UFC Undisputed Fight Nation on Facebook: A loss by decision
The number one thing that makes or breaks a sports-based Facebook game is its faithfulness to the sport. And the recently released UFC Undisputed Fight Nation by THQ teeters on that very line. There are some parts of UFC that make for an engaging, original experience. However, it can't be helped to notice how this game is just like all the rest after seeing the big picture.
So, does UFC Undisputed Fight Nation survive the Octagon? Find out after the break.
Logging into the game marks one of its more original concepts. You must choose between two camps, or a fighting styles, kick boxing and wrestling. Each school has its own advantages that actually effect the outcome of fights. Wrestlers focus on pinning opponents to the ground while kick boxers rely on hard-hitting strikes. All in all, it makes for a good balance when in the Octagon.
After choosing from one of several ridiculous nicknames like Pseudonym, Big Papi and The Saint, you'll be guided to the Training Screen by Dana White, president of the UFC. This is where you will train moves to use in fights much like Jobs in Mafia Wars. However, these directly effect your performance in fights. Training, of course, consumes Energy that refills over time or can be refilled using paid currency, or UFC Points (sound familiar?). There are four types of moves: Strike, Submission, Transition and Buff. These moves can be mastered for increased effect and extra bonuses like more damage or Stamina recovery. Not to mention that training contributes to your experience gain too.
But so do fights, the core of UFC. Go in untrained, and the game's randomly chosen opponents-which happen to be real players--will mop the floor with you. Enter the Octagon prepared and you might have a chance. While you are fighting real players, it all happens asynchronously. Much similar to how you wouldn't know if a player iced you in Mafia Wars until your next log-in, you would not be aware of being KO'ed by an opponent until doing the same in UFC. And while the preparation for fights and the camp distinctions are certainly unique, the excitement stops there.
Fights are turn-based events in which each player is given five moves per round, which are chosen at random from a deck of move cards. The cards will fling themselves toward the opponents deck in a flourish of red and white depending on whether the attack landed. This automated process goes on until either a player is knocked out or players run out of Stamina. Each move drawn consumes a certain amount of the stat and when it's all gone, players get "gassed," meaning they're all out of oomph for attacks. From here, the player with the most health wins. In fact, this whole process can be skipped just to see the results immediately. It's as if THQ knew that players would get bored to tears of it.
The standard Facebook game tropes are all present. There is a store in which players can buy performance boosts for either UFC Points or standard credits. You can even fight your friends every once in a while, but what's to stop you from just skipping straight to the results? There is also a Career section that provides players with goals to achieve--a feature similar to Goals in FarmVille. Finally, players can fight the pros after reaching certain landmarks in the game. Beating them down provides huge amounts of experience points and other rewards, but we bet you'll just skip to results in those fights too.
UFC for Facebook gives players purpose to otherwise mundane tasks like training and interesting decisions to make like fighting camps and which moves to improve first. However, the fight portion of the game, like so many sports or action-based social games, fails to come off as even close as exciting to the source material. Even being able to choose which moves to employ during fights would have been enough for an engaging, skill-driven fight system. But what we get is a Facebook game backed by an enormous brand that, sadly, isn't terribly different than the rest.
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