[quote-left]UFC Undisputed 3 is the best game in the series.[/quote-left]After taking a year off to make some improvements and slight adjustments, THQ is bringing back the Undisputed series for its third installment. The two previous games were great representations of UFC as a company and MMA as a sport, giving players an honest portrayal of the sport and enough depth in the fighting mechanics to dive into and master. UFC Undisputed 3 is the best game in the series, but I can’t shake off the feeling that the game only received slight improvements and the things that didn’t work in the previous games still don’t work in this new iteration. In the words of the veteran voice of the octagon, “It’s time!”
I started off my UFC Undisputed 2010 review with my thoughts on the Career Mode, so why not do that again? My main complaint then was that it focused way too much on the training aspect of your created character and choosing which special attributes to level up and such. UFC Undisputed 3’s Career Mode basically streamlines all of that and chooses to focus on the fights and training you for said fights. After accepting a fight you are given a certain number of actions you can perform before your fight like choosing a number of training activities such as working on your ground game or flipping big ass tires. Another option is to join a fight camp to learn new moves or choosing a game plan which will increase your stats significantly for the upcoming fight. You can also choose to start off the mode with a Created Fighter or a Roster fighter, which is a good option to have although I chose to go the Created Fighter route. Truth is training and adding attribute points to different skills can get tedious and boring, so making this stuff streamlined makes the mode more engaging and not such a bore.
One aspect the series never lacked were in-depth fighting mechanics. I would argue it was too in-depth thus making it off putting to new players like me, specifically when it came to the ground game controls. In an effort to encourage players to take the game to the ground, UFC Undisputed 3 gives you the option of choosing between Amateur or Pro grappling controls. This gives players like me who relied solely on the stand up game to win a fight a chance to test out our skills on the ground. The Amateur settings allow you to flick up or down on the right stick to make your transitions when grappling. I was able to immediately adapt to these controls and its made me a better player.
With more accessible and easy to use grappling controls comes a new submission system that merits the grappling controls. If you choose to take your fight to the ground and apply a submission you’ll trigger an Octagon meter appear in the middle of the screen. This mini game, if you will, is much like a cat and mouse game where your meter must hover over your opponents in order to apply pressure and get him to submit. The submission system can be tricky depending on your fighters submission skill and your opponents submission defense. These improvements made UFC Undisputed 3 feel like an authentic MMA game, as oppose to just a slug fest.
[quote-right]The THQ online servers are bad. They didn’t work then and they certainly don’t work now.[/quote-right]Some major additions to the game are the featherweight and bantamweight fighters, which now bring the number of fighters to over 140. Although these divisions aren’t the most exciting in the UFC, it does offer fans a chance to play as some notable fighters like Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo, and Domick Cruz. But the greatest addition to the game by far is the option to fight in a PRIDE FC setting with PRIDE FC rules. UFC Undisputed 3 brings PRIDE FC back to life by capturing the full presentation and spectacle that PRIDE had to offer. The fighting with PRIDE options lets you choose from a number of PRIDE fighters and even features commentary from Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros.
For every improvement UFC Undisputed 3 has made though, there’s one it has yet to make. The THQ online servers are bad. They didn’t work then and they certainly don’t work now. I was pretty unlucky when it came to connecting to the servers and was only able to be matched up against someone twice; one of which got disconnected seconds after the match started. It’s disappointing considering there are online fight camps you can join and content to share like created fighters, banners, and highlight reels. Not to mention achievements that require you to play 300 matches; consider those impossible to get. The biggest insult is that the game requires an online pass to gain access to an online mode that works when it wants to. Hopefully the servers get better in time, but WWE 12’s servers barely work now and that game has been out since November.
[quote-left]…feels like an authentic UFC experience.[/quote-left]The UFC Undisputed series has always hit the ball out of the park with the outstanding presentation of each fight. The tale of the tape, the intros, the announcing, and having fighters actually look like their real selves makes UFC Undisputed 3 feel like an authentic UFC experience. As great as it is, I would be lying if I didn’t say it gets pretty tiresome. At this point in the game I literally button smash the controller just to skip all the intros and even though you can skip them it’ll still be at least a minute before the actually fighting starts. A skip directly to fight option would of been a convenient addition.
Though it didn’t make huge game altering improvements, UFC Undisputed 3 surpasses its predecessors. The addition of the featherweight and bantamweight division, along with the PRIDE FC options is enough to keep any MMA fan happy. The problematic online servers may limit your fights to only locally as opposed to worldwide, but there’s enough content offered to keep you busy inside the octagon. If you’re an MMA fan and want an MMA game, this is it, and not only because it’s the only MMA game out but at least it’s good. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to “read” the Arianny Playboy issue.