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JohnnyCache
4/26/2009 5:14pm,
I just got done with a LONG spate of playing the 360 demo of UFC Undisputed.

I was skeptical. I am no longer skeptical. The demo gives you access to a mid-length tutorial and a one-off "superfight" between Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua. The AI is adjustable for 1 player and local 2 person multiplayer is included, both nice features for a demo.

Moving on, my impressions are as follows:



holy bugling boner biters, Batman -

this game is fucking cool.

The longer you play it the more rad it is

It is a rad fucking game. RAD.

Like if this game was a rapper, it would have a blinking tooth.

at first I was like "**** this game" but then I just kept playing it and it was bad ass but then I went through another period of rad and then another period of "**** this game" and then I broke through a threshold and I was like, "Oh, ok, **** it I have been given a game designed to entertain vikings and the guys from the covers of metal albums. This is the raddest game of all time."

It's underwhelming, then it's overwhelming. Then it fucks your head up by being so good.

It's like acid. You spend an hour going, "What did I buy? When does the cool **** start happening? I think I'm gonna call my guy and bitch him ---

---

---
---

whoa."

and twelve hours later you realize you're covered in what appears to be cat and you're driving someone else's car and next to you, sits what you assume initially to be a cross dresser but is, in fact, an intoxicated historical reenactor dressed as J. Edgar hoover, and you say, "I'm never taking ten tabs of UFC Undisputed at once ever again"

I just played it for about 8 hours

I still don't have Liddell and Rua figured out. The thought that there are MANY fighters in this game is almost hurtful to the notion of sense.

I'm serious

You have to commit like 4 hours to this demo

because there is a serious WTF IS GOING ON factor for a little bit. Like the tutorial cannot begin to explain the actual controls.

The tutorial says "Transitions on the ground are done by spinning the right stick in quarter circles. For a higher-risk, more effective transition, spin the the right stick in a bigger motion..." and it goes on to illustrate 3 hour circles for the minors and then 4 hour circles from, say, 10-2, 2-5 etc for the big ones.

OK

That's technically true. But it's like that old joke about being lost in a balloon


Two hobbyists get into their balloon for an excursion. After a while, the wind unexpectedly picks up, and the balloon goes out of control. The two balloonists, with great effort, manage to keep the balloon stable, upright, and away from power lines. But they are lost. With more effort, they get the balloon near the ground. While floating over a country road, they see a man walking below. One of the balloonists calls down to him:

"We're lost! Can you tell us where we are?"

The man thinks for a while, looks down, looks up, looks down again, stares into space for a minute, and then cries out:

"You're in a balloon!"

The wind picks up, and the balloon floats off. After a moment, one balloonist says to the other:

"That man must be a manager."

"Why?"

"Three reasons. First, he took a long time to answer. Second, he was perfectly correct. Third, his answer was perfectly useless!"

The amount of realism conjured out of such a contextual system is amazing - you do all your grappling with the right stick, and despite that the system just keeps getting deeper the longer you play.

The whole system is based on tiers of position. Say a guy takes you down with a belly-to-belly and he's in side control. The first thing you do with the right stick is move it around the 8 points. What you are doing here is looking for hip space, manually, with your joystick. When you find it, your character will make a minor adjustment - typically in SC, that would be rolling his hips and flattening a knee out. This animation is your signal that you have a window for transition, and your opponent's signal to counter your transition. You then do your joystick roll for transition. Now, if you're in side control, you can either attempt a MAJOR transition to try to get to north-south where another major will pop you clear out, you can attempt a style-dependent major that is the gi-style full roll for a reversal, or you can attempt a minor transition to take half guard - and you do this MANUALLY by choosing which space to create in step one, then your quarter roll is actually manually guiding your knee under your opponent's leg - if you do this JUST RIGHT by faking him out and making him wiff his counter attempt, you can get an extra step and skip half for full guard.

