UFC Undisputed Review and a few Walking Dead notes

I’ve had the opportunity to play just about 8 hours of the new UFC Undisputed over the past day. I have to say THQ and Yukes have really outdone themselves with this incarnation. It has been well worth the nearly two year wait for the new game.

Essentially, it’s the same frame that the other games have been built upon. You have the same modes as last year. There’s the Title Mode, Title Defense Mode (unlocked once you actually win a title), the Ultimate Fights mode (which allows you to relive some classic UFC fights), Tournament mode, and the Event mode (where you essentially create your own UFC Pay Per View) and Career mode.  However, THQ has added a lot of tweeks on top of an already good game.

The 1st big addition was adding the PRIDE FC to the mix. Now, you can fight as all your favorite fighters from the legendary Japanese promotion. If you choose to do a tournament in PRIDE mode, the announce team (with Bas Rutten) will call it a Grand Prix, which I though was a nice mix.

The career mode also got an overhaul. It’s now more about the fighting rather than the tedious method of stat crunching the previous two entries were. It’s more streamlined, but I don’t feel like I have as much control over my character. Now, you fight and fight and fight…which I guess is the point, actually. Another addition to the career mode is that you can now use a real UFC fighter instead of being forced to use a Created Fighter.

The presentation and graphics are have also gotten an upgrade. Fighters will now come out to a generic song, get checked by the refs before going into the cage while Joe Rogan gives a breakdown of the fighter’s strengths, and actually do a lap around the cage. It’s a little thing, sure, but it adds to the realistic approach to the presentation. Also, the character models have never been better. They were already impressive in ’10, but now they look and move much more like their real life counterparts.

There also seems to be an increased focus on the standup game. It seems to me the opponent gets up a lot quicker than previously. And, the only real knock I have on the game is the new submission system. Honestly, it’s real hard to come up with a realistic system to do it in a video game. Gone is the previous thumbstick twirl, and in it’s place is a newer and quite harder system of chasing your opponents blip around an octagon shaped overlay that comes up once you initiate a submission. It’s a minor quibble, but since I really liked the sub mechanics of the series, it does make me upset they changed it.

The roster is huge. THQ has added the new weight classes. It’s just a very satisfying thing to be able to use Bob Roop, Royce Gracie, and Dan Severn (unlockable), alongside Jon Jones, Junior Dos Santos, or Anderson Silva. This is the game that UFC fans have wanted, and THQ has absolutely given it to them.

Presentation: 10

Fun Factor: 9

Replay Factor: 8

Final Score: 9

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Looking Back at The Walking Dead‘s Mid Season Premier

I’m a huge Walking Dead fan. The few months that the show was on hiatus felt like an eternity. The show has finally returned, and what a return it was. What is so good about this show is how each character develops. It doesn’t matter if it is a relatively minor character like Dale or the major protagonist Rick Grimes. Each character is important to this show, and in that way, that character development is what makes this show so special.

This past week in the episode entitled, “Nebraska”, several characters had great moments. Dale was shown to be starting his crusade against Shane by planting seeds of dissent with Lori. Glen and Maggie’s already complicated relationship continues to grow more complex as each week goes on. Shane had moments of regret and guilt as he was comforting Carol. Carol has finally started the grieving process for her daughter, Sophia. And, Rick feels responsible for everything so far.

Hershel, the patriarch of the farm, also is slowly descending down a dangerous path. After years on the wagon, Hershel seeks solace in the bottle once more at a bar in town. Rick and Glenn go to bring Hershel back. In perhaps the best scene in the series history, Rick and Hershel debate having hope in a hopeless world.  Hershel’s faith has been shaken, deeply, and the order he once strived so hard to keep, is crumbling in front of him. He tells Rick that there is no hope for anyone.

During this scene, two strangers wander into the bar. And, for the 1st time, we see that the living can indeed be more dangerous than the undead. These aren’t just two guys looking for shelter. These guys are the post apocalyptic versions of pirates. The leader of the strangers was continually pressing for more information…where the farm was, how many people were there, etc. Rick, perhaps utilizing his skills as a police officer, dispatches the threats. It’s the first time Rick has been shown to kill a human. Did he need to? What does this mean as far as his psychological state?

If that’s not bad enough, it would appear that these actions will have severe consequences in the coming week. Apparently, these two strangers were part of a larger group. As all good shows do, this just makes you want more. Each week the Walking Dead delivers.

 

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