After some hard work, a few rums and a little help from my friends (ha! Beatles reference), I have actually started to get the hang of the UFC Undisputed games. Before those of you in the know chime in, I am not in anyway implying that I have any great level of skill, however I did pull a few wins out of the hat. I even managed to make someone tap out. Despite these small victories, I should still note that my main criticisims of the series' fighting system are still valid. Knock-outs still occur seamingly at random and the ground game is exceedingly convoluted.
Having played both the last year's and the current iteration over the weekend, I no longer consider these games a complete waste of time and money. If you had to choose between them, you would have to go with UFC 2009 because it is considerably cheaper and there are not that many noticable improvements in the new version (at least from an Exhibition Match persepctive). UFC 2010 does feature improved visuals, and venerable backyard scrapper, Kimbo Slice; but in all honesty if you're only playing these games against your friends you couldn't tell them apart. I have read about the career mode featured in UFC 2010, however I don't believe that I would be able to engage with it if I were to purchase the game, as I never had any childhood dreams of becoming a brawler. A professional wrestler, yes; as there is a sense of showmanship and narrative to their battles. UFC combatants however, if the matches I've seen are any indication, just bump fists and then to proceed to beat the snot out of each other. There's no meaningful context or sense of purpose. If it weren't for the fact that there are match officials, most of these bouts would be fights to the death.
Once again, thanks to my friends, I logged some time both playing and witnessing the example of Valve's disdain for Australian consumers that is Left 4 Dead 2. To say it has been censored is an understatement. Upon being felled, zombies disappear from the playing field. No blood, no corpses, nothing. Bludgeoning the living dead with baseball bats and other dull instruments leads to similarly disappointing graphical effects. It starts to get silly when you set your enemies on fire. If you throw a molotov cocktail, or shoot a fuel canister near a group of zombies and you won't find any visual indication that they have been set on fire. What you do see, are zombies running around, screaming and patting their heads in a fashion similar to Dustin Hoffman as Rain Man.
The only salvation for this mess, was a good friend playing as the survivor Nick. Due to his fashioable white suit, the character had been renamed "Burn Notice," and he was more dangerous than the protagonist from the show of the same name. After travelling with the main group for about 20 minutes, Burn Notice became enraged when he couldn't find a baseball bat to flog the infected hordes. Not content to carry on without the melee weapon, Burn Notice remembered he had seen one at the starting point of the campaign. He bravely abandoned his colleagues, and ventured back to the point of origin to procure his weapon of choice; not fearing for his own safety (or that of his fellow survivors). Bat in hand, Burn Notice swung for the fences and led the group to victory (read: death).
Despite the mediocre gaming experiences on offer, I had a great weekend playing with some old friends. You will have to excuse me though, the Dutch are playing and I nearly missed their first goal. An own goal by Denmark is still a goal! Nederlands FTW!!!