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UFC 2009: Undisputed Review (X360)

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


UFC 2009: Undisputed Review (X360)
Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC in particular have exploded in popularity over the last four years ever since Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin beat the snot out of each other at the finale of the first season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show. Amazingly enough, instead of rushing a so-so videogame out to market ASAP (like pretty much every other hot license), the UFC and THQ have been very smart and patient and took their time to make the best game possible. The wait has been agonizingly long, but it has been worth it. UFC 2009: Undisputed is finally out, and it is spectacular.
Game Details

  • Publisher: THQ
  • Developer: Yuke’s
  • Also On: PS3
  • ESRB Rating: “T’ for Teen
  • Genre: Mixed Martial Arts Fighting
  • Pros: Great roster of fighters; amazing gameplay; solid commentary; no two fights are ever the same; satisfying career mode; good presentation
  • Cons: A bit lacking in modes; no penalty for quitting online; steep learning curve


The glue that holds everything in UFC 2009: Undisputed together is the incredibly deep gameplay. It is complex and has a very steep learning curve, but without the complex controls and insane depth it wouldn’t be close to realistic. Before you do anything, we highly recommend you play through the tutorial. It is easy to throw punches and kicks and basic stuff in the game, but you’ll need to know how to work the ground game or how to escape a Muay Thai clinch or defend a takedown if you want to succeed. Do the tutorial.

The controls take some getting used to, to put it simply. The four face buttons control your four limbs. By holding the left trigger you’ll attack the body/legs while holding the left bumper lets you do power shots and really attack the head. The right stick plus a left shoulder/bumper button lets you get into a standing clinch or shoot in for a takedown. On the ground, different movements on the right stick let you make transitions and get into better positions for some ground and pound or a submission attempt. Defensively, the right trigger blocks low and the right bumper blocks high, and there are also defensive counter moves for everything in the game, and learning how and when to use them will make the difference between a win and a loss.

That only scratches the surface, but you get the gist. What all of this means is that you have a ton of different attacks and techniques you can use during a fight. Also, depending on what styles your fighter uses (boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai on the feet and wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and judo on the ground) and what styles your opponent uses, you have to use drastically different tactics to win in each and every fight. If you are fighting a skilled wrestler you’ll need a good takedown defense. If you are fighting a Muay Thai master you need to know how to get out of the clinch or your night will end early after you eat a few dozen knees to the face. Different match ups and different styles mean that every single fight is going to be different in how you approach both offense and defense. All of this combined with the fact that there are about fifty different ways to end a fight means that no two fights are ever going to be exactly the same. And that is a good thing.

A couple more notes. The ground stuff is really complicated and if you want to be an effective ground & pound or submission fighter you really need to work at it. Because of this you’ll likely find that most players online choose to stay standing so it will be to your benefit to get really good on the ground. It takes a lot of work, but the reward will be worth it. Also, submissions are ridiculously hard to do against the CPU. They’re easy against humans, though. A little tweak to the A.I. would make a big difference here.

Features and Modes

UFC 2009 features 80 real fighters who all look and fight just like they do in real life. There are a few notable omissions as some fighters didn’t want to be in the game, but pretty much everyone who made an impact over the last few years in the real sport is here.

You can use any of the real fighters as well as your created fighters in exhibition matches. There are also a handful of classic fights you can take part in (Griffin v. Bonnar, Ortiz v. Liddell, etc.) and each one has interviews and video clips taken from the real fights to get you hyped up. You earn rewards for finishing the classic fights in the same way they ended in real life, but you can play them out however you want.

Multiplayer is also available, of course, in both local an Xbox Live play. Local play works perfectly and flawlessly. Online play is a little bumpier. The game isn’t super smooth online and lag rears its ugly head and spoils fights more often than we’d like. Also, there is no penalty for people that disconnect in the middle of a fight, which is absolutely inexcusable. People, don’t be a jerk. Take your loss like a grown up and move on. Don’t disconnect just to protect your imaginary record that means, literally, nothing in the real world.

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