UFC Undisputed 2010

Lets get ready to ruuuuuuummmbble!

Boxing? Pah! Real fight fans are into the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) which, as the name implies, is a sport where punching, kicking, grappling and wrestling all blend into one blood-and-sweat soaked scrap-fest, organised and televised in the US by UFC (the Ultimate Fighting Championship).

THQ's new console release allows you to clamber into the octagon (not a ring) and pummel the hell out of numerous opponents – in beginner mode at least. The controls are simple enough to get the hang of –there are no Streetfighter-style multi-button combos here – and it's easy enough to overcome your first opponents with just a flurry of punches and kicks. However, square off against harder bruisers and you'll find yourself wrestled to the floor mid-round and forced into submission with your arm bent around your back. Maybe time to do the tutorial...

This is where many casual gamers may get frustrated. The wrestling side of UFC Undisputed 2010 is somewhat hard to master and not particularly intuitive. Similarly, the Career Mode, where you can create and develop your own ultimate fighter, is not as enjoyable as it should be. I was spending more time choosing training and sparring regimes, signing sponsorship deals and resting before fights than I was actually fighting. Put it another way – I reckon it would have been faster for to simply go out and learn to become a real Mixed Martial Artist.

Two's company
Thankfully, other modes are much more fun. Battling for a title lets you go head to head with progressively harder opponents in order to become king of a specific weight division, without all the training tomfoolery in between. Two-player mode is a hoot, too. Pounding friends and family into the canvas is intensely rewarding, aided by the hyperbolic US-accented commentary and gratuitous slo-mo replays.

As a home cinema experience UFC Undisputed 2010 isn't challenging the likes of Split Second: Velocity or Modern Warfare 2. The HD visuals are solid but uninspiring – ditto the DD 5.1 surround audio. Not a lights off/system whacked up full kind of game, then. However, UFC Undisputed 2010 is a console game perfect for dipping in and out of (particularly in two-player mode) but you'd have to be a real fight fanatic to complete the career challenge.

PS3 (tested), Xbox 360, THQ, £50 approx, On sale now