UFC Undisputed 3|
The UFC is back! I guess it never really left since the marketing and moneymaking machine that is UFC has been increasing in popularity every week. The last incarnation of this game was UFC Undisputed 2010. It was a very good game with some small annoyances. But THQ has taken some extra time to work on the gameplay and listen to user feedback. What they have come back with in UFC Undisputed 3 is a much more streamlined experience with better graphics and more features that any fight fan would enjoy.
In the past two years MMA (and UFC) has risen in popularity to the point that they now have a show dedicated to MMA fights on ESPN, the UFC has some events on cable network FX and now on over-the-air FOX national broadcasts. They have action figures in Toys-R-Us right next to the fake fighting WWE toys. UFC seems to have passed by WWE in popularity and has its sights set on crushing the sweet science of boxing next.
Dana White and his UFC cohorts are smart. They use the internet as their biggest marketing tool with smartphone apps, pay per view events can be seen on cable, satellite, computer, and Xbox, and they control their own broadcasts from on-screen talent to full production graphics. They dont have to pay their fighters huge amounts because they keep buying their MMA competitors so fighters have no place else to go. Brilliant!
The install time on PS3 is ridiculous. UFC Undisputed 3 required over 3 gigs of space on my hard drive. Once I did clear enough space it took over 20 minutes for the game to install, and even then the load times between selection screens and events are still slow but not horrible. It may take 15-20 seconds for a sparing fight or main event to load. Frustrating, but I never had it lock up like some other games.
Once the game starts you have to pick your control scheme. The pro control uses right stick gestures for grappling actions. A major transition requires you to move the right stick to the left then sweep around. A minor transition is straight up or down and sweep. The amateur control is simply a straight down for major and straight up for minor grapples.
There are plenty of game modes to keep you busy in this latest UFC installment. The addition of Pride to the UFC arsenal adds another level of realism to this game. When you start a fight you have to choose between UFC and Pride fights (the scenery and rules are a little different). Pride is more of a showboat Las Vegas style of event. Even the announcers are over the top. In some ways it feels like UFC is a sport, Pride is more entertainment. Exhibition mode is a quick jump right into a fight. Pick your weight class and your fighters and go at it. There are some new weight classes in UFC Undisputed 3 which is a very welcome addition.
Other game modes include a career mode where you make your own fighter and train him. The title mode lets you pick a fighter and basically fight your way up the rankings to take a shot for the title. Once you win a title, that fighter is unlocked for the title defense mode. Tournament mode lets you pick between UFC and Pride rules then place fighters in a bracket tournament.
Ultimate fights mode let you pick from a list of great fights so you can relive some classics. This year they let you pick which fighter you want to play and the goals are updated. You can pick from The best of Pride, Ultimate Submissions, Ultimate Knockouts, Ultimate Rivals, and Ultimate Upsets. Many of these fights have to be purchased and downloaded as a DLC from the PlayStation Store. There is a good list of fights but there are a lot of classics that are not there simply because the fighters involved are no longer under contract with UFC. The last mode is Event Mode where you can create your own event. You get to pick the event name, arena, distribution, and number of fights. Then you fill out the fight card with the fighters you want to see.
There are over 150 fighters included in UFC Undisputed 3 in several weight classes.
PlayStation Online (PSN) play isnt really much different than offline play, and thats a good thing. Once the game synced up with another fighter I never experienced any lag problems or other normal issues with online games. This is a big improvement over previous versions where I had a lot of connection issues. This year the only issue I had was I apparently suck at this game. In eleven online fights I got clocked six times and submitted (unwillingly) twice. I think Ill stick to watching UFC fights.
UFC Undisputed 3 comes with a 7-day free trial of online play limited to exhibition matches. The game comes with a code for full access that gets you into fight camps and content sharing which is where the real rivalries can develop between you and your friends. It's unfortunate game companies are resorting to this strategy of crippling online play to force gamers to either buy new games or buy a used game then have to fork over more money to active online play. But with rising costs of licensing leagues and athletes, the developers have to recoup their investment somehow. Games are pushing the limit at $60 for new games so DLCs and forced online access passes for used games are the path to profits for them.
Gameplay graphics in UFC Undisputed 3 are even better than UFC 2010. The fighters respond much more accurately to user input and every fighter included looks like the real guys, right down to the color of their tattoos. The game interface itself is a product of UFCs in house video production right down to the transitions between fights. It looks like a PPV event in every way except without the hefty hit to the wallet. The transition wipes have been VERY compressed graphically so be ready to see some pixels, but overall the eye candy is in the fights themselves.
As usual, the customization possibilities in UFC Undisputed 3 are top notch. Creating a fighter can be an all-day affair since there are so many ways to design your fighter and ring banner. Sponsor logos are plentiful and you can even create your own markings (similar to what we see in Call of Duty). Tattoo and Scars are unfortunately a little more limited. Most of the texts and symbols available in the custom banner section are also available for tats, but not critical creation items such as squares, circles and lines. I wanted to give my fighter a cool Green Bay Packers logo tat but all thats possible is text. The tools are not there to make the circled G like they are for the banner. The same goes for custom gear like hats, shirts, and shorts. You can put sponsor logos all over and change the color of the gear, but you cant add your own design. Its fun, but the limitations are frustrating.
The Playstation Store offers the UFC Undisputed 3 season pass for $16.99. It includes Alistair Overeem (who recently beat Brock Lessner into retirement), the early access pack, and two future Ultimate Fights and Fighter Pack bundles. It does not include the Gamestop exclusive pre-order Contenders Pack (which includes Nick Diaz, Jason "Mayhem" Miller, Phil Davis and Brian Stann). There are 4 exclusive packs available free with pre-orders. Those packs are available through Gamestop, Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Also on the PlayStation Store is a .99 cent Alistair Overeem, and a submissions pack and ultimate fights pack which are currently free.
I think its great that more and more developers are using DLCs to keep their product fresh. Ive long thought this is what they should be doing with most sports games as the yearly releases seem to be somewhat suicidal from a development cost vs sales point of view. My problem with this method of updating games is when they start taking stuff that should have been in the game in the first place and charging more money for a DLC. We are already shelling out $60 for these games and spending another $17 for a DLC to get the heavyweight champion. DLCs should add or update rosters, not take stuff out of the game that should have come with it in the first place.
The overall fight experience in UFC Undisputed 3 is probably the best fight simulator Ive ever seen. Far more involved than a boxing game, THQ has really pushed the limit with this version of UFC. Its accurate right down to the color of tattoos. The fighters look and fight like their real life counterparts and the overall physics are spot on. Sometimes you can be beating on some guy and he will pull a surprise head kick and youll be out cold on the canvas with a loss. Its not fun when that happens but its accurate to real UFC events sometimes the chump gets lucky. So keep your guard up and fight smart. Learn the controls and moves and before long youll be in a title fight.
UFC Undisputed 3 is a great game for any fight fan. Its a perfect mix of boxing and WWE showmanship with the cuts and cauliflower ears to prove it.