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


  • DasavageJ - May 15, 2009 9:22 p.m.

    Sweet, for some odd reason I would like to the this depth of physical combat in a Metal Gear title, anyway nice review (although it was more like instructions but hey still good). Thanks again GR I wanna say it but I won't!!! =)
  • - May 15, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    Cool, I tried the demo but all I could manage were punches and kicks without any of the fancy stuff and I couldn't figure out how to run haha Good in-depth review by the way
  • Cheeze16 - May 16, 2009 1:29 a.m.

    This game is amazing, Im a big UFC fan. It deserved more than an 8.
  • TheHumbleSlave - May 16, 2009 7:46 a.m.

    I'm sorry, I mean biased.
  • Ryanell - May 17, 2009 4:45 a.m.

    Im a g
  • realybored666 - May 18, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    i completely understand the picture that says "how non-fans see ufc" but i dont get the pic where it says "how actual fans see ufc" im a big fan and i think its awesome
  • Mackster-901 - May 18, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    ive played the demo and i cant stop playin it its such a good game and im definatly gettin the game
  • 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
  • bron1417 - May 19, 2009 7:09 p.m.

    me and my brother love the demo so i'll hopefully get this sometime soon.
  • bonerachieved - May 19, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    BONER ACHIEVED! I've played the XBL demo over and over.
  • 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.
  • Benji - June 16, 2009 5:37 a.m.

    Best Game EVER....!
  • nightjacobs - June 17, 2009 6:19 a.m.

    great game but the ground game is awful
  • 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
  • spliffsucker93 - July 22, 2009 1:25 a.m.

    best party game ever
  • Ocelot - May 15, 2009 9:21 p.m.

    interesting review, Fight Night 3 had loooong loads for seemingly normal menus
  • 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
  • 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!!!
  • 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.
  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

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