THQ is once again the Undisputed MMA champ
Posted 1 year ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
UFC Undisputed 3 is the first in the series to be released following a decision by THQ and Yuke’s to move the fighting game to a lengthier development cycle. In theory, the additional time should have allowed Yuke’s to improve upon the game’s combat engine, game modes, and online features. Unfortunately, only a few improvements have been made since the last time Undisputed hit store shelves. While there’s still a very strong game at the core of UFC Undisputed 3, this latest entry feels like more of the same yet again.
Series vets should feel right at home when they step into the octagon. UFC Undisputed 3 controls virtually identical to the previous two entries in the franchise, with the only minor difference being how submissions are handled. Gone is the “Shine,” and in its place is a new mini-game where players navigate an octagonal pop-up. If you’re trying to submit an opponent, you’ll have to chase down a little bar, and keep it contained until the submission meter fills. If your opponent manages to avoid your attempt, they’ll not only escape the hold, but also switch to a more dominant position against you. This is the only real change to combat in the UFC. Punches and kicks are still mapped to the face buttons. Blocking and takedowns are still achieved by pulling a trigger button and flicking either the left or right stick. It’s amazing how little has changed in the time since UFC Undisputed 2010 came out.
"With the extra development time given for Undisputed 3, it’s strange to see just how similar it is to the prior entries in the series."
That said, the reason things haven’t changed all that much is because UFC’s combat engine is still pretty solid. All the moves at your disposal have a great bit of weight to them, and you genuinely feel like you’re actually dealing, or taking, punishment. Even though striking remains the same control-wise, there is a greater emphasis on countering and swaying in this entry. Effective countering will almost always result in your opponent taking more damage, and it’s one of the quickest ways to down a fighter without expending a lot of energy. Should you get knocked down, this year’s version of the game does allow you to sway from the ground position to avoid getting TKO’d. It’s a small, but welcome addition.
In an effort to make the game a bit easier to play, Yuke’s has implemented a new, more casual transition control scheme alongside the more intricate one of old. You lose some of the technical proficiency when playing with what Yuke’s deems “amateur” controls, but the only thing these controls affect is transitions. If the ground game isn’t your forte, or if you’re a recently converted UFC fan, this is a great and simple way to become more adept at one of MMA’s major components. Ground maneuvering is still an important part of the game, though like striking, not much has changed beyond that one small aspect.
UFC Undisputed 3 introduces for the first time a Pride mode, which follows the rules and regulations of one of Japan’s premiere fighting organizations. Though Pride takes place in a ring, and the round times are a bit different, the biggest variance between the two companies is how Pride allows you to kick or knee a downed opponent in the head. There’s a whole new set of rules and animations based on these brutal moves created just for this one game mode. It’s indeed great to see Pride and all that it entails included in Undisputed 3. However, there’s no Pride career, or way to play through a Grand Prix tournament. Pride is mostly relegated to exhibition fights, both online and offline. In your UFC career, you can be invited to a Pride event, but it’s a mere fleeting glance at one of the game’s big draws.
Of all the elements of Undisputed, Career mode undoubtedly has seen the most love from the extended development cycle. Streamlined, more engaging, and focused on fighting instead of training (read: grinding) your created fighter, it is a much more enjoyable experience than the previous entries provided. Not only can you take a created fighter through the ranks, but you can now also play as any of your favorite fighters. No matter how you choose to play the Career, the ease with which you can train to build up stats, or prepare for fights is greatly appreciated. Undisputed 2010 was a labor intensive simulation that tested the patience of even the most devout UFC fanatics. This year’s Career takes all the painstaking stat management away, and allows players to jump in and out of actual fights within minutes. Yes, you will still have to train, but even the new mini-games and exercises are much more entertaining, and the results much more satisfying.
While it would have been great to see more improvements to the action inside the octagon, Yuke’s did take the time to include two new difficulty settings to alleviate some long-standing issues fans had with the way UFC has played up to this point. Competition and Equalized Stats help level the playing field a bit when testing your mettle against friends. Competition mode removes flash KOs and other random elements, which allows fights to play out a little bit more realistically. Equalized Stats goes one step further, and completely evens out the ratings of every fighter in the game. You’re still limited to fighting within a weight class, but no player will have a distinct advantage over another. As nice as it is to see these difficulty settings included, many fights still don’t make it out of the first two rounds, and decisions are all but non-existent, which detracts from the realism somewhat as any of the UFC faithful can attest, a huge portion of the fights go the distance. Fights may be a little bit more tightly contested, but even with these new settings, Undisputed 3 isn’t as strong of a simulation fighting game as Yuke’s is striving to create.
Online you’ll find the standard ranked and unranked exhibition modes. You can choose to fight in the UFC or Pride, but there still aren’t more game options like tournaments or online federations. Fight Camps return, and allow players to team together to earn victories as a united group. Seeing these Camps implemented in a deeper aspect would have been great, but for now they remain unchanged from where they were more than a year ago. Players can now create highlight reels of their offline fights to share with friends and the community, and it’s an interesting addition. The UFC makes a big deal out of their Ultimate Knockout/Submission home videos, and giving players the chance to create their own smaller version of that is a nice touch.
At first glance, UFC Undisputed 3 could easily be mistaken for one of the previous games in the series. It isn’t until after you’ve played a few matches that you see how many new animations have been added, and how many tweaks to the fighter models have been made. Fighters really do look impressive in motion, and the collision detection is still on point. Entrances make their debut in Undisputed 3, and Yuke’s does a nice job recreating both the UFC and Pride pre-fight action. That said, fighter entrances aren’t that different from one another, and the allure wears off after just a few fights. Commentary is always a tricky situation in a sports title, and in a fighting game in particular there are only so many ways Joe Rogan can say, “Nice punch.” Rogan and Goldberg do a decent job keeping pace with the action in the octagon, as do their Pride counterparts Bas Rutten and Stephen Quaddros. It’s unavoidable that repetitiveness will eventually set in, but after hours and hours with the game, there are often still new insights to be heard from the four analysts.
There are definitely some nice improvements and additions made to UFC Undisputed 3. However, Undisputed 3 still feels very much the same. THQ and Yuke’s had a great core game with the original UFC 2009 Undisputed. They improved on it ever so slightly with UFC Undisputed 2010. With the extra development time given for Undisputed 3, it’s strange to see just how similar it is to the prior entries in the series. Die-hard UFC fans will certainly find a lot to like about the game, as will newcomers, thanks in large part to the more friendly controls. Both the subtle nuances and the new modes should keep everyone content. But we can’t help to think that maybe Yuke’s could have strived for more than that.
+ New casual-friendly controls make learning to play easier
+ Pride mode is a great inclusion
+ Career is much improved
- Commentary will get repetitive
- Lack of Pride options leaves you wanting more
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Release Date : 2012/02/15
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : THQ
Developer : THQ
Category : Sports
ESRB : T
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