Boxing has a long tradition in the field of videogames, dating back to 1984 Punch-Out!! It delighted fans of this sport both in Nintendo machines and in arcades. If we continue reviewing great titles in the ring, without a doubt, another of the names that will attend the event without fail is that of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, an essential Dreamcast that, like the Nintendo title, embraced the arcade as a way to convey boxing. However, in the field of simulation, the offer has not been as abundant, nor of such quality, as in other sports that have had a greater representation in the videogame industry. In fact, to find the last great simulation title, which allowed us to clash gloves in the ring, we have to go to 2006, the year of release of Fight Night Round 3. But all this is about to change thanks to Undisputeda video game developed by Steel City Interactivewhich aims to fill that gap in the current catalog of the videogame industry, and which has the necessary wickers to establish itself as a new benchmark for future boxing titles.
Sports simulation is a genre that, throughout my life as a gamer, I always end up returning to. It is true that years ago, when the obligations were scarce and the time to play was greater, it was easier to fall for this type of proposal. Even with those, in the end some game like this always ends up coming into my hands and, if the result is satisfactory, everything usually starts with a common denominator: the celebration. Finding myself with a video game that celebrates something, and that does it correctly, usually brings a smile to my face despite the fact that said celebration is not really for me. It turns out that, on this occasion, he does go with me, although I won’t stop now to explain why. The point is that the first thing that catches your eye Undisputed is his powerful love for boxing, and it is that everything in the game oozes passion for this sport. From the available fighters (more than 50, and with historical figures such as Ali and icons such as Rocky Marciano), to its scenery, going through a combat system that adapts, while redefining, the ways in which the medium has approached the control in this type of proposals.
It is true that the first tutorial can be somewhat overwhelming. In fact, in this sense, I think it would have been more convenient to opt for a series of combats that require us, little by little, to execute the different types of blows and movements that we will have at our disposal. Be that as it may, the truth is that You can expect a deep proposal, although this does not mean that one cannot start enjoying from minute one. The distribution of the buttons and the way of approaching the execution of each of the available actions plays an important role here. And it is that Undisputed he endorses one of the best design decisions that can be attributed to Smash, the use of the second joystick as a shortcut to achieve a somewhat more intuitive execution of movements.
Getting into the matter, when launching direct blows (jabs), curved (crochets), hooks (uppercuts) or stabs (hooks) we must resort to two main buttons and combinations between them. Which, added to the possibility of carrying out powerful blows (combination with triggers), of feinting, of covering ourselves and of changing the footwork, leaves a scheme that, a priori, may seem somewhat complex. Now, it turns out that with the right joystick we can make three of these blows, also deciding with which arm we do it. A wise design decision that gives you a lot of dynamism to each combat.
Button scheme aside, what makes Undisputed paint so well is, above all else, his behavior in the ring. Managing any of the available boxers is a real delight that begins with the footwork and mobility, and ends with its very accurate camera (capable of following the action at all times and transmitting the impact of each punch). The title allows us to move around the ring feinting, feinting and changing rhythm to pleasure in a way that feels completely natural. Something fundamental to enter what a boxing match proposes, which is nothing more than controlling the tempos.
Starting from that base, each combat becomes a confrontation that combines the global strategy with the deception that we intend to carry out in every small moment. Feinting, throwing a string of jabs to finish off with a reverse hook or uppercut, punishing a specific area of the body, moving away to recover and control the stamina bar, and landing a powerful blow at the right time to stun the opponent and set the stage for a KO that avoids going to points. Everything feels natural, and everything is part of the great little gear that is each fight..
And it is that the strategy to follow is as relevant as the technique when it comes to feinting, covering or hitting. We will have to control the resistance bar at all times, because if it reaches zero we will be stunned and exposed to a blow that can end up being fatal. In addition, the intensity that we decide to give each round will have consequences, since fatigue is cumulative, and it is not convenient to arrive exhausted at the last bars of the fight. Of course, if we corner the rival and manage to stun him, our boxer will enter into a state of adrenaline that will allow you to deal a series of blows without your body noticing excessive physical wear.
What I’m getting at, with all this, is that Undisputed has already covered the most important part of its development, which is none other than deliver a combat system that lives up to expectations that have been created around them. This, which is not little, is accompanied by a series of configuration options that, as in any good current simulator, allows you to adjust the accessibility of your proposal, proposing a gateway that adapts perfectly to both those who intend to take a couple of pachangas, like the one who comes here wanting to burn hours and hours in the ring.
Now, many of you will be wondering, beyond its solvent playable proposal, what else does Undisputed offer? Here, from the outset, it must be taken into account that what is currently being launched on the market in an early access version. As far as modes are concerned, things are rather sparse. Today the title has quick confrontations, with a series of temporary combats called prize fights, with the training mode and with the online mode. However, reviewing its menus, it becomes clear that there is a career mode on the way that can be, if things are done right, the icing on the cake.
And it is that despite the fact that there are things to be polished as far as ceremony is concerned, the way forward already seems clear. The commentators, for example, are a delight (in English, yes), and the atmosphere that reigns in the pavilions that have an audience is tremendously stimulating. It is not difficult to come up when a loaded uppercut enters and the public begins to scream with excitement, or when a well-executed dodge raises cheers from the staff. So in this sense, things do not look bad at all.
All in all, few more conclusions can be drawn from this early access version. Of course, taking into account the panorama that boxing was facing in the world of video games, this is more than good news. It is not that Undisputed points to good manners, it is that with what has been shown so far, it is on its way to becoming the best boxing title that has ever been developed. The base, of course, is already present. The most difficult and, at the same time, important, has already been achieved; hit the key to naturalize boxing through command. Now it’s time to decorate the proposal and complete the offer with all the accessories that one expects from a sports simulator. It’s time to continue building Undisputed ends up being that celebration of boxing that the video game lacks.