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Xbox 360 Review: UFC Undisputed 2010

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Let's assume you purchased UFC 2010 new. Inside the case, you get a code for the online portion of the game. You boot the disc up, and wait patiently for it to connect to a server. Never mind that you may only want to embark on a single player career; the game must still try and authenticate your online pass.

A screen comes up that states there is new DLC available, so of course you hit the button, and are brought to a screen allowing you to purchase the online pass. A few clicks of A and you have purchased the pass, minus the code. Why? Because despite the best efforts of THQ's PR department to convince players otherwise, this is a hastily added feature. It was slapped together at the last minute to milk an additional five dollars from people who already pay $50 a year for the privilege of online play via Xbox Live. It would make sense to enter the code from the in game menu, but no, it must be done from the Guide or the Dashboard. Brilliant, not to mention deceptive.

And do not think this will not affect you. Even if you are uninterested in online play and think you can save some money picking up a used copy, THQ's decision causes extensive waits at the main menu every time the game is booted. This slow server response is caused from the fact that everyone who boots up is forced through the same process. There is no "I'm not interested" option anywhere. Get used to that picture of Brock Lesnar on the title screen; you'll be seeing a lot of it.

It's a shame the hardworking developers who crafted such a superb MMA simulation are stuck taking the brunt of an idiotic, short-sighted corporate money grab. Unfortunately for them, this is the end product, sadly now flawed before people are even allowed to throw a punch.

Beyond the business side of the title, Undisputed 2010 does what all yearly sports titles do. They play with the fundamentals, add modes, and tweak settings. There is no doubt collision detection has been improved. Watching a left hook sickly connect to another fighter's skull is unnervingly satisfying. The lack of clipping, perfect reaction on the receiving end, and limp body as it drops to the mat make for a flashy brawler.

Unfortunately, that happens too often. Where flash knockouts were a rarity last year, in 2010, the majority of standing fights will end this way. It does not have to be an overly aggressive punch either. Some small crosses send fighters crumbling to the ground as is they were hit by a truck, the physics hardly making any sense. The same goes for cuts, which open after only a few shots to the face. Eager to show off the improved blood engine (eww), the developers let red liquid fly more often here than in many Mortal Kombat titles.

The inclusion of a refined career mode (raised from a five-year to a 12-year cap) means more to manage, including extensive advertising options, additional coaches, training camps, countless skill meters, and more. It is a constant battle to keep up, the story-driven approach at times in-tune with the WWE titles from THQ. Statistics deteriorate at an alarming pace if you do not train them specifically between fights, rather ridiculous since a fighter could very well train in striking one day, and grappling the next during a given week. That is not an option here.

Undisputed's presentation is also considerably ramped up. Digital models of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan introduce the new Event mode, which allows you to set up your own pay-per-view with up to eight matches. It even includes the cheap dollar-store gladiator costume video promo that has started all of the UFC fight events for about 10-years now. Hey, here's an idea: why not take all of the extra money earned from the online portion of the game and create a new gladiator promo for the show? At least then it serves a purpose.

UFC Undisputed 2010 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS3.


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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.