Wanderlei Silva vs Rampage Jackson UFC 2009 Undisputed

Look familiar?

Absurd licensing agreements aside, the majority of us are looking forward to the release of the UFC’s newest video game, UFC 2009 Undisputed. So far, we’ve seen the life-like graphics and quite a few videos of the game in action. However, what’s really going to determine if this game is just a prettier version of UFC: Sudden Impact or if it’s the Madden of MMA video games will be the gameplay.

Unfortunately, since we’re not a heavily trafficked video game review site, I didn’t get a chance to give the game a whirl, however, two of the biggest sites in the business did, and they released detailed reports yesterday on their impressions.

Gamespot gives us the scoop on how the controls work.

The version we were able to check out featured four new fighters, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir, and Rashad Evans, in addition to the two we’d seen before, Forrest Griffin and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The playable characters featured a mix of disciplines that showcased the game’s fighting system, which is still being refined. The basics of the system assign right and left punches and kicks to the face buttons, with blocking, specials, and attack modifiers being mapped to the shoulder buttons and bumpers. You’ll use the right stick to initiate grapples and follow up with different movements on the right stick to adjust your positioning and maneuver around your pinned enemy. The system offers a good amount of flexibility, although at the moment it takes some getting used to. You’ll perform the various adjustments and repositioning with circular motions on the right analog stick, which can be tricky to gauge. The stick also comes into play for countering, which, once initiated, requires you to quickly spin the stick around. Developer Yuke’s is trying some interesting things with the system that seem to have potential.

Here’s a few excerpts from IGN.com’s very detailed report. There’s a lot more I would have liked to include, so make sure you head over to IGN to check out the whole thing.

Last night we got our hands on UFC 2009 Undisputed for the first time, and, while the game’s still far from complete and its control scheme has yet to be finalized, we can safely say that this game has all the makings of a future champ.

Each fighter is assigned a striking style and a grappling style that dictates his moves in the Octagon, and each style is packed with a very nice amount of variety. However, gamers won’t have to worry much about which type of punch or kick to throw at which range, as the game’s AI automatically gauges the situation and triggers the appropriate strike animation…

The power behind each strike is also handled “under the hood”, as the game’s physics engine calculates a wide range of factors in determining the effects of each strike. So, there’s no need for gamers to worry about throwing power punches versus jabs and the like – the game will automatically throw the appropriate punch based on your fighter’s current stamina, his range to his opponent, and that opponent’s stamina and movement, and the results will vary accordingly…

The game’s grappling system was a main emphasis of our first fight, as Griffin ended the fight with a beautifully executed kimura arm lock. Once a fighter has initiated a takedown (using the L2 button and pressing the right stick towards his opponent) he’s got a wide variety of maneuvers at his disposal. Not only can he initiate a submission hold (performed by clicking on the right stick) and pound on his opponent with punches (and knees if he’s in an appropriate position), he can also work to transition to a more advantageous grappling position, just like your favorite UFC fighters do live.

Two different transition types are available once you’ve gone to the ground, minor transitions, which take your fighter to the next most advantageous position from where he’s currently situated (like passing from half guard into side control), and major transitions, which basically skip one step and transition your fighter to an even more advantageous position (like moving from side control to a full mount). Of course, just like in a real UFC contest, just because a fighter’s on his back doesn’t mean he’s helpless. Fighters who find themselves on their back also have the ability to throw punches and work for transitions and submissions of their own, allowing gamers to pull rubber guard on their opponent or time their opponent’s punches, click in the right stick and initiate an armbar while under attack.

Too bad all the drama surrounding the licensing agreement has put such a damper on it, because the game sounds like it’s going to be incredible. I can handle it being delayed if it means fighters aren’t getting screwed, but man, what I wouldn’t give to play next weekend’s fights before they happen. How would that be for a Countdown show?