UFC Undisputed 2010 Exclusive Hands-On

We go all three rounds in a look at the new gameplay and Career mode changes to this hit fighter.

Last year's UFC Undisputed was one of those critical and commercial successes that managed to put a smile on the face of everyone who played it. Sure, it was one of those primal grins that come as a direct result of knocking out a grown man with a single, solid kick to the head, but there's no denying that the game was well made. A year later, the question naturally arises: How do THQ and developer Yuke's go about improving the experience for 2010? The answer is an across-the-board scattering of tweaks and additions, whether they came from fan suggestions or were features that, for whatever reason, didn't quite make it into last year's game.

Perhaps the biggest area of focus for UFC Undisputed 2010 is the Career mode. Anyone who played the last game should find that to be great news because if there's one area where UFC 2009 fell short (aside from laggy online play at the time of release) it was those long stretches of tedium during Career mode when it felt like you were doing more menu navigation and e-mail reading than fighting. Aside from cleaning up the menus, the team is looking to improve Career mode by focusing on "player investment," to borrow a term from THQ's UFC project manager Neven Dravinski. Keeping you more invested in the career starts with the type of fighter you make on your own in create-a-fighter. Last year's game had you choose a striking style and a grappling style to define your character's fighting technique, but UFC 2010 is much more open to player customization. You can now select from a basic template of fighting styles then go in and manually choose every move your player is capable of performing in any given situation. You can mix and match various techniques to create a hybrid martial arts master who appears as though he's spent time training on every last corner of the globe. It's what Dravinski refers to as an "a-la-carte system" for giving players the chance to define their own player, and, thus, their own play style.

You've got a lot more control over the type of character you create on a visual level, as well. Tattoos and logos are added using a drag-and-drop technique, replacing last year's menu-heavy slot system. You can create custom colors, as well as choose from an expanded number of hairstyles and body types. You can also customize your various taunts, handshakes, and post-match outfits. Those choices can be as subtle as a pre-match glove-touching animation or as ostentatious as making a bright yellow martial arts gi to wear after a fight. You can create a character with an orthodox or southpaw stance and still choose his dominant hand regardless of that orientation. To make a long story short: There are a lot more options this year and a much more streamlined menu for choosing them.

But one of the create-a-fighter options that sheds the most light on what THQ and Yuke's want to do with Career mode is selecting your character's voice. As part of that whole player investment idea, the development team wants to paint a better picture of your fighter's personality to make you feel like you are part of his story. So instead of just hearing him grunt during matches, you'll hear conversations between your fighter and various other people during cutscenes that pop up throughout the course of your career. These include pre-fight pep talks from your trainer, as well as occasional appearances from UFC head Dana White when he drops by your gym with good news. You'll also have a chance to answer interview questions, as well as choose how respectfully you interact with the opponent you're facing during a big upcoming match in the weigh-in scenes.

Georges St. Pierre helps out Dan Hardy with some chiropractic adjustments

Career mode is also more of a rags-to-riches story this year. Last year's game immediately put you into the UFC, but now, you'll have to start in the lower level World Fighting Alliance (WFA)--the minor leagues, essentially. You'll once again battle your way up the totem pole, unlocking new sponsorships and working on your skills in sparring matches. The way you upgrade those skills is largely the same, but there are a few differences. You'll want to keep an eye on those skill levels because your stats will decay over time if neglected. In addition to that, your fighter will age, and the effects of previous fights will act as a big factor leading into your next match. But it's not all stuff that has a negative impact on you, as you've been given a number of other options, such as switching weight classes if you feel you've sufficiently dominated one weight level and taking part in discipline-specific training camps to really focus on certain techniques in a way you couldn't last year.

Other various and sundry additions punctuate the UFC Undisputed 2010 Career mode, but it's about time we talk about the gameplay. Last year's game successfully married deep combat with relatively simple (or at least intuitive) controls. That control scheme remains largely intact for 2010, though with a few changes. It's that same core control scheme, where your four limbs are mapped to the four face buttons, with modifiers for high/low attacks and a blocking ability. New this year is the ability to sway away from attacks with your feet firmly planted in place, contrasting with last year's side-stepping ability. Swaying is a simple matter of holding the right bumper, or R1, and moving the left stick. Imagine your fighter is on the left side of the screen. Moving left on the stick causes him to sway back; up will have him sway to his left; and down will have him sway to his right. It might be tough to wrap your head around at first, but we found it to be a simple system to learn with a controller in hand, as well as a pretty fun way to nimbly dodge attacks. There's also an interesting risk-reward element to it. For example, swaying to your right to avoid an opponent's right jab is helpful to you, but if you misread it and he's actually throwing a left, it can be pretty devastating.

