[2009] UFC 2009 Undisputed VS Street Fighter IV

19 Dec

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has grown over the years from its humble roots as an obscure, misunderstood sport to an impressive technical showcase. UFC video games have also grown over the years, and like the sport itself, developers have gone from misunderstanding how to portray mixed martial arts in video games to creating a technically impressive simulator worthy of what the sport has become.

UFC 2009 Undisputed isn’t for everyone, but that’s only because it goes to great lengths to accurately portray the ground game, which often elicits groans from the sport’s more casual viewers. Your first time grappling on the ground will probably be a frustrating one due to the unique, right stick-oriented control scheme, but Undisputed does an excellent job in both its tutorial and career modes to ease you into the process.

The result is a dynamic game, allowing for drastically different outcomes depending on personal preferences and skill. Once you understand how the controls work, they’re yours to manipulate granted your opponent can’t manipulate them better than you can. Unfortunately, this style of understanding controls to understand how to win isn’t present in the year’s most famous fighter, Street Fighter IV, at least not in my experience.

Anyone who thought Undisputed‘s ground controls of quarter and half rotations of the right stick were convoluted must not have ever attempted Guile’s super and ultra attacks in SFIV. I prefer to play as the easier to understand command-style fighters like Ryu and Sakura because I can use all of their regular moves, I can even launch (and occasionally connect with) their supers and ultras but never consistently.

The control input sounds easy enough for most of these fighters (usually down, slant, towards, down, slant towards, punch or kick, whatever the official terminology is), but in the context of SFIV‘s fast-paced arcade-style gameplay, these inputs are misunderstood by the game and fall flat. It’s not enough to just understand how to input the commands. I had to turn to the internet to figure out how to get past some of SFIV‘s tutorials and even then couldn’t finish because of the ridiculous pace the game demands of its players.

Both Undisputed and SFIV have steep learning curves, but while the former understands its controls can be complicated and helps the player to understand them, the latter just tells them how to do it, forbidding them to progress in tutorials if they can’t keep up. Both games are extremely fun, but it can be frustrating when you can’t execute commands despite understanding their inputs.

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