I think the comparisons between the UFC Undisputed and Fight Night 4 games are warranted. Both are action-packed, combat sport videos games featuring real athletes. As It is a close fight but only one can be the king of the console.
I own and have played both games extensively. In all fairness, I have played UFC Undisputed a lot more since it was released over a month earlier. However, I think I have put enough time into the Fight Night ring to offer up a fair and objective comparison.
Graphics – The first thing anyone I know ever talks about when opening a new game are the graphics. Great graphics can be both a good and bad thing. For example, the trailer for the Legends of WrestleMania game looked phenomenal. However, in my opinion the makers spent too much time on graphics because the rest of the game play was boring.
In terms of the fighters, both games did a great job of reproducing images that almost look identical. I think Fight Night offers much more in the way of detail to the fighters. The UFC fighters look a bit more cartoonish compared to the Fight Night fighters. I think Fight Night 4 definitely has the edge in fighter graphics.
Body and face damage are key here too between both games. UFC once again has the edge here. I have seen some guys walking back to the corner between rounds that looked like they had their faces literally rearranged. UFC also does a great job welting the body after body strikes. Fight Night does a great job of showing swollen eyes, but you really only see it when you are resting between rounds. UFC accelerates the damage to the point where you know start to cringe after kicking a purple rib cage. I never felt that in Fight Night 4.
Fight Night 4 blows UFC away when it comes to the arena. Fight Night 4 does a tremendous job of making every arena look different. In UFC Undisputed, every arena looks exactly the same. This is a small, but nice intangible that UFC needs to work on in my opinion for the sequel.
UFC Undisputed vs. Fight Night 4 Graphics – Winner: UFC Undisputed. As I said before, I have cringed at times at the amount of punishment detailed on a UFC fighter. While the graphics are very good, I have yet to cringe in Fight Night 4.
Fighters – Both games offer real and licensed fighters to play with. This is nice as opposed to some generic fighting games where you are fighting with fictional characters. Yet, there are key differences between the selections of fighters in both games.
The UFC Undisputed game offers over 80 fighters right out of the box. All of UFC’s divisions are offered and stacked with fighters. Whether you are fighting Middleweight or Heavyweight, there is not shortage of matches you can make. Personally, I love playing the underdog guys against the favorites. UFC offers fighters of all levels in every division.
The good news is that Fight Night 4 offers a whopping eight weight classes in the game. Everything from flyweight to heavyweight is an option in the game. The bad news is that Fight Night 4 boasts a roster of 48 fighters. That is slightly more than half of what UFC offers. It is equally disappointing that some divisions are stacked more than others. Bantamweight offers one licensed fighter! What is the point of a division with one licensed fighter?
My biggest gripe about the UFC game was the lack of classic fighters. UFC has a great history and the fact that not even Royce Graice was included is a huge disappointment. Fight Night 4 on the other hand takes advantage of boxing’s rich history with a ton of classic fighters. Honestly, there are more classic fighters than current stars which says a lot about boxing vs. UFC in general. The big downside here is that you run out of fun matches fast in Fight Night 4. How many times can you play Ali vs. Tyson?
My biggest gripe about Fight Night 4 is that the game doesn’t even include the biggest (and arguably only) superstar in boxing. Contrary to early reports, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not in Fight Night 4. How in the world can you not have the biggest star in boxing not in a boxing game? It is truly inexcusable to not have Money in the game. UFC doesn’t have Randy Couture, but they offer plenty of other current stars to compensate. I can’t say the same about Fight Night 4 that is missing a ton of high profile current and past stars.
Both games offer a create a fighter mode. I will get more into Fight Night’s option in the online section. I would say UFC offers way more options in terms of fighter detail in the CAF mode. I have seen and created some UFC CAF creations of real fighters that look almost identical.
Honestly, I haven’t explored much of the CAF in Fight Night 4. Fight Night 4 does offer an option where you can upload your picture to the website and transfer it into the game. From there, the game creates a boxer from your picture. In theory the concept is very cool. However, I tried it with no luck at all. Every time I tried to create from the picture, it came back that there was an error. I got frustrated after about five minutes and gave up.
UFC Undisputed vs. Fight Night 4 Fighters- Winner: UFC Undisputed. There is no way any game without its biggest star will win out in this category for me.
Online/DLC – I figured I would combine downloadable content and online features to save time. Both games boast about their tremendous online and downloadable content. In this case, we have one winner by a first-round knockout.
UFC Undisputed has been out since May and has yet to offer any DLC. I read an interview with a producer who said that no downloadable fighters would be offered. The producer said that they would offer patches to fix glitches, but that would be it. That is a huge disappointment for gamers like me that expected downloadable fighters.
Fight Night 4 is less than a month old so nothing has been offered yet. However, there have been several announcements about DLC. EA announced the first DLC in a few weeks that will offer more control options and an alternate Sugar Ray Leonard for Xbox 360 users. Developers have also promised to offer downloadable licensed fighters for purchase. This is already way more than THQ has promised in almost three months.
UFC Undisputed allows you to fight others online. I have never seen anything more glitchy in my life. I have never had a fight that didn’t lag online. I have a fast connection and have no problems with any other games on Xbox Live. I rarely even bother anymore because it freezes and lags every time. When I do go online, I have a hard time finding fights as well. Apparently I am not the only one who has given up here.
My absolute favorite option about Fight Night 4 are the downloadable CAFs. You have the option to go online search through hundreds of submitted CAFs and download who you like. Here you will find everyone from Money Mayweather to Borat to Rocky Balboa. Unlike UFC Undisputed where you may spend 30 minutes replicating a formula someone posted online for Ken Shamrock, you go online here and download who you want for free. Considering that the game offers only slightly 40 licensed fighters, this is a God send.
