UFC Undisputed is the third game in the series, and looks to improve on 2010’s luke warm reception by expanding the development cycle and trying to make some vast improvements over the first two games. Does it succeed? Read on to find out.
UFC Undisputed 3 offers quite a few changes to previous versions of the game. A refined striking system, a new submission system, refined ground game with new transitions, and a whole lot more. Perhaps the biggest addition to the game this year is the addition of PRIDE Mode. PRIDE Mode gives players the chance to revisit the legendary Japanese promotion that was purchased by Zuffa back in 2007. PRIDE differs from the UFC by offering a chance to fight in a ring instead of a cage, as well as it being legal to kick and knee a downed opponent in the head. PRIDE Mode also offers the commentary team of the legendary Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros.
UFC Undisputed 3 also has a ramped up presentation to give it more of the same feel you would get from watching a UFC show on PPV or TV. If you choose to start a show, you can even watch Goldberg and Rogan introduce the show and talk about the card a bit. Also giving it more of a live TV presentation, the fighters now have their entrances in the game. This is a good change from the first two games, and one that I know people were asking for. Anything that makes the game seem more authentic is a good thing, in my opinion.
Another new feature this year is new ways to end a fight. That new way would be the TKO via leg kicks. While this sounds good in theory, in execution it isn’t as spectacular as one would hope. Basically if you land enough leg kicks, your opponent will just fall over unable to continue. Working towards the leg kick TKO does not slow your opponent down, or hinder his ability to strike or take the fight to the ground. It ultimately makes the leg kick TKO’s seem sort of tacked on. You don’t see the fighter favor his leg, or anything like that. While it was a nice thing to implement, and certainly adds a new dimension to the fight, I would have liked to see it put into play in a much more affective way.
The submission game has also been revamped, with a cat and mouse mini game replacing the button mashing or spinning of the stick from the previous games. I like this a lot more, it offers a bit more strategy than just saying “who can spin the sticks faster”. You can see how close you are to being submitted, and that helps you out.
Lastly, the two newest weight classes in the UFC are now in the game, bringing the total number of selectable fighters counting the PRIDE side of things to about 150, give or take. With the two new weight classes, you finally get to play with fighters such as Urijah Faber, Dominic Cruz, and featherweight champ, Jose Aldo. It is a nice addition to things, and give plenty of other fights for you to explore.
The striking game, the grappling game, and the clinch game have all received a bit of an overhaul this year, and it shows. There are more striking options, and transition options than ever before. The refined mechanics, and controls, should be fairly easy to pick up for fans of the series, as nothing has been changed to drastically.
The mechanics used to fight against the cage are also changed, and for the better. You can now use the cage to get up off the ground, or even use it to reverse your position and end up on top of your opponent. Strikes against your opponent when you have them pushed up against the cage seem to do a bit more damage, and they can look absolutely brutal. Oh, and did I mention the foot stomps are finally in the game? It’s about damn time. I always laugh when I see people use them, as they have to be absolutely annoying. Though I am not sure how effective they are in the game, it is nice to see them being added.
All in all this years additions have refined the franchise, and I really feel that the UFC series is now without question the best MMA games in production. But that is not to say that everything is perfect, as the game still has it’s moments that leave you scratching your head. There are still some collision detection issues, and things of that nature. For example, there was a time I threw a head kick, it hit the guy in the shoulder, and knocked him out cold. A kick in the shoulder should not be knocking anybody out. Then there is the awkward moment when you and your opponent both throw a punch at the same time, and it ends up lookin like you are trying to hug it out in the center of the octagon.
This would also happen at times on the ground, your arms would get tied up between your opponents. I know this happens in a real fight, on purpose, but this was more, throw a punch from the mounted position, and end up with your arm twisted behind your downed opponents head.
Another minor gripe I have, and maybe this is sort of a big deal, one of the selectable arenas continues to be New York’s Madison Square Garden, while this may not seem like a big deal, I feel it is. It is a well known fact within the MMA community that the state of New York has still to this day, refused to regulate the sport of MMA, thus making a UFC show in MSG impossible. Minor thing? Maybe, but I don’t get how Dana allowed that to get in the game.
Which brings us to the career mode. Career mode is still basically unchanged. You train, you fight, you train you fight. It really becomes mundane after about the 20th fight or so. I would like to see future games focus on making the career mode more relevant. Give us a reason to want to play through this mode other than climbing the ranks.
Overall, UFC Undisputed 3 is another step in the right direction for the series, and it was a good call for them to extend the production period on the games. The added time to refine things has paid off here, and the game is well worth your time. The new features, with the addition of PRIDE Mode offer enough new things to keep you interested.