The ground game is another area that's seen a lot of changes. The big one is that flash submissions are now a possibility, so if the dice roll your way during a random twist and turn on the ground, you might be able to quickly force your opponent to tap out much the same way you can quickly knock out an opponent in the first 10 seconds of a match if a punch is perfectly landed. A new indicator to let you know who's winning a submission hold is the way the camera zooms in if the one doing the holding is successfully applying increasing pressure and zooms out if the other guys is successfully countering a hold. In addition, the system of rapidly pressing buttons to get out of a hold has been done away with, as both players now must rapidly turn the right analog stick (no matter which side of the hold you're on) to win those scenarios.

Frank Mir has little respect for UFC 2010 cover star Brock Lesnar. Here, Mir demonstrates his game plan for Lesnar on UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin.

If flash submits are one way of keeping you alert during the ground game, the new ways of switching holds and positions are a couple of other means to that same end. Firstly, you can now switch the submission hold you're doing without first breaking the hold. You just go from one hold to the other, forcing your opponent to turn the analog stick in the opposite direction of what he was just doing if he wants to break free. Secondly, there's the new sub-position system. If you're on the ground pummeling someone, you can move your body back ever so slightly to get a somewhat different angle on him without fully changing positions. This gives the attacker more ways to contort his body and explore the best way to get leverage on his opponent if he doesn't want to fully switch positions on the floor.

Another key difference in gameplay is the effect of the cage. The caged boundaries of the octagon weren't a factor last year, but now, players can easily get pinned back when their backs gets too close to the wall. Naturally, this poses a dangerous challenge to anyone who's not in the dominant position in that situation. On a more subtle level, your neck can get craned to the side if you're on the receiving end of a ground-and-pound attack next to the cage, which makes it even more brutal to look at those scenarios. Helping that brutality is the fact that blood looks more realistic this year and can even play a role in the fight with the addition of doctor stoppages (those moments when a doctor steps in to determine if an injury is too severe to continue).

Finally, there's the roster. In addition to the names you've seen in screenshots and preorder deals, we can now confirm six previously unannounced fighters who are appearing in UFC 2010. Making for a mixed list of fighters who did and did not appear in the last game are Georges St-Pierre, Dan Hardy, Shane Carwin, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, and Clay Guida. Altogether, it looks like fans of UFC 2009 are in for a real treat this year, as an intriguing Career mode and some initially pleasing gameplay changes have us eagerly looking forward to the final game. You can expect it to arrive this May on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Discussion

87 comments
KungFuWantonToe
KungFuWantonToe

Looks like it has great potential.. Let's just hope that there aren't any online glitches this time, such as "Pulling your ethernet cable" which allowed tons of people to rise to the top of the leaderboards very easily and very quickly..

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

i pray dat dey maybe dis year take pity on us pc users and release it for pc also

kratos-lll
kratos-lll

Canada Georges St. Pierre :D looks like a great game :P

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

Just me or do some of the ufc fighters look a lil too big?

2pac1124
2pac1124

awsome game cant wait for it

Khaos_Kiwi
Khaos_Kiwi

Just being playing 09 A LOT lately. Cant wait for this! It looks so cool and all the improvements are going to be amazing! Ive been watching all the trailers and videos for it aswell. Im really looking forward to swaying to the side then knocking them out with a HUGE right hook!!!!!!!!!!

LiL_Bandit33
LiL_Bandit33

Dame love this game, tho the only thing that gets to me is the ageing...kinda gay but what can u do.

gamerdude1076
gamerdude1076

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

marty_boy_uk
marty_boy_uk

only thing that this game would need now to be almost perfect is gamer face, putting your on face on your created fighter, but still, one of my main must have games this year

ralphicous
ralphicous

I hope they have considered allowing the fighter in career mode to retire and make a come back as suppose in UFC 2009 once you have retired, your done then you have to go through all the hassle of creating another fighter.

