fighter, something better than the SDVR Series.

ratm247
ratm247

meh, its not so hot, ive seen better graphics in real life once.

bubnux
bubnux

I want it inside of me.

solidstein
solidstein

it looks awesome but i hope they can get the ground mechanics of the game to be awesome any game can get the boxing its the jiujitsu/sambo wrestling i mean you can shoot in and do a takedown on an opponet right they never said if you could???

jadefury27
jadefury27

Finally mma gets it's own version of fight night! can't wait.

JUSTBLAZE_928
JUSTBLAZE_928

Only decent game to look forward to in the next 3 months

Candyman90
Candyman90

as soon as the demo comes out it'll be the only thing I play until the actual game comes out... it looks great

Impaler0077
Impaler0077

This game looks pretty solid, but so did many other UFC games. Hopefully this doesnt disappoint

sexyfunkmaster
sexyfunkmaster

this game looks like it might knock FN of its fighting thrown... :P looks amazing, i like how the fighters looks so real and recognizable.

skinyman26
skinyman26

can't wait this game looks amazing

sLiPz1984
sLiPz1984

That injury takes me back to the original mario party. Winding up the mechanical shyguy was palm death!