UFC 2009: Undisputed (360)

While THQ is known for their wildly successful WWE games, this new UFC title is more Fight Night than Smackdown. It's slower-paced and more methodical when it comes to approaching fights, and includes a deep roster that's sure to please fans of MMA . However, the gameplay isn't quite exciting or intuitive enough to appeal to non-fans. Therefore, if you don't own an Affliction shirt, spike your hair up, have freakish orange skin, or frequent the Power & Light District, this might not be the game for you.

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The importance of Undisputed's tutorial can't be understated - it's an absolute necessity if you wish to learn the game's mechanics. Every face button is assigned to a strike command, and the more advanced grapples and submissions are handled by using shoulder buttons and the analog sticks. When you have your opponent on the ground, you can even use the stick to adjust your positioning so you can gain an advantage. Ground positioning probably makes perfect sense to followers of the sport, but newcomers might not realize what's good and what's bad in regards to submission moves.

For those that aren't quite familiar with the more intricate nuances of MMA, it's possible to build a character with a heavy focus on strikes. However, this might come back to haunt you when your punches and kicks aren't quite enough to bring down your opponent. In order to succeed in the career mode, it's essential to have a balance between strikes and grappling, otherwise you'll be toast at the more advanced stages.

Visually, Undisputed looks fantastic. Characters look realistic (if a bit robotic), and the animations for strikes, grapples, and submissions are dead-on. It also features some solid commentary from Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, and it rarely repeats.

This is a game that knows its audience. UFC and MMA fans will surely praise it for its realism and attention to detail, while others would probably opt for the Fight Night or Smackdown series. If you spend your Sunday nights at Buffalo Wild Wings watching the latest Pay-Per-View, UFC 2009: Undisputed will keep you busy for a long time.

Graphics: 8.5

Sound: 8.5

First Play: 8.0

Replay Value: 7.5

Gameplay: 7.5

Overall: 7.6

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