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Marking the first UFC game to grace consoles since the underdeveloped and half hearted effort of the 2004 title, "UFC: Sudden Impact" for the Ps2 [1], UFC Undisputed 2009 weighs in heavy handed and comes into the genre swinging! As THQ's first UFC game since acquiring the license from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) back in 2007, UFC 2009 sports over 100 different UFC personalities from fighters to ring girls while stressing authenticity and the, "as real as it gets" attitude that turned a once dormant and underground organization into a billion dollar industry today.

Graphics / Presentation (9 / 10)
At first glance UFC 2009 is impressive. The graphics are sharp and crisp and the animations are fluid and smooth. According to the official UFC 100 magazine, each of the 80 fighters were mapped out using high definition photography and the latest in motion capturing technology. THQ also went on record stating that each individual fighter took on average 7 weeks to develop and the results speak for themselves. In addition to impressive character likeness and movement, the cut effects and graphical sweat are pretty sweet too adding a solid all around feel to the game.

Game Play / Controls (8 / 10)
When the it comes to game play UFC 2009 handles like a pro. Though the controls are difficult to manage at first due to the large amount of movement possibilities from various standing / ground positions the overall feel comes natural over time. The actual fighting is deep too and can get pretty technical with movements, brute-counters, and skilled reversals or can play out as a simple toe to toe slug fest depending on the opponent. Though the game play and control overall is great, it isn't entirely without frustration as some aspects of the octagon were completely excluded. There simply isn't any cage game or benefits to pinning an opponent against the cage itself leaving many tactical opportunities unexplored. Also, occasionally strikes, punches or kicks, don't visibly hit an opponent but still caused damage. The most humorous I experienced personally was in a match between middleweight contender Rich Franklin when I threw a wicked hook that on the replay missed by a good 6 inches but caused a knockout anyhow. It totally looked like some mad WWE action with Rich spitting blood as he threw the fight! Finally, there is no player controlled instant replay feature at all which just made the game feel hollow. Though there were some "fight highlights" between rounds there were definitely some hits I would have loved to see again and again on my own. Additionally, a feature where I could have saved those replays for future showing or upload would have been wonderful.

Game Modes (7 / 10) [Scores of game modes listed below = 42 / 50 or 0.675 * 100 = 67.5 rounded up]

Overall UFC 2009's major drawback is the depth of its features. The game modes include your standard exhibition match where 2 fighters from the same weight class go at it, a create a fighter career mode, famous fights, and an on line option as well.

Exhibition (7.5 / 10)
Not a whole lot to say here. Basically your standard quick play with the only drawback being of not being able to fight fighters from different weight classes. Sorry fans, no BJ Penn vs Lesnar this go around.

Create a Character (7.5 / 10)
The create a character career mode I felt was definitely fun but struggles right out the gate. The initial creation suffers from somewhat limited graphical options for the character itself and any tattoos added disable the character from on line play. It's funny because there's nothing you can tattoo on your character that your not going to hear on LIVE anyhow. Anyways, a lot of the physical characteristics looked too similar and there were only 6 set fighting styles to chose from, 3 striking and 3 ground. Also, the characters never age! My first create a character I made I set his age at 18 thinking it would extend my career length until I had to retire but discovered that as the years went by, my age, as well as everyone else's, stayed exactly the same. Sure, 15 years into a career and now 38 year old Dan Henderson would be a youthful 53 but character retirements and randomly generated new talents emerging would have made the career mode fantastic. Finally, there's a difficulty issue that arises at about your 9th or 10th fight when you finally make the jump from UFN to UFC that was extremely frustrating. Even on beginner, once you hit the UFC it's dang hard to win your first few fights! I came into the UFC at a menacing 9 wins all coming by way of knock out with 0 losses, and I was ready to smash some famous high definition skulls! However, submission after submission, and knockout after knock out, I found myself sitting at a pathetic and barely professional 10-7. Oh, and I broke my controller after wailing on some nobody only to get knee locked?! Who knee locks these days!? Anyhow, I put a picture up on my blog if you're interested [3]. Anyhow, afterwards and with new controller in hand, I went on a tear and ended my career at 30 – 7 before being told as a 18 year old that I woudn't be medically cleared to fight once my contract expired.....riiiiiiigght. Finally, there is no switching between weight classes for whatever reason and defending my title year after year against the same 3 or 4 contenders got pretty stupid pretty quick. Overall, the create a character mode is fun and allows you to import a character for exhibition matches but definitely could be better.

Famous Fights (6/10)
The "famous fights" option pits you against a computer opponent with the objective of playing out a famous fight from UFC history. Examples include Griffin vs Bonnar in the TUF 1 season finale with the objective of winning with Forrest by decision or Rampage vs Liddel and winning by 1st round KO. The reward of completing the fights as described is an unlockable video highlighting the original fight itself but nothing else. I felt with an Internet connection and youtube I could just watch the same thing without the effort and so after my first success I moved on to the more thrilling aspects of the game.

Online (6 / 10)
Right now it really isn't entirely fair to judge the issues that players playing online are currently encountering as THQ has a patch in the works. However, until then, UFC 2009 suffers from players disconnecting before registering a loss, bad lag issues, and a somewhat unbalanced feel when competing.

Fun Factor (7.5 / 10)
Straight forward, UFC 2009 at times is a blast to play but isn't nearly as deep as it could be. Some fights have you standing with your face 6 inches from the screen and cheering in excitement while others have you jumping like a crazed ninja raining down death from above as your controller bursts into a thousand Microsoft parts! Yeah, I busted my controller good. Anyhow, with THQ reporting a patch in the works [4 for patch notes], hopefully some elements of the game will improve, and with the option of downloadable content there's always the possibility of something exciting around the corner.

Overall (31.5 from adding total category scores / 40 possible = 0.78 * 100 = 78/100 or 8 out of 10)
Overall, UFC 2009 is a great start to what could potentially be an amazing game series. Anyone with any experience watching or fighting mixed martial arts knows that the depth and complexity of incorporating so many styles and techniques into a game is staggering and THQ did an great job for their first attempt. In the end, UFC 2009 is gorgeous and smooth, generally entertaining, and a good play with company but there is definitely some room for improvement especially when it comes to the depth of the game.

Final Verdict: Get it if your a MMA or UFC fan, otherwise rent it before you commit.

Suggestions: I would have loved to have seen some sort of story option in the career mode, possibly based off of a character personality type. For example, your story mode might play out differently if you were a clean cut type fighter vs a hard case, or allowing the player to chose options from various scenarios would have been amazing! Also, there needs to be more venues! Even if you started fighting in some back alley bar octagon with a torn up and blood stain mat all while crazed bikers bang on the cage in the background! Oh and entrance music? Come on, that would have been easy and added a lot of flare to the game too. Then the fighting in the same weight class nonsense needs to go! Fighters change weight classes all the time so why not include it in the game? Finally, learnable moves would have been a cool option too instead of limiting them to certain styles, or even the ability to eventually train in another style altogether would have been sick! So get to it for the next go around!

[1] http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/ufcsuddenimpact/index.html?tag=result;title;0

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufc

[3] http://www.gamespot.com/users/-Saigo-/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25702609&tag=all-about;blog1

[4] Patch notes: http://www.gamespot.com/sports/blogs/sports-blog/909097139/26948633/ufc-2009-unleashed-details-on-the-upcoming-patch.html