Last year's UFC game, UFC 2009 Undisputed only launched on the PS3 and Xbox 360. However, with the franchise now considered a lucrative prospect, this year's game, UFC Undisputed 2010, has been given a release on the PlayStation Portable, albeit a few months down the line. Has the wait been worth it? Well, waiting is an ironic word to use when talking about this PSP port.
Straight off the bat, there are a ton of modes and options available to gamers, but the Career Mode is where most of the game's appeal will lie. Here, they can create their own fighter and take them all the way to the top of the UFC, in multiple weight divisions. However, here is one of UFC Undisputed 2010's biggest problems instantly comes to light, its loading times.
As soon as the game starts up, a warning is presented to players. It states that to help loading times, they can disable certain features. These only really affect fights themselves though and not other aspects of the game, which is rather unfortunate. Creating a fighter should be something that's enjoyable, but the loading times sap the life out of this completely. Selecting a template fighter takes approximately 35-40 seconds and then selecting parts like hair styles takes 15 seconds per hair style. There are 59 different hair styles to choose from, so you can instantly see why this might be a problem.
It's difficult to ignore, but if it can be ignored, gamers will be impressed by what Yukes have managed to do from the perspective of content. The execution is poor, but it's impossible to deny that the depth isn't there. The full career mode from the home console versions is present in all its glory, and for a portable system, this achievement can't be understated.
The fighting itself has been adjusted for the PSP. On the home consoles, players had access to the full range of shoulder buttons, but this isn't an option here. Instead, things have been slightly simplified and each shoulder button performs multiple tasks. Low attacks are performed by the left trigger and strong attacks are performed by the right trigger. Blocking is performed by holding the right trigger, and low blocks are performed by holding both triggers. This of course leads to a much greater temptation to just spam out heavy attacks from behind blocks, as it's all done by holding the same button.
Some parts don't transition as well though, as, pun intended, transitions are a bit more tricky. This is because movement is handled by the d-pad, while all the various holds are handled by the analog stick. It means that while transitions are being attempting, movement isn't really possible and for shoot wrestlers, or those who love grappling, it can become a bit of a problem.
Overall though, the combat is just as fluid and slick as its home console counterpart. All of the same martial art styles are present and all the same tactics work. Even the newer additions, such as feints and ground control enhancements are present. Something about it doesn't feel quite as visceral, but that's not something that's really much of an issue.
The Career Mode will keep players occupied for a while, and there are also various other modes to enjoy, like Title Defence. They all add to the value that the package offers. However, the majority of it is single player centric, as the multiplayer modes are quite sparse; there's only a two-player Ad Hoc versus mode. It's a shame, as fighting the AI gets boring after a while, and fighting against human competition makes the game much more tense and exciting.
The presentation is pretty good, aside from the loading times, which are horrendous. The fighters all look like their respective real-life counterparts too and while the moves themselves lack that killer edge, they're still convincing. But the loading times really do sap the life out of the game. Quitting a fight back to the main menu takes around 15-20 seconds and actually just starting an exhibition fight can cause around a minute's worth of loading times. For a portable game, it's quite hard to swallow.
Yukes should be commended for their achievements with UFC Undispited 2010 on the PSP, but they should also take stock. It's extremely impressive that they basically managed to port over the home console version in its entirety, but the game suffers as a result. The load times are horrendous and for a portable game it's a bit of a deal breaker. If you can look past the load times though and didn't pick up the home console version, you should definitely check it out.