Fight Night 4 offers a ton of online options. Fight Night 4 goes way more in depth than just offering you the ability to fight another player online. Fight Night 4 has rankings, champions, tournaments, stats, etc. Fight Night 4 has also never lagged on me during a fight.
UFC Undisputed vs. Fight Night 4 Online/DLC – Winner: Fight Night 4. This one was a total knockout!
Game Play – At the end of the day past the online options, fighter selection, and graphics, it is all about the game play. There have been some fantastic looking wrestling games, but in my opinion the game play stunk in all of them. Like my dating philosophy, give me a fun game to play over a pretty boring game any day of the week.
UFC Undisputed had a much steeper learning curve than most games. That is because the game is so complex. In this game, you need to learn both ground and striking techniques. Throwing wild punches won’t do a thing for you in this game. There is definitely skill and technique involved, especially when you play the harder levels.
The controls are actually pretty easy once you put the time in practice. The tutorial is a must, at least five times. There are also different ways to fight different fighters. You have to be extremely careful going to the ground with a BJJ guy where you can take some chances with wrestlers. The BJJ guy will tap you out like that.
UFC also offers a career mode. You can only use CAF fighters in this mode. It can be fun if you create Randy Couture and take him through the heavyweight division. The career mode offers training camps to sharpen your skills. I didn’t like them at all. If I am in a boxing camp, why is my sparring partner going for takedowns?
The career mode can also get a little redundant after about fifteen fights. There are only so many fighters in each division. Once you win the title, it is pretty much the same five fighters who you will be fighting in your next 10-20 fights. At that point your skill has increased to the point where all of the fights become easy wins.
UFC also offers a sparring mode. I found this to be a total waste of time. As you increase in skill, so does your sparring partner. I want competitive fights, but I don’t need a competitive sparring partner. The more you dominate, the more skill points you receive in sparring. This can get frustrating towards the middle of the career mode when you only come out of a sparring session with 20 points.
Fight Night 4 controls also have a bit of a learning curve. There is a huge controversy about the lack of face button controls as opposed to past editions. I have never played the game before so I don’t know or care about what I am missing. The stick movement is very similar to UFC, although in UFC you strike with the buttons.
I found the stick movements to be frustrating at times and very glitchy. Sometimes the movements work and sometimes they don’t, which is inexcusable in such a big game. The tutorial is not nearly as comprehensive as UFC Undisputed’s. The specific controls are spread out in a way where it makes it very difficult at times to play. One movement can be used for both an offensive and defensive movement. I didn’t find much sweet science behind any of this at all. I went in, punched wildly, and got lucky or unlucky.
Fight Night 4 offers a legacy mode similar to the career mode. The big difference here is that you can fight with either a licensed fighter or a CAF. Fight Night’s legacy mode is more complex and detailed than UFC’s. For one, you start with 50 ranked fighters in the division. Most of them are fictional, but it is nice to have that many fighters. You also have training sessions like in UFC. Unlike UFC, you can auto-train which is a real nice feature. The skill of your competition increases and eventually you fight for the title and the rest is history.
There is less skill involved in fighting in my opinion. In the UFC game, you need to mix up your ground and standup game. In Fight Night 4 you can just jab your way to a win if you so desire. That wouldn’t cut it in UFC. It is a little too one dimensional at times, especially if you have the option to throw UFC Undisputed in your Xbox 360 or PS3.
My biggest complain about UFC Undisputed was the lack of a free or catch weight option. Forget about matching Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre up. I think that is ridiculous. I have read that the developers wanted to keep the game as real to UFC as possible and that meant no open weight fights. Well if that is the case, why is Madison Square Garden an arena option? The lack of open weight fighting is a huge disappointment.
Unlike THQ, EA lets you fight who you want no matter what weight class he is in. You can pit Mike Tyson against Roy Jones Jr. or Manny Pacquiao. The game play also reflects the difference in weight class which is nice. This is a really nice option that gives you the freedom to fight who you want. It is disappointing that neither game allows you to edit the fighter’s weights in order to move them up or down a class.
I must say this though about Fight Night 4’s music option. The music is extremely glitchy. ESPN Radio cuts in throughout the game with real time sports updates. I have lost all of my music for the rest of the game once ESPN finishes its update. The only way I was able to get the music back was to turn the console completely off and restart everything. As you can imagine, that can be very frustrating as well.
UFC Undisputed vs. Fight Night 4 Game Play – Winner: UFC Undisputed. You just can’t discount the option of two-dimensional fighting in UFC as opposed to the one dimensional standup game in Fight Night 4.
UFC Undisputed vs. Fight Night 4 Overall – Winner: UFC Undisputed. This could all change in several months due to DLC for Fight Night 4. Should Fight Night offer 20-40 more fighters, we could revisit this conversation. Until then, I will take the game with over 80 real fighters any day of the week. I found myself getting bored at times with Fight Night 4, whereas I never get bored with UFC Undisputed. I also think Fight Night 4 has way too many glitches between music and controls that need to be fixed. I have never encountered any glitches in UFC Undisputed.
I think owning either game is a great choice. Both games are a lot of fun and can become addicting quickly. However, it is hard to choose Fight Night 4 when you have UFC Undisputed sitting on your shelf. The bottom line here is that UFC Undisputed has more fighters, a better CAF mode, better controls, more options, and less glitches.
To purchase Fight Night: Round 4 Xbox 360 click here.
To purchase Fight Night: Round 4 PS3 click here.
To purchase UFC Undisputed 2009 for the Playstation 3 , click here .
To purchase UFC Undisputed 2009 for the Xbox 360, click here .