UFC 2010 Undisputed Demo Impressions

Posted May 7th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

It was discussed at length in the last Padrecast but I thought it would be a good idea to lay down some of my impressions of the UFC 2010 Undisputed demo as well. While the changes and improvements are subtle while watching videos such as the ones I posted earlier they are much more evident while playing. As with last year’s demo debut 2010’s has been strikingly fun, somewhat confusing and overwhelming, but extremely rewarding as improvement is made.

It had been a while since I had played UFC, so one of the first things I did was pull up the controls menu. Really…it does no good. There are just too many situations where the controls change and are dependent on different positioning. It can’t be learned by looking over the controls, it has be done through feel. That is how I improved last year, and it has been the same method in this demo. I learn something new in every single fight that then starts to become second nature as I utilize it from then on and that provides a very rewarding feeling.

While it can seem overwhelming the game continues to hold that fun factor even for novices. They can go in and just try for a knockout, but against an experienced opponent they’ll be handled easily. Still, the possibility of landing a lucky shot can hold that interest and lead to an exhilarating conclusion.

The differentiation with the fighters is even more evident this year. Just a couple observations: Rampage is a knock-out machine and utilizes powerful uppercuts, Rashad Evans is really difficult to take down, Shogun goes for tons of submissions while on the ground, and Machida is a masterful kicker and has a nearly unstoppable takedown move.

The flash knockouts are still there and I love that element of the game. There is nothing more exciting than knowing the fight could end at any moment, whether that be in your favor or not. Last year they happened maybe a little too often and felt a little too random, then the patch came and they were scaled back too much. Remembering that these four fighters are among the best in the UFC I don’t have a problem with the rate of flash knockouts. It should be noted though that I still have yet to have a fight go to the judges so maybe a little more balance is needed.

It seems as though the punishment each fighter can take is more realistic this year. In UFC 2009 you could lay into an opponent on multiple occasions and they would just take it. Short bursts are more effective this time around and it is more important to protect yourself. Fighting defensively can be a reasonable strategy now.

One of the biggest enhancements for 2010 is the ability to use the cage. The fighters can lean up against it and they can push off it. Having the cage play into fights is important because it restricts space and provides options. Attempting a takedown last year would end up with the fighters sliding down the non-existent cage and now it could prevent the takedown from even being completed.

Some work seems to have gone into improving the blood effects, there is much more and it spreads over different areas in more realistic fashion. The problem is that it seems that they’ve gotten cut-happy. There hasn’t been a single demo play-through where one of the fighters lasted more than literally a minute or two before they were cut. An announcer would mention a cut early every fight and that ended up eventually leading to laughter in the inevitability of it.

There are some weird looking collisions, generally when both fighters attempt a strike at the same time. I wish those could be cleaned up but I think we’re stuck with them for this year. There have been instances where I’ve had no idea what just happened…if either one of us had been damaged by the exchange. Its like the animations speed up slightly to get past that awkward period, it just looks sloppy.

One thing that has bothered me is the CPU’s insistence to push the tempo. I constantly feel like I’m backpedaling and trying to create space, while the CPU continually pushes forward. There should be more balance there and not the pressure to just come up close and trade blows.

The framerate while coming out of the corners slows down. This is a minor issue as it doesn’t end up affecting the gameplay. But for those few seconds after coming out of the corners it is noticeable.

Though I’m not a huge fan of the “shine” method of spinning the sticks in submission situations, I understand the need to remove the button mashing. People were using turbo controllers, this at least prevents that from happening again.

The overall atmosphere and presentation really does a good job of replicating that of a UFC broadcast. The announcing is fluid, natural, and generally accurate, while the on-screen graphics and music is exactly what is used in the UFC. The only thing missing are the fighter entrances.

Once again THQ has delivered an incredibly fun demo experience, one that provides a great opportunity to not just evaluate the improvements but also improve your skills in the process. As overwhelming as the controls are for UFC being given a month to get comfortable with the game and improve is incredibly valuable. It seemed to pay off last year in sales and consumer response and will likely again this year. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the demo in the comments!

For previous demo coverage: PadrecastVideos vs CPUVideos Head to Head