Boxing games used to come out all the time. EA pumped out new Fight Night iterations regularly and there was usually a steady flow of other titles. But the genre kind of dried up over the years. Undisputed entered Early Access the other day and I knew I had to give it a shot. It’d been far too long since I last jumped into a boxing game and I was eager to experience something new. The game has no estimate for when it will be completed but there’s very clearly a long way to go for the title. But the question stands – is Undisputed worth it in Early Access?
When I say Undisputed is Early Access, I mean that even more than what that usually entails. As soon as I entered the tutorial I was bombarded with placeholder text. For whatever reason, the tutorial appeared to be broken for me. The first couple of sections mostly required me to move, only moving didn’t fulfill the criteria. After a few minutes of flailing and hoping the moves would register, I promptly gave up and skipped the tutorial altogether. The menus are very much works in progress too, as there’s even more placeholder text from the game’s modes to its options.
I decided to practice with some matches versus the CPU before jumping online, with my first fight being against an intermediate opponent. Undisputed already has a surprisingly massive roster with various weight classes ranging from featherweight to heavyweight, and even a women’s division. The intermediate opponent I fought against absolutely mopped the floor with me, but was a good introduction to how the game is meant to be played alongside me trying all the buttons out to see what does what. After losing in four or five rounds, I put the game on amateur and naturally had the opposite experience.
My face was beet red for my family photo
Undisputed can only be played with a controller, so don’t expect to be able to play with your mouse and keyboard. The controls are fairly simple and straightforward. You move with the left stick and throw punches with the face buttons and right stick. By default, I had jabs and hooks on the face buttons, with both lefts and rights being thrown depending on which button I pressed. Pressing the left bumper switches your attacks from targeting the head to the body. The right trigger blocks (and can be combined with the left bumper to change where you’re blocking) and the left trigger is used for leaning.
The graphics are surprisingly good for an indie Early Access boxing game. Character models look mostly realistic and animate well. Punched body parts will ripple with punches and change color as hits are landed. In easy matches, it didn’t take long for the faces of my opponents to be totally red. After enough punches land, the characters can be knocked down. When this happens, the other character appears to get unlimited stamina. The downed fighter has to press the triggers to get on their feet. Failing to do so will end with a knockout.
I played Undisputed online some as well. There was a bit of lag, but it took no time at all to find another player and I promptly beat the hell out of them in a couple of rounds (in between patches of the two of us leaning rapidly as if we were having a dance-off). The game will get a career mode and more further down the line, so you should probably only buy now if you want to play online. There’s a long way to go for Undisputed and it’s not as realistic as I was expecting (you can throw a lot of punches with minimal stamina deterioration). But I’m having a lot of fun with the game, so I think Undisputed is worth it in Early Access.