It’s unfathomable how video game players get riled up over the stupidest stuff. The other day, I was playing “UFC 2009 Undisputed” online — against an anonymous kid who sounded 14 — and he whined that I was kicking him, you know, with my feet.
Maybe he hasn’t heard that UFC is the sport that calls on you to kick, punch and wrestle people to the ground.
This kid kept calling me “gay” — which is not a put-down, and he hasn’t figured that out yet — but right after that, he would pin his character’s shirtless, sweaty man body on top of my character’s shirtless, sweaty man body and writhe atop me.
Oh, situational irony, I love thee so.
Anyway, I thrashed him.
“I’m filing so many complaints against you!” he whimpered like a crybaby over our Internet headsets. (I’m not sure what part of the country he was playing from.)
Don’t let that brat keep you away from “UFC 2009 Undisputed.” None of the other gamers I fought online kicked up a fuss. (Although, we could all complain that the online version of “Undisputed” doesn’t have the smoothest frame-rate.)
Besides, most of the fun of this game comes not online but from playing it alone, offline. The fights here are sleek, intuitive to figure out, and very fun.
“Undisputed” comes with almost the whole UFC lineup of mixed martial arts stars — Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans and on and on.
But it’s the career mode that’s most enticing. You build your own man from scratch. You pick his age, his trunks and his height.
In between bouts, you must train your guy with a sparring partner, which is fun. And you send him through an off-camera system of conditioning to build his strength, speed and stamina.
At first, I didn’t want to train my guy. I just wanted to fight. But after a while, training became an addictive brain game, just like it does in the career mode for “Tiger Woods” golf games. Building a character from scratch is nothing new in games, of course. It’s the execution that’s entertaining.
As for the fighting, this is the best “UFC” game so far — by far. Unlike previous “UFC” games, this one loads fights fast enough (but it’s still a wee too slow loading; and it takes 20 clicks of one button to apply one sponsorship logo onto my dumb trunks).
There’s a lovely variety of punching, kicking, grappling and submission moves. (It took me an afternoon to command them all.)
As a bonus, actor and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan announces. He’s more involved than most sports announcers. He’s a UFC commentator in real life, and his excited exclamations about violence are oddly thrilling.
Like: “Brutal punches! Standing over him! Punching his face in!” And: “You see him standing over him, just pounding his face in!”
Granted, that’s a lot of “pounding his face in” and “punching his face in.” But it’s far, far preferable to that snotty little whiner who plays “UFC” online but doesn’t want to get kicked. Waaaaah.
(“UFC 2009 Undisputed” retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS3 — Plays fun. Looks very good. Challenging. Rated “T” for alcohol reference, blood, language, mild suggestive themes, violence. Four stars out of four.)
What do you think? Tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your reviews and rants at reviewjournal.com/elfman.NEW IN STORES
“Ghostbusters” is one of the year’s most anticipated games, if you listen to game reviewers. Why?
Because of the warm, fuzzy feelings game reviewers have for the 1984 comedy.
Because Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson’s voices are the real deal in this game. Aykroyd and Ramis have even reprised their roles behind the scenes to come up with story lines for the game.
And because the “Ghostbuster” movies might as well have been tailored for video game spinoffs, with their ghost-vacuum guns, ghost-finding equipment, lots of little ghosts and giant villain bosses.
The game, playing off of the movies, puts you in control of a new recruit, surrounded by the familiar faces from the films. It’s both a first-person and third-person shooter (or vacuumer), depending on what kind of ghost busting you’re up to.
The Tuesday release retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $40 for Wii; $30 for DS and PC; $20 for PS 2. It’s rated “T” for comic mischief, fantasy violence and mild language.
“Guitar Hero: Smash Hits” is a compilation of 48 songs from previous “Guitar Hero” games. Why would you want this rehash? You may not. But you may. You see, these 48 songs were previously included in the “Guitar Hero” games that could be played on the guitar-only “Guitar Hero.”
This disk lets you play those songs in the new “Guitar Hero: World Tour” format, so that you can play the tunes with friends on microphone, guitar, drums and bass.
The songs have also, this time, been reformatted to be based on the remastered versions. And if you previously memorized the way to play these tunes, well, be prepared to memorize again, because they’ve been structured kind of differently than before, in terms of the game play.
Among the songs: “Bark at the Moon,” “Barracuda,” “Free Bird,” “Heart-Shaped Box,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Killer Queen,” “More Than A Feeling” and “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.”
The Tuesday release retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for Wii; $40 for PS 2. It’s rated “T” for lyrics and mild suggestive themes.
“Flower, Sun, and Rain” is a remake of an 8-year-old game for the PS 2 that was released in Japan. This is a puzzle of an action-adventure in which you portray a detective of sorts, on an island, and you’re stuck in a time loop, trying to figure out why things have gone haywire there.
So you get a map, some code-breaking skills and supernatural instincts to seek clues and solve mysteries.
The Tuesday release retails for $30 for DS. It’s rated “T” for alcohol and tobacco reference, mild blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes and mild violence.
— By DOUG ELFMAN