Undisputed early-access has been available on PC for just a few weeks. The simulation boxing game is unlike any boxing game to date, featuring varying angles players can explore and strike from. This subtle yet complex mechanic may present a steep learning curve for incoming players. Fortunately, players can become acclimated to this new and exciting fight environment by focusing on footwork and timing.
Footwork and Angles
Developer Steel City Interactive’s locomotion engine plays like a 2K sports game. Accordingly, Undisputed’s footwork system requires precision. Players who are mindful of their pivots can move towards advantageous positions during the fight. Conversely, players who throttle the movement stick might get caught in a bad position on the canvas. Thus, it is crucial to learn the momentum system, keeping in mind each boxer will feature subtle differences in ratings and feel.
Players can use momentum to take advantage of different angles in Undisputed to create space. For example, rather than weaving alone, players can side-step punches subtly to activate counterpunch boosts and find windows to throw through.
Once players become comfortable with the movement in Undisputed, players will want to learn the different punch animations by their favorite fighters. This is because each fighter’s punches animate different enough to impact timing. Punches vary in speed because the animation frames-per-second can vary, fighter to fighter. Additionally, each fighter has a different reach, so players will want to learn the distance on each fighter’s punch animations. In essence, players will need to study their favorite combinations and specific angles and find the best zones to throw combinations from.
Players should make note that Undisputed is a boxing simulator, and it emphasizes realistic physics and combos. Therefore, players can take advantage of their favorite fighter’s natural motion and increase their punches’ speed. Combinations such as a left uppercut followed by a right hook will fire with a subtle increase in speed. This is because the momentum from throwing the left leads a fighter beautifully into a weight-bearing, load-position on the right.
Further, on the point of punch momentum, directional punches are one tool that can help players throw punches and simultaneously move quickly into a new position. Undisputed’s official gameplay tips video showcases the four directions each fighter’s punches can be thrown with. In addition, the slick video showcases front foot pivots and punches, emphasizing the game’s unique fight engine. The game allows for movement around the opponent for what feels like almost 180 degrees.
Throwing a directional punch from the center line will move a fighter into a 45-degree angle relative to their opponent, potentially setting up an advantage. The key word is “potentially.” It is essential to understand that not all punches will connect from different angles and distances. In this regard, Undisputed naturally guides players into fighting strategically – it is what makes the game special.
Undisputed Unlocked – Defense
Defense is critical in Undisputed, and fighters that can properly block both the head and body will have a chance in most fights. Players can activate directional blocking with the right trigger and the right analog stick. Players can also launch into the weave while in a blocking state to maneuver the boxer’s body to absorb an incoming assault. The weave mechanic gives players complete 360-degree control, although the feet are planted firmly into place when it is activated.
One reason a mastery of blocking is so vital is that fighters can throw dozens of hooks at high-speed in the game’s current state. Online players throw 500+ hooks to the body with fighters like Roy Jones Jr., which can be challenging to defend. Developer Steel City Interactive has even pushed a game update to penalize the repeated throws from the same side.
Elbows can absorb some of the shots to the body if players weave to the correct side while the block trigger is active. Blocking is only sometimes effective since punches can bleed through and cause damage. Hence, blocking accuracy is just as, if not more critical, than punch accuracy in Undisputed. Players who can find ways to minimize the damage and slow opponents down over 12 rounds will discover that they can outbox spammers. Roy Jones Jr. in the middleweight division is a problem to deal with, and rightfully so, but one that players can solve with the latest game update.
The slip mechanic can effectively dodge headshots, but more is needed to solve opponents’ unrelenting barrage of body shots. For this reason, well-timed directional punches away from the opponent’s strong hand can move fighters away from the weight and power of an opponent’s punches.
To this end, Undisputed’s simulated physics consisting of power, velocity, and mass operate brilliantly. Punches can glance off of gloves and the body, minimizing impact.
Undisputed Unlocked – Counterpunching
Similarly, a well-timed evasive shuffle can achieve a similar result and create counterpunching opportunities. The defensive shuffle can be performed by double-tapping the left analog stick in one of four directions – and will get players out of harm’s way. Remember that weave and block, left and right triggers, respectively, cannot be active when moving.
Counterpunching is an effective strategy in Undisputed. Players who take the openings opponents give can capitalize and receive a damage boost by making their opponent miss. One subtle way to activate counter-boosts is by deploying the weave mechanic in the pocket. Rather than weaving to lean back, players can slip punches left and right. Players that learn their opponent’s tendencies can take advantage.
It is still early, and the game is likely to change, but Undisputed’s fundamentals are firmly intact. Footwork and physics play up in a big way in Undisputed’s simulation fight engine.
Undisputed went live on Early Access on Steam for PC on Jan. 31, 2023.
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