Yes, folks, I’m really pretentious enough to give “awards.” But then, 2010 was such an eventful year all around, that there are a few things we should look back on and either learn from or appreciate. Without further ado and pointless justification for my arrogance, here are my “awards” for 2010. Let’s start with being a nasty bastard, since people always seem to find that more interesting.
Biggest Disappointment – Tie between Final Fantasy 13 and UFC 2010.
These games were sheer disappointment mixed with confused anger. Naturally, since I bought them as new releases, even through trade-ins and scouting out the cheapest retailers, I paid $120 for FF13 and $85 for UFC 2010. FF13 was such a horrid piece of wasted time that when I went to trade it back to get UFC 2010, I was told the trade-in value had dropped from $70 to a mere $20 in the space of DAYS, because the retailer had been swamped by people realizing it was so astoundingly shitty and wanting to swap it for something good.
UFC 2010 was the sequel to the excellent UFC 2009 game, obviously, which was honestly one of the best, most balanced fighting games I had ever played. On the surface it was pretty shallow, with only three basic move-sets available for all the fighters, but the complexity of the game-play made up for it. By the time I finally decided to use it as a trade-in to acquire the sequel, I had effectively mastered the game.
But UFC 2010 was not the upgrade it was meant to be. Though much smoother in appearance, I quickly noticed the gameplay was hideously broken, with incredibly overpowered moves, a confusing grappling system, and it was just a pile of shit. Worst of all, the AI was amazingly bullshit. You cannot comprehend how bullshit I mean here, people.
I’m talking about smashing the shit out of an “easy” opponent, taking him down and initiating a submission – but he simply will not tap. Then, from the bottom, the AI hits a submission and easily submits you despite the fact you literally hurt your hand on the analogue stick. The AI’s ability to cheat in the grappling part of the game, blocking transitions, reversing you, winning submissions (even from the bottom when badly injured), never submitting, etc., means that entering into a grappling situation, which is over 90% of the game, is begging to lose. You cannot “see” what the computer is doing; it simply decides when to block your transitions or reverse you, and it decides against you quite a lot.
The career mode is total agony, resorting once again to the tired notion that your character hopped into an MMA gym at 25 with no prior experience in anything whatsoever and, despite having no skills at all, you’re suddenly in the UFC. It leads to this curious situation where you’ve won 12 fights, but your stats are pitiful (they degrade too, as if this process wasn’t painful enough), you can’t “learn” any new abilities until you go through a “training camp” which requires you to successfully do the move you want to learn on an AI opponent several times (so learning a new submission move is beyond torture), and your next opponent is Georges St. Pierre, who gleefully takes you down and cheats his way to a first round submission.
The online play is supposed to alleviate some of these problems, but unless a hot-fix has come out, that doesn’t help much with the cripplingly cheap moves, such as the Omoplata submission, which can be used to cheat your way out of being on the ground in your guard. Or the fact that single-player is less fun than a knife down the nasal passage.
More importantly though, the online play is completely irrelevant to many people who own the game – we can’t go online with it, and even if we did, the match-making server seems determined to hook Aussies up with Americans. The latter beats the shit out of the former because of the insane latency.
So at its best, UFC 2010 is a good game for making a character (you) and beating your friends’ characters at parties for maybe thirty or so minutes, which would be fine if the game had cost $50AUD. It didn’t. Like many video games nowadays, it had a massive price tag, a huge amount of unnecessary bullshit and little actual playability.