UFC Undisputed 3 Review
A technical, yet enjoyable, MMA experience.
Ever since MMA started to develop a name for its self as a mainstream sport there have been a small group of developers who have tried to gain some sort of dominant position in their attempts to create an almost ‘true to life’ MMA video game. With the first two games in the UFC Undisputed series, THQ came somewhat close but were never really able to make both the hardcore MMA fanatics and the casual players happy. Having said this, with UFC Undisputed 3, there may be an alpha male amongst the testosterone pumped MMA pack.
While UFC 3 has a lot to offer, the first thing you will notice is the ease of accessibility. Jumping into a fight from the get go, and dropping a load of elbows to your opponents face is extremely easy, and with the simplified control system – and the fact that you can choose between Amateur (grappling just requires flicks of the right analog stick) and Pro (works the same as in previous games) controls for grappling – you can spend more than a few hours playing against friends before you even begin to even think about tackling the career mode.
As we can see with the changes made to the controls, THQ have obviously paid attention to fans of the Undisputed games as they have tried to make the way you play the game less technical, while still making sure that players have to apply some sort of technique to the way they play each fighter. Of course, THQ didn’t only listen to fan comments about the game’s controls – they seem to have read every MMA lovers thoughts and included Pride FC as a place to battle it out against both friends and computer.
While Undisputed is always going to center itself around the UFC, the inclusion of Pride gives a whole new aspect to the MMA gaming world. Not only can you chose from a list of the most well known Pride fighters, but you can all mix and match – allowing for both UFC and Pride fighters to duke it out with Pride rules. Before you know it you’ll be stomping on the head of your opponent, or kicking them when they are down on the ground. While it’s a lot of fun to play – especially seeing as it really re-creates the feel of Pride when it was at its prime – it does feel a bit short winded, as there is no career mode or title defense. Maybe we’ll be seeing a full Pride FC video game somewhere down the line?
The career mode itself is a lot of fun and is extremely straight forward – create/pick character; choose fighting style; train; fight; become a badass. Pretty simple, right?
With the ability to choose almost everything about your fighter – from what type of fighting stance they use, to what fights they take – Undisputed makes it very hard for you to dislike the career mode. You now have a simple way of training in various elements – cardio, strength, footwork etc. – before each fight, so you now have to spend less time watching that you have enough time to rest before a fight or do media events. With this new game you spend more time doing the mini training games which range from punching a heavy bag to flipping tires. While I still feel as though Undisputed could have taken a leaf out of EA MMA’s book and made the mini training games more interesting by making you learn combinations that would be of some use in a fight – the new mini games are definitely a step in the right direction, but just a little repetitive.
As well as the general training, Undisputed 3 has the training camp feature, which allows you to go train with a specified fighting camp. So, for example, if you have are using a boxer then it is likely you would want to train with Greg Jackson. This type of attention to detail will really help push this game to new heights among fans of the UFC. Going to these camps allows you to learn special moves that various professional fighters, who use gyms, have developed over their careers.
These gyms also allow you to learn submission moves that can’t be learned otherwise. This initially confused me seeing as if you’re a boxer and you learn one of these submission moves, you would be unlikely to use it seeing as you wouldn’t have good enough stats to pull it off successfully. Either way the moves can be learned if you have the time, and over all it will make your fighter better rounded, which in all fairness is something the game really allows for.
Seeing as I just touched upon the submissions aspect of Undisputed, I might as well carry on by saying that the whole ground work part of UFC 3 has been changed up. Performing transitions on the ground takes some carefully timed rolls on the right analog stick to pass your opponent. Submissions have been changed so you play a mini game, of sorts, to either get a submission or get out of one. Basically when either you or your opponent attempts a submission a Octagon shape will appear on the screen and the idea is to try and cover your opponents bar with your bar for a set amount of time (this is if you are the one doing the submission), if your opponent is trying to submit you then you have to keep him off your bar.
This mini game style is definitely an improvement but I’m unsure whether or not I like it as much as EA MMA’s stamina based submission control. Both have their upsides but as far as I can tell UFC 3’s seems to work rather well, despite the fact that it can take you attention off the well crafted characters and fight sequences.
Online play is pretty great, although I found it a bit jumpy every now and again, but I might have to put that down to my crappy Internet. Not only does UFC 3 provide the Fight Camps feature again, where like minded fighters can come together and train with each other, but it also allows for some fantastic community building add-on’s, such as the ability to share your highlight reel of victories.
Visually UFC 3 is beyond great. Every fighter looks and acts exactly how they do in real life. While it was a bit sad to see that the developers seemed to lack in ingenuity when it came to allowing people to create their own characters – no matter what you do to your personal character they will always look like some grotesque parody of one of the more well known fighters. Having said that though, the developers seemed to put a lot of time and effort into adding those little details such as sweat and bruises/cuts to make fights that bit more interesting – seeing as fights can now be called to an end if a fighter is bleeding too much.
No matter how much I wanted to hate on UFC Undisputed 3 due to its mainstream leanings, it is very hard to do so. While I still feel as though EA made a better, and extremely under rated game, MMA fighting game with EA MMA, I do think that THQ has been able to match them with the newest UFC game, due to a great overhaul of the control system and an all most never ending amount of fun available, because of all the added features like Pride FC, and the Title Defense section. I could go on for another 1000 words about what makes this game so much fun, but in all honesty it all comes down to the great accessibility and the fact that there is just so much to do.