SithChampion
SithChampion

Customization looks perfect. I like the respect/disrespect aspect at the weigh-in. Gameplay looks effin amazing.

Laxman816
Laxman816

@ikill4fun2: Yea but the Frank Mir / Shane Carwin pic... just isn't ringing any bells ;)

pinero23
pinero23

hold up a sec...thiago alves and gsp were in the first game...anyway this game looks sicker then the first i know i will be buying both ea sports mma and ufc 10, they look impressive and both have things in them i like

pinero23
pinero23

hold up a sec...thiago alves and gsp were in the first game...anyway this game looks sicker then the first i know i will be buying both ea sports mma and ufc 10, they look impressive and both have things in them i like

AszaultSin
AszaultSin

The customisation also looks awesome!

CTBradums
CTBradums

Props to the devs, indeed. They really stepped it up and fixed what was sorta lacking in 2009. The revamping of the career mode, and more personalization options (including the voices, realistic out-of-the-fight interaction, etc.) looks awesome.

lyricalsoldierb
lyricalsoldierb

this is gonna be the best fighting game ever....besides soul calibur....who needs weapons...haha.

Synnerate
Synnerate

Wow... Just can't wait!!! I just hope they added the choice to invite a friend to fight online...

ikill4fun2
ikill4fun2

LOL @ the GSP/Dan Hardy pic, thats exactly what happened. As for the game itself it looks awesome and should be the best fighting game around, EA's MMA has no chance once this hits the streets.

inferno394
inferno394

the hairy guys on this game are hot :D

Laxman816
Laxman816

Literally everything I was hoping for improvement or additions on from last year were talked about in this article, right down to the inclusion of Clay Guida. These guys really listen to their fans, props to the devs on this one.

Romschomp
Romschomp

Will there be a general manager mode?

LiL_Bandit33
LiL_Bandit33

Dame, this game is bad ass, the first one was alright, but now it looks like its going to be out of this world. pretty good, wounder how EA Sports mma is going to do,

Yarxing
Yarxing

looks awesome, I wanted to buy 2009, but now I'm going to wait for this one :D

clownbaby420
clownbaby420

GSP, Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves were all in 2009 btw

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

@Spartan-1657 It does look better than last years, the movement is really impressive, want a demo so I can test it out. Look like they really went all out on fixing what we all complained about.

metalkid9
metalkid9

I think I'd rather watch the real thing than play this.

piran_tata
piran_tata

im just happy they decided to sort out that menu, phew is it ever a mission in ufc 09

dark777888
dark777888

Just the short video clips make the game look amazing. Its gonna be more challenging and technical a game because its more up to real speed but it will be fine and great because it will play so much crisper.

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

Looks great. Even better than 2009. Looking forward to it.

samnov
samnov

Stupid animations... I want Euphoria!

chaldoboy14
chaldoboy14

Fighting still looks robotic, but definitely looks much better then last year. Faster gameplay, flash submissions, Havok engine, and from looks of it, MUCH BETTER MENUS THAT DON'T LOAD EVERY TIME YOU PICK SOMETHING. Something so little that irritated me, the load times. Well this looks amazing, but still not counting out EA MMA yet.

Ivek86
Ivek86

I just hope that it is better than the first one

irishdude199210
irishdude199210

was blown away by the first game, this one seems like its gonna blow me away again. absolutely cant wait for this one :D

Razrak
Razrak

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

notoriousdre88
notoriousdre88

Cant wait to pick this one up game is looking good.

VidGamAnonymous
VidGamAnonymous

If anyone still plays Fight Night (yeah right), put it away and get a UFC Undisputed game

soilface
soilface

@The_Enfamous_B All MMA fights end in stand up or on the ground... yeah I thought the controls in 09 felt stiff. Hope this one has a better feel.

LoserMike
LoserMike

World Fighting Alliance? I guess Zuffa finally found a use for it other than getting Rampage's and Machida's contracts. Too bad Zuffa is doing nothing with the Pride brand. Could've been cool to have stomps, soccer kicks, knees to the head when fighters are on the ground while fighting in a ring.

The_Enfamous_B
The_Enfamous_B

It looks like the counter catch is harder to pull off, it use to annoy me how someone wait for me to attack so they can throw. Most MMA fights end standing up or on the ground. As for EA MMA it looks like fight night round 4 with ground game, full of cheese and goofy looking animations.