UFC Undisputed 3 returns THQ to the octagon to battle for the best mixed martial arts game, and they've decided to break from the yearly cycle of past games like UFC Undisputed 2009 and UFC Undisputed 2010. That's so the developers can refocus on the game by giving it a new look and improved accessibility. They're capitalizing on the sport's brutal combat, and to that end, they're adding a Pride mode to the game, bringing new rules and more violent brawling as well.
From shading and lighting, to a new broadcast camera, to new weight classes, the title has undergone an overhaul that THQ hopes will bring more gamers into the fold. If you were ever confused by the UFC Undisputed control schemes in games of the past, UFC Undisputed 3 looks to make it much simpler to grapple, down, and pound your opponents.
A much simpler grapple system has been added to the game that relies only on flicks to the right stick, no longer will you have to drag the analog around in semicircles to perform grapples and takedowns. There's also a new graphic submission system that will appear in the upper left-hand corner, where you'll be chasing a little dot representing the person you're trying to get to submit around the outer edge of an octagon. You're represented by an outlying track surrounding that outer edge, and you have to try to keep the dot in your track as long as possible. Sound confusing? It is. It's more of a minigame meant to break up the flow of the game and provide some variety, but it looks somewhat clunky.
Other additions to the game include authentic corner man audio, recorded from actual fights, and new arenas and new referees. The audio from actual matches has been chopped up and fed into the game, providing an extra element of realism. Energy settings are also adjustable in the game, allowing you to flip from "Simulation," which is much more realistic, and you'll see your fighter tire or go down much easier, to "Default," which is your basic video game fighter with nearly boundless energy. And after many requests, they've also added fighter entrances to the game.
Undisputed 3 will also offer an onscreen advice system that works like a tutorial and underscores how they're trying to make this game as accessible as possible. With that corner audio giving you real advice, the tutorial, and an in-between round feedback system, the game looks to educate newcomers to the series who might not be familiar with the game, or who have been intimidated by the controls.
Pride mode is definitely the biggest change to the series, and the demo of the game that we saw featured extremely brutal combat in those arenas. Viscious knees to the head, stomping your opponents on the ground, and more. That's what you'll get in Pride, along with longer matches in bigger arenas. You can also bring Pride fighters into the UFC octagon, and vice verse, adding fantasy matchups that you might never see in real life.
UFC Undisputed 3 will be out in 2012 for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.