UFC 3 is the latest offering of the popular MMA franchise. Developed by Yukes who used to be known for the Smackdown games, this series of games has had something of a mixed reception. The last game was good, building upon what was laid before it, but the changes weren’t different enough for people to stop feeling a little disappointed. Combined with the fact the Yukes managed to turn it round just 12 months after the original, people quire rightly complained that it was not enough and too soon after the first.
Yukes were smart enough to stop this annualisation in its tracks and took their time with this one. The question is, has this time been spent well? Click on to find out.
To start with, let’s make something clear. Though this is UFC 3, the rights to Pride and WFA are also in here. This means there’s a HUGE roster of fighters on hand right from the get go. 150 fighters are on the official website, though some of these are DLC to be released soon. That’s a lot of fighters.
You may be thinking ‘what’s the point of all of these fighters’? Well, I’ll tell you. The game plays in such a way that it’s important to know what the fighter’s strengths and weaknesses are and what ‘special moves’ they have. These are important because if you end up on the ground with someone who’s no good at being on the ground, you’ll lose pretty quick. If you’ve got someone who’s got a weak jaw, you’ll be best advised to get them into a clinch or some other position that stops the opponent throwing ‘bombs’ (heavy punches).
The way to control the fight is much the same as before. The controls are all about the 4 face buttons to throw kicks and punches, then the shoulder buttons take care of blocking and altering the height of your thrown strikes. The real key to UFC is in its use of the right analogue stick. You’d better learn how to use this quickly as it controls how the ground game plays. You fight for control whilst on the floor by rotating the analogue stick in a certain direction and in a certain way. This is somewhat complicated but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty intuitive.
This could be said for much of the game. It takes time to learn (there’s a tutorial consisting of 62 parts!). Even if you’ve played the previous version, you’ll still need a good 10 to 20 fights to get back into the groove of the game works. There’s nothing radically new to the way the fights play, for those of you that have played before, you may notice a few things. The cage is used more, with takedowns getting blocked off by the cage, transitions that use the cage to kick off of now and there’s a new submission mini game that determines if the attempt is succesful or not. This new submission mini game is much better at letting the player know how close they are to submitting and why it was they caused a tap out.
So, all of these fighters and this great fighting game, but what’s the point? Well, there’s plenty of reasons to be knocking the crap out of each other. There’s online, that as of yet I’ve not been able to fully appreciate as the servers are under maintenance. There’s the ‘classic fights’ options, where you take control of a fighter during on of the classic bouts the UFC has witnessed and try to emulate history. This is well presented with short videos that explain the history of the fight and the actual outcome. There’s also an events mode where you can create your own event card. Yadda, yadda. Look, we all know what a game like this is truly about. Career mode.
With the career mode you’ve got 2 main routes to go. Carry on with an existing fighter and play through their career, or create your own. It’s safe to say that most people will be likely to create their own character, so that’s going to be my main focus. That and the fact I’ve not played career mode as an existing fighter.
First step, you create your dude. The creation process is nice enough, with plenty of options meaning that your character will be unlike any other. As with most of this game, the options given to you aren’t just for show. You need to make sure of what weight class you’re choosing and what fighting style you’ll assign your character as these will heavily influence the way you play. Luckily these decisions are heavily sign posted, so odds are you won’t make any incorrect decisions.
Within the career mode there’s some hand holding at first that is very much appreciated as well as videos that pop up when major events happen (first win, first fight, first loss, etc). These videos are again very good at making you feel more invested in UFC as a whole and this is a great move by whoever decided this. Yukes? UFC? Whoever, good job.
The main aim of the career is to win everything. You have choices to make along the way. Who to fight, what brand to fight in, your sponsors and your training. This is where I have a slight issue.
The training mini games are pretty tough. You will fail on your first try. I managed to fail on my first 3. There’s plenty of variety, but it feels like there should be a tutorial just for these mini games alone. The benefits of getting your training right though, are huge. You will notice your punches rocking your opponent more often, you will notice you don’t gas as easily. So it’s worth it, but as has been stated, it takes time to learn.
The second problem I have is the sponsors. Fighting and having sponsors earn you CRED. CRED is important because you use it to buy better training partners, go to training camps to learn new moves and, in general, you use CRED to get better. Problem is, messing about with sponsors, signing their contracts, loading up the create a fighter menu, slapping on said sponsor’s logos, it all takes time and it’s not very fun. You’re forced to do it as without CRED you won’t get better. Not good.
The presentation of all of these career menus is fine enough, though lacks the polish of EA’s MMA effort last year. Speaking of which, Bas Rutten is in this game. Bas Rutten is a bit of an MMA legend and a damn fine commentator, which is evident within the game. There’s 2 sets of commentary teams within UFC 3 and both are pretty excellent. Varied and exciting commentary lines spew forth and give the fight that extra edge, sometimes helping to explain just what the hell happened, sometimes just making you laugh.
All in all, I recommend this game. The career mode has its hurdles (sponsors, training) but the base mechanics are great. The videos that pop up, as a fan, are hugely appreciated and add real character to the roster of fighters. The core fighting mechanics are once again complex but hugely rewarding. There’s a real depth to each fighter that some people won’t appreciate. Give it your time and PAY ATTENTION and UFC 3 will reward you with a fighting game that’s as savage as it is smart.