UFC Undisputed 3 (360, PS3) Preview
Fight fans have had to suffer for two years without a new UFC game, but it would appear that THQ has been hard at work creating what appears to be the definitive MMA game within that time. I had the chance to spend a couple of hours with the new demo that recently hit Xbox LIVE and the Playstation Network and I was more than impressed with what I saw.
In the demo you’re given the chance to fight under the standard UFC rules or one of UFC 3‘s newest features – Pride rules. When you make your choice you’ll be treated to a nice highlight package that not only puts over the game’s new features, but also put over Pride if you decide to choose that mode. We’ll look at the UFC rules first, and then check out Pride.
The UFC rules portion of the demo features Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Jon “Bones” Jones in a one round fight. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the fighters get full intros, which really help create an authentic UFC experience. The differences in camera work and overall presentation is readily noticeable, and somehow create an even more engaging experience than UFC Undisputed 2010 did.
I was surprised with how fluid the game was, with the transitions in general being much more realistic. The ground game has been modified slightly, but those familiar with the previous iterations should be right at home after a few rounds. One nice touch that I noticed is that you can know sway while on the ground, adding a bit more depth than found in the previous games. They also have an optional simplified control scheme, replacing the half circles of the grappling system with much easier up or down movements.
Undisputed 3 also features a completely revamped submission system, featuring an odd cat and mouse mini-game. The introduction video briefly discusses the system, but I still only managed to lock in one submission, and even then I’m not entirely sure how I did that. Once you lock a submission in a graphic pops up and your goal is to move your cursor over the opponents to lock it in or escape, but the controls of it are rather awkward. I’m hoping with an expanded tutorial and more practice in the full game this system will make sense. As of now, I can at least say it is nice to know ahead of time what went wrong with your submission, as opposed to 2010′s seemingly random setup.
On the Pride side of things, you’ll get the chance to play as Quentin “Rampage” Jackson or Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva. It honestly feels like a completely different game as it features unique entrances (much more dramatic than the UFC rules), a different arena (much larger than the UFC), the Pride ring, different round structures (in the demo you get one ten minute round), and even new announcers in Bas Rutten and Steve Quadros. In a nice little touch, they even have the original Japanese announcer followed by an English translator. They really went all out with the Pride rules, and it shows.
With the fights taking place in the Pride ring, there are new dynamics to learn as well. You can use the ropes for leverage, as well as things such as kicks to the face and my personal favorites – soccer kicks. Also added are leg TKOs, and it’s rather amazing to see a fighter slowly break down after repeated leg kicks.
All in all, this feels like a completely different game, regardless if you pick UFC or Pride rules. I’m assuming that some fighters will also have separate ring wear in Pride, as Jackson had his American flag trunks in the demo. The character models are top notch, the gameplay has been tweaked in many ways, and the addition of Pride makes this feel like two separate games. I’ve easily logged in over two and a half hours on the demo alone, making this an easy recommendation.
UFC Undisputed 3 hits shelves February 14, 2012 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.