The mixed martial arts sport of UFC has become hugely successful over the last few years thanks to its fast-paced, brutal action. Since its inception, the UFC has spawned reality television shows, lines of action figures and, naturally, video games. The latest installment in the lengthening line of video games, UFC Undisputed 3, looks to strengthen the popularity of the brand, offering a variety of game modes and customisation options yet to be seen in the series.
The popularity of the UFC brand has grown immensely lately, and there’s no doubt that the latest game could raise the stakes between competing brands, particularly WWE. But is this title an easy-beat, or can it combine its punches well enough to land a knockout blow?
What UFC Undisputed 3 Got Right
Improved Fighting Engine - The combat engine is without a doubt the most important part of any fighting game and, just as its predecessors did, UFC Undisputed 3 delivers in this aspect! Players have full control over their character’s every move, from fist-fights to clinch contests to leg-locks. The result is a fighter which can go from furiously fast to incredibly slow in a matter of seconds, just as the real-life equivalent does. This is even more evident whilst using the ‘simulation’ game type, which factors in stamina, meaning players will have to plan their battles on the fly. Simply put, this is one of the most fluent, realistic fighting experiences gaming has seen!
Excellent Career Mode - Upon starting a new career, players will be able to modify a comprehensive set of traits to create their own character. After this, players will be able to schedule their fights and attempt to go up the fighting leaderboards and into the big leagues. Career mode is extremely satisfying for two reasons: firstly, there’s the fun mini-games between fights which you can use to strengthen your character or prepare him for a particular fight. They make for a nice change of pace and accurately represent the sort of training a fighter would have to go through in order to prepare for a battle. Secondly, and more importantly, there’s the fact that players will have to fight very hard to find success. It will take hours of fighting in order to reach more prestigious leagues, and all this hard work can be undone in just a few bad fights. Players will take more care in making sure their character is ready to battle. Ultimately, this makes the career mode much more satisfying than the equivalent found in many competing MMA titles.
Huge roster of characters - In addition to the personalities you can create, there’s a huge roster of over 150 fighters you can fight as or against. Every single fighter goes about their business in a unique way, and so players will need to adjust their tactics for every single fight. This goes a long way in ensuring the experience does not get stale too quickly. The presentation of all fighters should also be noted for its realism, which at times, can make it frightening to play the game due to the likeness to real-life -- at some points in the game, I felt like I was instructing one real person to beat the daylights out of another. The development team should definitely be commended on its efforts in the recreation of the extensive roster of fighters found in UFC Undisputed 3
What UFC Undisputed 3 Got Wrong
Terrible loading times - There’s very little one can say about long loading times, other than the fact that are incredibly inconvenient and stop the flow of the game. While the gameplay tips which scroll across the screen during loading will prove helpful to new players, they do very little to easy the annoyance induced by the seemingly-endless loading sequences.
Slow to progress - On the whole, progressing in this title simply seems like a very long-winded process, meaning you’ll have to dedicate days of gameplay time to get the most out of this game. When you factor in the aforementioned loading times, you find a title which you really have to be able to sit down and play for a few hours in order to find enjoyment. At one stage, I had two hours of gameplay time, only twenty minutes of which was spent fighting. Be warned that if you’re a newcomer to the interactive form of the sport, you will also take several hours to finally come to grips with how everything works.
The Final Verdict
The improved combat system, lengthy and rewarding career mode and huge roster make this the best interactive UFC title to date, and one of the best mixed martial arts experiences available today. All elements of the game combine to create considerable improvement over preceding titles. While the game itself is great, lengthy load times break the flow of the experience, and will frustrate players. However, this does not stop the journey from being a generally-positive one, and all fans of the sport should ensure they do what they can to give this game a go.
By Harry Hughes.