The UFC is back and this time it’s technical. The graphics, fighting, polish and overall fun have been improved. This game boasts a massive roster of fighters, and even more on the way with DLC. The premise is simple, beat the crap out of the other guy until you knock him out or get him to submit. Now, that’s easier said than done when some of these guys are are big as a house. Technical aspects have been tweaked and the controls allow for more casual gamers to get involved and pros will love it as you can style your own fighter the way you like. So, lets dive right in there.
In the main menu you can just jump right into the action with exhibition fights. Here you first choose which organisation to fight with (UFC or Pride) and then the weight class, rounds, difficulty, rules and the energy level you want. The UFC obviously has more weight classes going from the small bantam weight to the massive heavy weights. A pretty sweet feature is the ability to choose your venue from the Mandalay Bay arena to the O2 arena and even the UFC gym. Whats more, you can also choose your ref.
All the fighters are present and boy there are there a lot of them. More than any previous UFC game in fact. All the favourites including Brock Lesnar (now retired), Rampage Jackson (both UFC and Pride versions), Tito Ortiz (minus Jenna) and, of course, all the current champions are present and every stat you need to know is at your finger tips.
The fights themselves look much better than in previous games and the controls have also been improved. You throw light punches with square and triangle, kicks with circle and cross. To throw heavy ones you push the left stick towards your opponent and hit the same buttons and this allows combos to be chained together far easier. You block with R1 for your head and R2 for the body, takedowns are initiated with the right stick. You can also defend takedowns by moving the right to stick away from your opponent. To begin a submission, you get in a clinch or get on top and press R3, this is where a mini-game is introduced where you must follow your opponent’s marker in the shape of an octagon. The closer you get to a tap out, the closer the camera zooms.
There are more moves to master and this can be done via the practise and tutorial modes where you are taught at a good pace. The graphics are better as well, the ring entrances are just perfect, the fighters look realistic and their music, the fireworks, their team in the corner and the way they move are all right on the money. The facial expressions are priceless when you stagger the fighters, and the blood and spit you knock out of each other is just messy and feels so right. The impact of the punches sounds good, but sometimes the sound is muffled and sounds a bit weird. You also get a nice highlight reel showing how well, or badly, you did.
The game mode option is where the meat of this game lies. From here you can enter the Career mode where you take control of a fighter and train him up to be a UFC champion. The new Career mode focuses on training games and more fights. This is done to make you have more action faster as the previous game focused a little to much on stat management. The training games are great as they break up the fighting and add to your attributes. You can also choose a gym to fight in and this year you can try each gym before you decide on one to be your camp for the rest of the campaign mode. THQ have really listened to fans here as you can see the polish has increased and the speed with which you get to the action is much improved. The menus here are also easy to navigate. You can choose to create a fighter from scratch or take one of the roster and increase their stats then see how they fare. A nice touch is the inside videos you get to watch during this mode that show you just what it’s like to be a UFC fighter.
During this whole game you have the voice of Mike Goldberg guiding you through the menus and giving you all the tutorials you need to learn. The create-a-fighter options are very detailed here. You can change the physical looks, hair, tattoos, ring gear and then select your martial arts background. This will depend on what kind of fighter you are. You then select your stance and power hand. From here you can then jump into the Training mode and the octagon is yours.
The Career mode is vast and will take you a good long while to get to the top of the mountain, while the Title mode is where you can try to be champion in a ladder system, but beware, lose three times and your done. Tournament mode is exactly what its name suggests, while one of the most fun modes is the Ultimate Fight where you can take part in history being made. During fights you are asked to perform tasks and when you do you unlock movies that go with the action. Another good option here is that you can now play as both fighters and unlock each specific movie. Before each fight you see the video to hype it up and this actually gets your fired up. The good thing about this mode is the ability to replay fights to get all the objectives completed. This adds replay value to the game. You can also create your own event in the Event mode.
The commentary during fights is class. Both Joe and Mike have accurate phrases and the timing is right. Sometimes a sound bite goes wrong, but most of the time the action is called as it happens. An annoying problem is that the menus take a while to load and generally loading times are pretty slow. It’s a big game, however, so we can excuse the developers this to a certian extent. This game is just really fun, playing with a mate next to you is joyous as you see the blood pouring out of them. Online this is a very fun game as the other fighters out there are good and you can see who is a button-bashed and who fights with tactics. It’s so satisfying to make someone submit as well as you feel a real sence of achievement.
Overall, UFC Undisputed 3 is a big step up from UFC 2, the fighting has been improved, there are more fighters and they look better to. The moves are simple to pull off yet forming a good game plan is tough. The AI is at times silly and at other times near impossible. There is a lot of fun to be had here both online and with friends next to you. The overall polish is pretty good as you can see the fighters moves and mannerisms have been captured well. The loading times are slow and may frustrate you, but be patient and you will get a world of pain. The Career mode is pretty long and since you have to fight through three organisations it won’t be finished quick. This is the best MMA game out there. The others have a long way to go to catch up. Areee youu ready? I sure am.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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