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February 14, 2012




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UFC Undisputed 3 *Hands-on*



ufc undisputed 3          ufc undisputed 3


Two years ago, THQ's plans for the UFC Undisputed franchise were to mimic the release schedule established by EA's venerable Madden franchise: yearly updates reflecting the state of the sport. Last year, there was no new entry in the Undisputed series, leaving MMA fighting fans with EA's MMA as the only release for the year. Some questioned if Undisputed had been abandoned by THQ. As it turns out, they needn't have worried. Undisputed 3 is slated to be released soon and it is



arguably worth the wait.

I recently traveled to San Francisco for some hands-on time with the game, mindful of my generally favorable experience with the last entry in the series. From my first impression, there appears to have been at least a little refinement on the visual side of things. The scans of the fighters look a little more crisp and there's


been some adjustment in faces to reflect the passage of a couple years in the real world. Animations still look fluid, cloth movements and special effects are still excellent. Bruce Buffer, Joe Rogan, and Mike Goldberg still sound great. The thumps of people hitting the mat and the roar of the crowds are still eminently satisfying.


ufc undisputed 3           ufc undisputed 3


The real work appears to have been in the gameplay. The deeply detailed training and stat system from the previous iteration has been slimmed down considerably. Training is now undertaken via mini-games that genuinely get you to work on your techniques, particularly your combinations, your ground game, and your footwork. The training camps have been refined in purpose and also slimmed down in number. Players now gain “loyalty” to a training camp, which allows you to unlock more advanced moves the more loyal you are to the camp. While you still occasionally appear on a UFC Magazine cover, a lot of the more “background” activities and elements have been removed. I kinda missed being able to do post-fight interviews with Joe Rogan, but that is a minor thing, and I can understand why it was taken out. The actual fighting is still a deep and fast moving affair and building the “perfect” fighter is an exercise with a high degree of replayability.


ufc undisputed 3           ufc undisputed 3


Adding to the deep gameplay this time around is the presence of the Pride MMA fighting league in Japan, with it’s more traditional boxing ring and it’s highly untraditional rules such as being able to kick an opponent while he’s down. Title Mode and Exhibition Mode give you access to the Pride fighters and arena, but it’s going to take a lot of work getting there in Career Mode. Speaking of which, a new wrinkle has been added to Career Mode, giving you the opportunity to take your favorite real life UFC down a completely different career trajectory than what they went through. New options are present to change the feel of the game from a fast paced brawler to a more realistic fighting simulation where fighters get gassed faster and stay there longer. Of course, if you’re less inclined to argue which fighter is better and really find out who the better player is, the new “Equalize Stats” feature give you the chance to answer once and for all whether somebody’s playing a “cheap” character or if they really do have mad fighting skills.

Customization was one of the big elements of the last game, and there’s no shortage of it here. As before, you can earn place sponsor logos on clothing and unlock new gear and logos as you progress through career mode. Creating your own custom fighter can be a quick fully randomized agglomeration of shapes and colors or a meticulous process not unlike fine tuning a character in Skyrim. To top it off, you’ll be able to put together a “highlight reel” from the last 50 rounds you’ve fought, showing off your best knockouts and techniques, and then upload it for other players to view and appreciate.

UFC Undisputed 3 is expected to be released in North America on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.


- Axel Cushing

(January 27, 2012)


Related Articles:

Review: UFC Undisputed 2010 (360)

Review: UFC Sudden Impact (PS2)


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