UFC 2009 Undisputed review

  • Controls are great
  • Career mode is deep, solid
  • Attention to detail
  • Loading times
  • Presentation could use extra gloss
  • Why no unlockable fighters?

During the demo appointments leading up to Undisputed’s release, we knew we were seeing something good. The tactical, yet undeniably brutal sport (if it’s recognized by many state athletic commissions then yes, it is a sport) is rendered the best it’s ever been in digital form. From the striking to the grapple contests, Exhibition to Career mode, UFC 2009 Undisputed is a great game for sports and fighting fans alike.

What we mean is that the controls are simple AND complex enough to feel like an arcade AND sports sim. Fans of Fight Night Round 3 should love the lack of HUD, the realistic bruising, the bloody cuts, the way the mouthpiece flies after a fierce superman punch, the incredibly detailed fighters and the spot-on controls. And while Undisputed lacks cheesy sparks that emit after a punch and stupid anime intros, there is certainly enough in the way of straight brawling and complex grappling to satisfy even the combo-obsessed fighter enthusiast.

Above: How non-fans see UFC (sans Wolverine, of course)

Above: How actual fans see UFC

The Controls
We’ve gone in-depth on how the controls work on our last preview, but let’s give you a quick refresher. On the 360, the left trigger and bumper modify head and body strikes, while the right trigger and bumper block for the head and body respectively. Face buttons correspond to each limb (X for a left punch, B for a right kick), with the modifiers indicating how you throw the strikes. Body shots and quick strikes wear down the opponent by injuring him or lessening his stamina and power. High attacks can knock him the f*ck out.

Add to that the grapple controls, initiated with flicking the right stick. Grappling or clinch holds are triggered with a tap towards the opponent. Flicking up or down counters your opponent’s clinch and flicking away at the right time will block your opponent as he shoots towards you. Used in combination with the modifier buttons and you can either attempt a takedown or clinch (which looks like hugging), but really means you have a grasp on your opponent and try to wear him down with knees and elbows. Of course, your goal is to get the other guy on the mat, get in and control him through a series of transitions and hopefully make him submit.

Above: Do you understand the controls yet?

We haven’t even begun to discuss the minor and major transition controls (requiring quarter-circle right stick gestures) to gain control over your opponent, but that serves to highlight how overwhelming the controls can feel. Like our preview appointments, it was difficult to wrap our head around blocks, reversals, transitions, clinching, when to strike the body, when to block our face from getting rocked and more. Quite simply, there is a shit-ton to keep track of. But no matter, these worries fall away the more you play. And soundly beating the crap out of another guy will be a walk in the park.

We recommend the following to get used to UFC: please for the love of god, go through the tutorial mode when you start the game. Tutorial will go through all various controls, moves and situations. Next, play some exhibition matches, get your ass kicked, go through Practice mode and wail on some dummy, before doing a couple more exhibition matches. You’ll feel your skills improving and gain more confidence. Maybe you’re knocking guys out quicker? Maybe your mat game looks less like a homoerotic dance of sweaty tickles and more like an intense chess game of reversals. Once you get your game up, then you’re ready for the big time, kid.

More Info

Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Fighting
Published by: THQ
Developed by: THQ
Franchise: UFC
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Blood, Language, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • lethalcodeine - June 18, 2009 1:29 a.m.

    There are three unlockable characters that I know of: Skyscrape, Mask, and Punkass. The guys from Tapout. Not really ideal characters, but at least there are a few. I think the stand-up game is almost flawless, but the ground game is ok at best. I am getting used to it though.
  • sadisticgrizzz - June 4, 2009 4:44 p.m.

    just rented game and i must say its more deep than what i thought, which is why i like it. no button mashing is gonna help here just ALOT of practice
  • KingKnockout54 - June 2, 2009 3:15 p.m.

    i have this game,i love this game,one word describes it.......INCEDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • auszyboii375 - May 23, 2009 11:26 a.m.

    i just bought this game and i love it.. though i reckon the blood could be better, and there should be unlockable fighters and legends such as couture, loading could be quicker and if they spent more time on the career. but overall its great and the graphics are mint!! must have for UFC fans.... XD
  • BadVintage - May 19, 2009 2:30 a.m.

    My wife finds games immature and a waste of time... Ijust got my 360 15 days ago and found that demo for UFC... downloaded it... handed the controller to my wife... now she's more impatient than me to get this game... to get a game that my wife would enjoy... Who'd a thought it would be UFC Undisputed...??? this could be the start of somehting big...
  • Red - May 18, 2009 1:19 p.m.

    Me and a friend of mine downloaded the demo and probably played it over and over more than a dozen times. It's fairly entertaining considering how complex the controls are. I don't even like UFC, and I hate sports games, so it's a surprise for me.
  • Cernunnos - May 18, 2009 10:48 a.m.

    played the shit out of the demo, gotten pretty good with shogun rua if i may say so myself. gonna play the shit out of this as well.
  • TheHumbleSlave - May 16, 2009 7:42 a.m.

    @Cheeze16: If you love UFC, then how can we trust that it deserves more than an 8? Your opinion can be just bias.
  • C-C-C-C-ComboCro - May 16, 2009 5:52 a.m.

    i love GR reviews because they have the section where the compare the game in question to similar games. it really gives you a feel of what the game is like.
  • BubbaLsL - May 16, 2009 12:38 a.m.

    Already have mine pre-ordered at Gamespot ( I just had to have the 2 extra fighters). I have the Strategy guide already on its way (should be here at least a day before the game comes out). The demo itself has been played more than any other demo I have. This game is going to rock!!!
  • DasavageJ - May 15, 2009 9:24 p.m.

    and now Im glad I didn't. Would have felt like a thief. lol sorry for double
  • Ocelot - May 15, 2009 9:21 p.m.

    interesting review, Fight Night 3 had loooong loads for seemingly normal menus
  • spliffsucker93 - July 22, 2009 1:25 a.m.

    best party game ever
  • adrianpeterson - July 17, 2009 1:13 p.m.

    My sister never plays video games and neither does my dad but they both LIVE this game. INCREDIBLE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
  • nightjacobs - June 17, 2009 6:19 a.m.

    great game but the ground game is awful
  • Benji - June 16, 2009 5:37 a.m.

    Best Game EVER....!
  • xboxgirl - May 20, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    absolutely loving this game. especially the CAF and career modes - going through and managing all the pre-fight training and setting up fights and growing their career is alot of fun. definitely a must-have in my book.
  • bonerachieved - May 19, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    BONER ACHIEVED! I've played the XBL demo over and over.
  • bron1417 - May 19, 2009 7:09 p.m.

    me and my brother love the demo so i'll hopefully get this sometime soon.
  • Mackster-901 - May 18, 2009 9:14 p.m.

    i agree wiv realybored coz im a big fan 2 and wen i fink of ufc i fink of brock lesnar kikin da shit outa sum1 else

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000