UFC Undisputed 3 Xbox 360 Review

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Xbox 360, Features, Reviews

Publisher – THQ – Developer – Yukes – Genre – Sports/Fighting – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 15+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

Last year THQ decided to forgo releasing a UFC game altogether, and with the release of this third game it proved to be a smart decision. It’s true that releasing a new game in a single series every year can result in gamers becoming weary, and the break for THQ’s UFC games has certainly resulted in the series returning to top form.

Those who just couldn’t grasp the previous two games in the series will be glad to know that developer Yukes has put in a feature just for them. You’ll get the option to choose between amateur and pro grapple controls: pro controls have you making some rather complex stick movements to attempt transitions whilst positioned on the ground, but amateur gives absolutely anyone the chance to make a minor or major transition with simple up and down stick movements. The Pro controls are going to be the set that the well practiced fan is going to go for, Amateur controls, on the other hand, opens the series up to players who may have been completely put off by all the stick wiggling – it’s the best of both worlds.

The game is still a very deep simulation, though, and it has a tutorial that covers the lot. You may be able to get by with using some of the simpler actions, although if you are new to the series and find yourself in a match-up with a more skilled player, you may find yourself referring to the tutorial religiously. For those that want it, the game has a level of depth that certainly can’t be argued with.

The submission system has also seen some much needed improvement. Now, when a submission is initiated an octagon shaped gauge appears on the screen, and, if you are the aggressor, it’s a simple case of chasing your opponent’s line and overlapping it for long enough to force them to tap out. Various things affect the length of the lines including stats as well as fatigue, but what’s most welcome about this new system is that it’s totally about skill whether you are attempting to lock in the submission or to escape from its grasp.

Other improvements and additions include the ability to sway to avoid strikes from your opponent while down on the ground, which certainly gives you more options if you are sweating while your opponent is up top in a dominant position. There are also some nasty leg kick TKO’s that will send your opponent down into a heap, clutching his damaged limb, and ending the fight, giving you good reason to avoid too many nasty strikes to the shin.

As for modes and gameplay options, Pride FC may have been swallowed up by the UFC in reality, although UFC Undisputed 3 brings it back. Pride FC is definitely one of the biggest additions, with head stomp and ground kicks very much allowed, and fights being staged inside a four sided ring across up to three rounds, the first of which lasts up to 10 minutes with the following two rounds running for up 5 minutes. Not forgetting to mention that, with commentary from Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadron and ring announcing from Lenne Hardt, the atmosphere of the Japanese MMA promotion has also been captured, perhaps with the entire thing even proving to be nostalgic for some.

The career mode now allows you to play as the real life fighters, although you can still create your own, bringing him up from the minor leagues right up to the main event that is the UFC itself. You’ll be training between fights, doing things such as flipping tires over or focusing your punches towards specific areas on a punching bag, but the general rule for the mode has obviously been for the development team to cut down on everything outside of the Octagon, allowing you to quicker move between fights. There are also videos which match-up to what’s going on in your career, with real life fighters discussing their first win or loss, their first title win and so on, which is a nice little touch.

Other modes include Title mode, in which you are tasked with going through a series of fights, winning as you go and eventually rising to the top of the mountain by winning the gold of your warrior’s weight class, of which unlocks the gruelling Title Defence mode. There’s also the typical Exhibition matches, and you can create your own UFC event. Ultimate Fights also makes its return, with historic matches from both UFC and Pride, each of which have introductory videos for those who may be unfamiliar with the background of these fights. More of these memorable match-ups are expected through downloadable content.

The game’s online feature set are there, although my current experience has been mixed. There’s various connection problems, in which THQ have said that they’re aware of, although at the moment it’s just not very solid for a game in which many would have paid full price for.

Visually, UFC Undisputed 3 is wonderfully detailed. The fighters are obviously the main thing that the developer has paid attention to, with lifelike features, and cuts opening up as their heads are pummeled. The animations are also more realistic than ever, although the game still isn’t quite as fluid as EA Sports MMA.

UFC Undisputed 3 is a definite improvement on what has come before, with features being fixed or reworked. The level of depth is still going to be suited to those that have an understanding of the sport, although work has still been done in making this all the more approachable for those who may have been put off by the complex ground game of previous entries in the series. Quite simply, UFC Undisputed 3 is the best one yet.