Say you're "on D" holding a guy in guard - this is where the personal styles kick in. Liddell's major guard passes are all kick-outs that help him get to his feet. Rua's major guard passes are full-reversal rolling sweeps where he ends up IN guard or mount.

The characters also have personalized favorite positions - Liddell has an excellent sprawl and can easily take top-ride or guillotine from a sprawl. Rua can take rubber guard and us it for a serious boost to his next move - basically, if you let him get into RG un-countered, he gets a free major transition.

Also, the longer you play it, the more it addresses the bitches you do have with it. I'm in the process of bitching about said rubber guard, I'm all, "BLAH BLAH BLAH THE RG ISN'T INTENDED TO BE A LONG TERM GUARD EVERYBODY LOVES IT BUT IT'S TOTALLY VULNERABLE TO A SIMPLE ARM-UNDER YOU JUST HAVE TO LEARN TO DO IT WITHOUT LOOKING" and I counter at an opportune moment and liddell does an arm-under shuck and blows out of the RG and into side control.

Then there are the submissions. The tutorial presents the sub system as wrestling game style mashing - R3 for a sub, then spin the stick to lock it in, the other guy spins his. Well, we finally figured out, when locking in a sub, you RS is your hands - you spiral the stick in the direction you need to wrench his limb. When defending, it's your hips - you spiral it in the direction you need to roll. There's a system for punching and kicking out of subs that's presented as being very simple 4 button mashing but actually entails realizing what limbs you have free.

I could go on. In fact, I think I shall. The clinch has a hierarchy system like the ground, but it's complicated by the fact that your striking style radically effects your style of clinching. Thai guys have a whole set of positions in the plum that are "above" the rest of the positions and wrestlers and judoka have power throws from certain points in the grip ladder, while BJJ people have flying subs they can attempt.

The controls are complicated, but a simple universal design permeates them - you have fast, hard, and custom controls that are contextual to range and fighter. There is a "Power button" that basically upshifts your character - he attempts high-risk, trademark ****. This is Liddell's spinning elbow and crazy superman punch, or Rua's jumping knee. This gasses you quicker, but it's the type of stuff that can hurt or KO your opponent.

You have universal defensive controls - high and low - that work standing, grounded, whatever, and your four colored buttons correspond to your four limbs for striking. Then you have a low trigger that moves everything down, and the right stick dedicated to grappling. Once you map the context of each button, you start to freestyle . .. want to shoot? Low trigger and flick the grapple stick toward them. Want to clinch? Just flick it toward them like you're reaching out to grab them with it. Got a clinch? Great. Now look at your hooks - if you're in a left right high low and you want double unders, do a left position improvement to pummel. If you're a Thai fighter and you want to get up to the plum, do a right improvement to work your right hand up. Got that plum and want to whip them around? Use the grapple stick - whipping in a clinch is grappling, after all - and then use your leg buttons to knee.

On the ground, position is rewarded - dominant, voluntary position gives you open field to attempt subs, defensive positions require you actively counter your opponent to attempt a sub.

Getting shot in on? Want to knee the shithead to appease the hooting crowd? Back on the grapplestick to sprawl. Block button for defense. Leg button for knee.

Say you want to throw some combos - you do it by mindfully using smart combos and zoning, and adjusting your range. Liddell has an easy 1-2-3, but if you play with his range and his power button and high block button, you can also get him to combo 1-2-superman or 1-2 with punches 3-4 with elbows...

You will play the tutorial and your first few rounds and it will be a frustrating experience of button mashing.

Then, after you've played a little bit, you'll realize this game is totally fucking sweet and there may not be room on the net to document how rad it is.

Each combination of styles is going to create a substyle, and each style appears to have variants - Rua, for example, has "Muay Thai 3" which implies there's going to be variety within styles. The fighters drawn from life also have their quirks - Liddell has his odd walk and his overhand right.

Incidentally, if the first thing you do is open the tutorial, the generic sparring partners and the generic practice cage are, apparently, deliberately generic gym gear rendered for that gritty gym look, because the Rua and Liddell models and the real arena look a lot better.

