Undisputed Early Access Review: Fluid Boxing Movement is Finally Here

Undisputed Early Access delivers a knockout punch, as long as it keeps developing.

Undisputed is a boxing game that contains several real-life fighters and was released into Early Access on January 31, 2023, on Steam. The game boasts a roster of over 50 boxers, 10 weight divisions, and ranked online gameplay with a public ladder. 

When it comes to realistic combat-sports games for PC, there’s little, if anything, out there that scratches the itch. Finally, after decades — a development team named Steel City Interactive is looking to disrupt the status quo with their new boxing title, Undisputed.

Unlike other boxing games from the past, Undisputed forgoes arcade-style combat and replaces it with realistic boxing movement, crisp combinations, and a real-life ruleset that players must abide by when climbing the ladder online. Though the Early Access version of the game is exclusive for PC at the time of writing, the developers plan to launch the game on Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well. 

Undisputed is a Boxing Fan’s Dream

If you’re generally a fan of the sweet science, there’s a high chance you’ll love Undisputed. Though it lacks the features that a full release would have, I have to say that the movement and combat are the most realistic I’ve ever experienced in a boxing game. 

As a real-life boxing fan (and someone who trained in boxing for a brief time), I’ve always dreamed of a game where I could circle my opponent, pepper them with jabs, slip punches, and deliver devastating combinations. These are all things Undisputed lets you do. 

The movement in Undisputed feels good. A “loose” movement mode increases the chances of your boxer getting knocked out, but it completely changes the way they move around the ring. Where past boxing games felt stiff and limiting, Undisputed feels smooth and realistic.

The boxers you can select fight like their real-life counterparts. Canelo fans don’t come at me — but the guy in the game fights like he’s flat-footed. He has huge power and great shots to the body, but the difference between someone like Alverez and a Sugar Ray Robinson or Ali in the movement category is incredibly noticeable and will alter how you play the game. 

Punches feel good, and when they connect, they feel like they connect. When a counter connects, it feels even better. And the counters make sense too. Players can’t just spam a right hook over and over — they will get dispensed with pretty quickly by a person with even a small amount of competence. This improves the immersion and makes you feel like you’re actually in the ring since many of your online opponents will fight in the “correct” way — or have a horrible losing record. 

Early Access for a Reason

As the Early Access tag would indicate, Undisputed is not a complete game. While I haven’t experienced many crashes or game-breaking bugs, there is a lack of features. One of which, at the time of writing, is the inability to switch stances for certain fighters like Terence Crawford, making his special southpaw trait useless. In addition, the servers haven’t been perfect, and there have been certain matches where the lag made it nearly unplayable for me.

There are missing game modes, the biggest of which is the Career mode, which will enable users to create their own character and try to win fights to become the champion. Because the game has selectable traits that can further play into your fighting style, this game mode is sure to be fun for those that like to RP. 

The modes currently in the game at the time of writing include Online Quick Fight, Online Ranked, Training, and Prize Fights. Online Quick Fight and Ranked are what you would expect. Training is a default training mode to learn the basic controls, and Prize Fights is a singleplayer mode that features historic bouts like Ali vs. Fraizer and has an online leaderboard you can use to compete with other players.

Chances are if you get the game in its current state, you’ll be spending 95% of your time in Online Ranked or Quick Fight. So, if online PvP boxing is down your alley, then you should get it now. If you’re the type to enjoy games by yourself, you still have the option to face off against the CPU, but it isn’t as fun, in my opinion. 

If you’re a singleplayer gamer in it for the solo progression, you’ll probably want to hold off on the purchase until the developers add the Career mode.

Is Undisputed Just a Better Fight Night?

I usually try to avoid title comparisons when reviewing games. Still, I think this review would be missing something if I didn’t address the elephant in the room — Fight Night, the iconic boxing title published by Electronic Arts. 

It would almost be impossible for people not to draw comparisons between any boxing game released and Fight Night because there aren’t many options to be had. Other than Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! , and reboot; it’s been pretty slim pickings for boxing fans out there, and for decades Fight Night held the title of heavyweight champion of the genre. Comparisons to Fight Night are warranted to some extent — but really, what boxing game wouldn’t draw the comparison? 

The last Fight Night that was published was Fight Night: Champion, released in 2011, which never came out on PC. In addition, Fight Night never truly captured many important boxing fundamentals. Jabs were almost meaningless other than to set up a power punch, the movement didn’t always feel right, and the game generally felt clunky and arcadey at times. 

Most online matches would just devolve into a hook-crazy slugfest where it came down to pure luck on who hit the first power punch. And while I could be wrong on this, I think these are all things Undisputed fixes or at least improves on. When I lose, I feel like I lost mentally — not by some random luck. So, in terms of combat and movement, Undisputed is a superior boxing game. 

Final Thoughts

If you are a boxing fan, have been waiting for a decent combat-sports title on PC, or enjoy realistic fighting titles, you should pick up Undisputed in Early Access. While it lacks some features that a full release would have, the realistic combat and online matchmaking ladder will keep you busy for a while and is a good value for its reasonable price tag. 

Keep in mind I say this in an environment where there are virtually no good realistic combat sports games for PC and a world where Madden and FIFA can come out with a new version of the same game every year and charge $60. For the moderate price tag, refined movement and striking mechanics, and the ability to play as your favorite boxers, I highly recommend Undisputed in Early Access. 

Undisputed Early Access Review

Garrett Ettinger

Gameplay
Performance
Visuals
Sound Design
Value

Great

Undisputed is a realistic boxing game that features fluid movement, impactful striking, and an impressive roster of real-life fighters. Though the Early Access state of the game makes it lack in certain areas, the game excels where it’s most important, and most boxing fans will have a blast playing it.

4.3

Undisputed Early Access is on Steam.

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[Reviewed on PC]

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