Beatings, Blood & Button-Bashing: UFC Undisputed 3 Reviewed

With the popularity of the sport soaring, the third instalment in the game franchise sees it head and shoulders above other fighting games due to the quality of the game mechanics...
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With the popularity of the sport soaring, the third instalment in the game franchise sees it head and shoulders above other fighting games due to the quality of the game mechanics...

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A new UFC title has been absent from games consoles for the last year, but earlier this month has appeased the fans with the release of UFC Undisputed 3. UFC Undisputed 2010, the last entry in the series, set the bar high for the franchise, but does the sequel match its predecessor’s success?

UFC Undisputed 3 features a sparse selection of game modes, including Career Mode and Exhibition among the other standard Championship modes. At first glance this may appear like a limited selection given the number of options provided by other fighting titles, but there is no questioning the depth of content in this new game.

For those willing to invest the significant amount of time it takes to complete, Career Mode offers players a chance to create their ideal fighter and take him through to becoming a champion. Once you have cleared the detailed character creation options and the slightly-too-lengthy tutorial, you are free to develop your fighter as you wish.

Many of the peripheral options, such as gym sessions to improve your fighter’s stats, or training sessions to learn new moves, can be played through to gain the maximum benefit as you prepare for your next trip to the octagon.

For those who want to leap straight in though, the option to automatically advance your character is available as long as you don’t mind missing out on your full potential. Additional options include sponsorship deals and the chance to acquire new training partners and round off the down-time between each fight.

Nevertheless, whether you are powering through the leagues in Career mode or taking down an opponent online, it is the fighting mechanics which set UFC apart from other contemporary fighting games. Whether you are flinging punches in the standing fight, or on the floor trying to get the submission, the game remains detailed but accessible.

The control scheme can be adjusted depending on your familiarity with the franchise, allowing new players to use an amateur control setup which is easier to master, requiring only simplistic moves performs on the analog sticks. Hardcore UFC fans can dive straight in with the pro controls assuming their finger dexterity is up the challenge. The game difficulty can be scaled depending on how much of a challenge you want from gaming experience.

Newcomers will soon realise that while mashing the face buttons may translate to some seriously weighty punches and kicks on screen, but that it is only a matter of time before you need to master the finer nuances of the game and learn when to block and when to go in for that knock out blow. This is where training sessions are essential, advancing your stats and mastering the more complex moves which can make all the difference in the fight.

Newcomers will soon realise that while mashing the face buttons may translate to some seriously weighty punches and kicks on screen, but that it is only a matter of time before you need to master the finer nuances of the game

A new addition to the series, the submission ring, provides a simple visual indicator for players to respond to, requiring you to avoid or align the enemy’s symbol with your own, with a submission succeeding if the two symbols align.

While the new function is easy to use and leaves no room for doubt, the sudden appearance of this colourful overlay on top of the scene of two fighters wrestling breaks the immersion, pulling you out of the intensity of the moment.

Further additions include the Pride Grand Prix, a new league introducing a new rule set and new fighters to the already significant roster of characters, which now stands at over 150 fighters. The new Highlight Reel function allows players to save and edit footage from their games, and share these videos with friends, ensuring no one ever forgets your greatest moments.
For the most part, however, UFC Undisputed 3 lives up the standards set down by its 2010 forebear without stepping out from under its shadow. The fighting retains the great feeling it did in UFC Undisputed 2010, with only minor changes setting it apart. Features which proved successful in 2010, such as the Fight Camp mode, return wholesale with little changed.

The game looked great two years ago, and while there has been no noticeable improvement to the graphics during the interim period, it only goes to show how great it looked back in 2010. The characters punches and kicks connect realistically as blood splatters the canvas and sweat glistens on the back of the fighters.

Minor characters such as the women introducing the fight retain their expressionless features from 2010, but their screen time is limited and the animation on the fighters’ remains outstanding and more than makes up for those rare moments where an emotionless character appears.

Fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, be it the real life competition or the videogame franchise, will find something worth their time in UFC Undisputed 3. The game features a substantial catalogue of video content detailing the history of the UFC and interviews with some of the fighters and referees, which will be more than enough to whet the appetite of any fan.
If you are an old hand at the UFC games or a newcomer to the series there is a great experience to be had with UFC Undisputed 3. It is not the greatest departure from the second instalment, but this only acts to reiterate how accomplished the series was back then. It is a standard which UFC Undisputed 3 easily upholds.

This review is based on a copy of UFC Undisputed 3 provided by THQ.

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