As far as game modes, I am, of course, working only from the 360 demo, but there is a career mode, and a practice mode. I don't know any details of those modes, but I notice in the list of credited characters that has been released, there are several prominent trainers listed as "non-fighter characters" so you may be able to pick your coaches or at least have an appropriate coach when working with a given range.

The atmosphere is nailed pretty good. The ring girls have borderline DOA jiggle physics as well, in gross contrast to the amount of time spent on the rest of them, which I think echos life. The ring announcing is dead on, and mutable. Rogan even flubbs people's names and corrects himself like in real life, while Goldberg repeats everything he says in slightly different words like in real life, and the game has all the music and GFX that a current UFC PPV uses. The audience gets active when you give them action, and restless when you don't - although to get them to actually boo you have to actively stall, like both people back off and wait. There are taunts on the d-pad, and one of them is a glove touch - you can offer the computer a glove touch and cold-cock it when it returns the gesture. That's funny to me.

G-Off
4/26/2009 11:38pm,
**** yes. I haven't discovered all that complexity yet, but I find the game having the same pull on me it did for you. I disliked it at first, but it kept nagging at my mind and now I'm obsessed with it.

Even so, I've only been able to beat Chuck 1 time with Shogun, while I've won against Shogun (with Chuck) every time. I always make it to the 3rd round, faring pretty well with leg kicks and body shots, and then I get KOd halfway into the round with a stupid fucking superman punch. Those things are WAY overpowered.

I'm looking forward to discovering and mastering the grappling complexity in there. So far the clinch game is just overwhemingly complex.

JohnnyCache
4/26/2009 11:47pm,
I've found the best way to sub liddell is to batter his left arm up pretty good by making him block thai kicks and then countering his left punch from guard.

The moves list you can access from the pause menu contains the stuff to round out the tutorial - for one thing, there are power transitions, like if you are liddell in open guard and you hold LB and then roll from 12-9, you'll do a slam.

Phrost
4/27/2009 10:25am,
I downloaded this and button mashed my way to a 30 sec KO of Liddell with a left elbow to the jaw.

You fuckers better start getting ready for multiplayer now.

Couldn't rate the multiplayer or replay value since it's a demo. We'll have to update the thread when the full game comes out.

Matt Phillips
4/27/2009 12:02pm,
It's like acid. You spend an hour going, "What did I buy? When does the cool **** start happening? I think I'm gonna call my guy and bitch him ---

---

---
---

whoa."


I'm looking forward to the part where the game convinces you the world is made of rotting meat.

JohnnyCache
4/27/2009 12:19pm,
Phrost: There's local MP and it's a hoot

War Wheel: YOU HAVE TAKEN A PSYCHOACTIVE DRUG. THIS IS GOOD, THIS MEANS THAT WHAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING IS OF LIMITED DURATION. WHAT I NEED YOU TO DO IS GET A BOTTLE OF WATER AND CAREFULLY FIND A DARK, QUIET ROOM

Suprore
4/27/2009 12:55pm,
I thought it was awesome too, i've spent hours and hours learning everything, playing on Expert only. Takedowns are awesome, thai clinch is awesome, kickboxing is fantastic, groundgame is okay.

The only massive flaw i've discovered is highly exploitable AI from Rua on expert. Let him pull guard on you, major transition to open guard (it's a slam, and does a hell of a lot of daamge), beat on him until he shoves you away, jump back ontop (quick move torward him and then punch), slam... You can spend whole rounds like this, with him inviting you to dish out absurd mounts of damage and not fighting back at all, aside from some pitiful gestures at rubber guard.

JohnnyCache
4/27/2009 1:10pm,
Yeah, I'm assuming there are going to be a few little refinements to the 1p mode . . .Did you try turning the difficulty up?

gr81disp
4/27/2009 3:43pm,
I love the way they did the announcing for the game. They put Rogan and Goldie in a room with a television and played the game, letting them announce it like a real fight. That is why there are flubs and quirks in the game.

