UFC Undisputed Release Day Throwdown

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Chip and I both took the afternoon off of work yesterday for our plannned UFC Undisputed Throwdown 2009.  We made a careful list of matchups.  Focusing on getting the most out of our first day of the game.  We wanted even matchups, things we would love to see, nothing cliche, and for the most part fighters we eithier love or hate.  First impressions from the demo for both Chip and myself were “OMG this game could be the best thing ever!”.  Playing the full version we now see that for the most part we were correct.  The player models are amazing with very few exceptions (Coleman, Herring, Leben, Serra, other that guys that seem to “not matter”).  The gameplay for what a dynamic sport MMA is, is as close perfect as possible for a first try.  I do have a few gripes… but the 10 solid hours we spent playing yesterday were well spent.  Here are some high and low lights from our battles, I am sure we will be posting more.

We decided Coleman looks like either a 16 year old boy, or Frank Trigg.

Chip subing me as BJ Penn to prove a point…

BJ (Tony) getting KTFO by the far superior striking of GSP.

Chip putting the GnP on me.

Chip as Wandy putting the Kimura (and something else) on Tito.

Chip subing me yet again.  Small gripe: Cro Cops kicks are weak.  In fact, all characters that have physical advantages in real life have no real advantage in the game.  You have the basic speed/power in striking and the abilities in the submission game, but there is no REAL advantage with one fighter over another.  There should be a more tangible difference besides GSP and Siva are fast as hell and Hughes can slam the hell out of you.  And so help me Chip if you do the closed gaurd slam again I am going to drive to your house and set you car on fire.

Our BJJ only match obviously went to Chip who probably played the demo 60 hours compared to my 30.  I have also noticed that it is impossible to write about the submission tactics in the game without it sounding totally perverse.  For example: “Hopefully my submission handwill be recovered by later tonight so I can work him over.”  There are two basic tactics for both stopping and completing subs: mash the buttons or twist the right stick.  Twisting works better with skilled jitsu dudes.  Mashing works with strong wrestlers.  At least thats what it seems like to me.

Only one of two KO victories for Tony.  Lauzon over the little Diaz.

I was pulverizing Chip (Evans) with Rampage, then he pulled off a perfectly timed right hook.

We both played some online matches against other people and those went well.  We both won and lost a couple.  Not very much lag at all.  When there was lag no one seemed to gain too much of an advantage.

Another gripe: the menus take FOREVER to load.  This is especially suck when you have to exit out of a multiplayer match to change the weight class you are choosing fighters from.  Similar to the map problem in Gears.  When a multiplayer friend match is over you can hit start and choose “request rematch” which is a very helpful feature but nothing tells you that the option is there.  We stumpled upon it by accident.

Besides the multiplayer versus matches, the classic fight recreation mode is excellent.  Tons of HD video talking about the fights, trailers and highlights.  Very cool for fans of the sport and almost like a highlight history film for some of the best matchups ever.  You have to pull of the KO/specific sub or win going to judges decision by the winner of that classic fight.  A very cool idea and executed well.  Small gripe… MORE CONTENT PLEASE.  I think there are only 12 classic matches.  Seriously there should be about 30.  I hope they dont miss an opportunity for DLC here.  I also hope its free.  Based on what I have seen on XBL and UFC.com, I would not bet on anything being free.

Last gripe:  Career mode.  Now I only played an hour or so of it, which includes about 20 mins to make my character but I am 99% sure I will never touch the mode again.  Manage sponsors and read emails and newsletters from Dana White?  I bought this game to fight.  Not to spar.  Not to allocate points.  Not to look at logos.  Not to buy new tattoos.  Not to sell tshirts.  This is coming from a guy who was fully obsessed with career mode in the frist three Fight Night games in college.  If you are going to include all that reading and annoying managment at least provide a “Skip to the fun part” button.  That or make a spinoff game called UFC Head Coach.

I had high hopes for the create a character because the player models so sharp and accurate.  Aftering going the the process and every option available it is clear that the intent is to let you make “a” character but to not allow to make “any” character.  It is clear to me there are various traits, especially hair and body shape that prevent you from making certain fighters from other promotions.  I am sure some people are going to come up with great versions but the game prevents you from getting them just right.  It is not meant to be an empty canvas and it does not need to be, but I think it should be said that there is a clear lack of choices that prevent you from creating some well known fighters that exist outside the UFC.

Conclusion… despite my 4/24 win-loss record against Chip, I love this game.  Like most in MMA, just I need to work more on my JuJitsu.  I did win a couple of great split decisions near the end of the evening which made me feel good.  Hopefully Chip was not just messing with me.  Yes, he is that good.  I will post more pics later.

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