TheMightyMcClaw
4/27/2009 6:18pm,
Questions:
-How are transitioning between submissions handled with the ground controls? Can I switch a defended kneebar into a calf crush?
-Is there/will there be a character creation mode?

G-Off
4/27/2009 9:47pm,
Questions:
-How are transitioning between submissions handled with the ground controls? Can I switch a defended kneebar into a calf crush?
-Is there/will there be a character creation mode?

-Don't know (neither Shogun or Chuck does AFAIK), but hopefully. Different fighters have different techniques, but who knows just how individualized it'll get? Maybe we'll have Lyoto Machida with a unique ability to do a switch kick, but then again they might have just gone with a basic Muay Thai/Boxing/Wrestling/etc. moveset and the combinations they make.

-Yes, definitely. There's a menu option for it on the demo, but you can't select it.

TheRuss
4/27/2009 10:08pm,
**** is hard.

Also, they've got throws from the clinch but no Jon Jones? Colour me disappointed.

mojo23
4/28/2009 8:14am,
I gotta say- I was skeptical that they'd be able to do a decent MMA game because of the grappling, but they did a good job with it. It took me a good 20-30 minutes to figure out the controls, but I think the complex controls were necessary to do it right. I'm seriously gonna get this when it comes out.

Although have to say, if I used this game as a predictor, I would never have thought Rua could have knocked Liddell out standing up. The only way I could get Rua to punch out Liddell was from the mount. Whenever the two went toe-to-toe Liddell just creamed Rua. I was playing this with a friend and we both had the same experience.

Above all though, the best part has got to be that unlike a lot of other fighting games, playing well is a matter of picking a strategy and executing the proper move at the proper time, rather than "can you execute an awkward combination of stick movements and button presses early and often."

JohnnyCache
4/28/2009 12:09pm,
A couple things: First off, I got a few specifics in the article wrong - the character's trademark transitions are minors with the LB button being the biggest.

I've figured out more about subs - turning the stamina bar on in the options will help you see how they work - when you get a sub, both character's stamina starts to drop, at a rate determined by your relative position - the better your position, the less stam you need relative to your opponent to try to sub. When you opponent runs out of stam, he will tap.

It's not a contest of stamina, though - there are several chances for escapes in the subs, although I've been just spinning the joystick and I haven't worked out their timing yet.

Moj0: don't be bitter because you suck at streetfighter. That guy is not a guy you want to be.

JohnnyCache
4/28/2009 12:12pm,
-Don't know (neither Shogun or Chuck does AFAIK), but hopefully. Different fighters have different techniques, but who knows just how individualized it'll get? Maybe we'll have Lyoto Machida with a unique ability to do a switch kick, but then again they might have just gone with a basic Muay Thai/Boxing/Wrestling/etc. moveset and the combinations they make.

-Yes, definitely. There's a menu option for it on the demo, but you can't select it.


Sadly, there aren't a lot of combo'd subs in the game. The sub you attempt in a given position depends on the fighter's style - you attempt a sub and he does the one that's right for his style and the position. They had to hit a ceiling somewhere. Trust me, the game is complicated enough. I have a few small complaints with the game - there's no thai shield, for example, at least not for Rua or Liddell, and I've heard a rumor that there aren't any southpaws in it. (Some southpaw fighters are in it, but they fight orthodox)

In general, if you want to play this well, the tutorial is not the real key - the real key is the moves list avail. from the pause menu. It's individualized to the character and has a lot more detail. There's also a position chart you can access from the list.

As far as roster complaints go, the released roster of 80 doesn't include the two DLC chars or unlockables, which evidently ARE in the game - Babalu, Royce G. and Couture among others have all been tossed around on the rumor mill but not confirmed.

TheRuss
4/28/2009 7:13pm,
Although have to say, if I used this game as a predictor, I would never have thought Rua could have knocked Liddell out standing up.

PROTIP: For improved realism, remove the right top trigger when playing as Chuck.