UFC Undisputed 3 Review

By Jonathan Deesing - Posted Feb 10, 2012

Step into the octagon again with UFC and prepare for the fight of your life. The game will rattle your teeth with its aggressive, intense and surprisingly well executed combat.

The Pros
  • Well-handled gameplay and controls
  • Great and varied features and options
  • Wonderful animations
The Cons
  • You will probably still hear Mike Goldberg's voice when you go to bed
  • Prohibitively complex training exercises

UFC Undisputed 3 Review:

UFC Undisputed 3 is a superb experience, sure to both delight fighting game fans and bring complete newbies into the fold. My last bout with an MMA fighting game left me reeling on the floor, wishing there was a referee who could tap me out; however, when I was offered the opportunity to get back into the ring with a proper UFC game, I was more than happy to give it a shot and I was rewarded handsomely—from beginning to end.

A number of noticeable improvements have been made to an already successful formula by cannibalizing some of the innovative features from other sports games. The tutorials and learning curve are pleasantly forgiving and allow for easy admission of newcomers and rusty players alike. Online offerings have expanded with some fantastically badass aspects. Most importantly, the controls in the game are tighter than a snare drum, and even easier to learn.


Punching Made Easy

Right after turning the game on I was given the opportunity to begin a tutorial, which of course I jumped on. I was unaware of just how immersive and detailed this tutorial would be, featuring over fifty different lessons. These lessons work -- if nothing else -- to show just how many parts of MMA THQ has crammed into the game. You can choose exactly where you punch or kick a guy and manipulate precisely where you want to grab him. You can catch someone’s leg in the middle of a kick and turn it into a badass tackle. If you’ve seen it in a fight, you can do it in this game.

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At the helm of these tutorials -- and guiding you later through the game -- is the omnipresent Mike Goldberg. Though his tips are helpful and often necessary, after hearing his voice for the hundredth time I was ready to slap him into a chain link fence. Once you get past the all too ubiquitous voice tips, you begin to get a firm grasp on sheer amount of detail in the game, but all of this pales in comparison to the gameplay.

Programming a game to resemble the impossibly fast-paced and brutal nature of MMA is not a challenge I would not dare undertake; however, Yuke’s came through in fine style. The buttons are responsive and the controls feel natural, even on a controller. Blocking, parrying, and wrestling in grapples are all flawlessly executed and leave no room for criticism. Though the gameplay can at times feel frantic, I never felt like I was mashing buttons; I always felt in total control of my fighter.

UFC Undisputed 3

My God Do I Look Good

An RPG fanatic until the end, the first game mode I began was campaign mode. Like any sports game, Undisputed 3 gives you the opportunity to make a player that looks pretty damn near to whatever you could imagine. Unlike some other games, I was able to finally give my character what I’ve always wanted: bright red mohawk, bright blue goatee, white arrow-shaped sideburns, and the words “F*CK YOU” emblazoned on his chest. It’s really hard to find a game that just lets you be yourself. Joking aside, Undisputed 3 offers more customizability than Skyrim or NBA 2K12 without a doubt.

My fighter began as a nobody, fighting scraps for rank, until I was able to claw my way into a UFC title bout. I was able to watch my ranking and score increase over time with each fight. The game allows you to schedule your own fights, going so far as to tell you whether an opponent would be a tune-up, ranked match, or otherwise. Between fights you can spend time doing training sessions, which are varied and robust as the rest of the game. I had serious struggles with some of the training modules, but there were others that would improve my fight in the same way, so I just did those.

There are of course options to train, fight in exhibition fights, or return to the tutorials to brush up on a certain move. You can also buy new moves for your fighter or have him join a certain gym to conform to a certain famous fighter’s style. Between choosing sponsors, fights and fighting styles, there are countless options for the campaign that could ensure you never leave; however, for those who need a little more life in their opponent; the multiplayer delivers plenty.

UFC Undisputed 3

Taking the Fight Online

The online features are just as diverse as those in single player. The standard quick match and custom match are present and perfect for a quick pick-up game. The leaderboards provide incentive, even showing where your last opponents ranked overall. In a number of matches, I experienced no lag or any serious wait time issues, even though there were only about a dozen people online, since this review was done before the official release of the game. A really cool option is the ability to even out fighters’ stats so you can play as your favorite fighter without fear of being outmatched.

Where the multiplayer really shines, is the Camp feature. Players have the option of creating their own training camp (mine is simply called “69,” feel free to join) and inviting up to 16 friends to train and fight together. Where this feature really takes off is in the fact that your camp acts like a team, with each member gaining points by winning in order to boost your camp’s rank and prominence. This makes sure you never end up getting crappy fight after crappy fight, because you can simply head to camp and spar with your buddies.

UFC Undisputed 3

One Kick Ass Game

In the middle of a particularly heated fight, my roommate turned to me and proclaimed, “You and this game give me motion sickness.” I didn’t realize until that point, but I had been bouncing on the couch like an unruly child. This is just how intense the fights in UFC Undisputed 3 are. On the few occasions I scored a first-minute KO, I stood up without thinking and began to talk shit at my television. I quickly sat down realizing that not only could my opponent not hear me, on account of being unconscious, but he was also not actually real. Undisputed 3 brings to the table excellent gameplay, a titanic amount variety, and intensity unparalleled in any other fighting game. Whether or not you care for MMA or fighting games, you really ought to check this one out.

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Editor's Note: UFC was reviewed using an Xbox 360 copy of the game; however, we also spot checked the PS3 version, and found no differences. If further investigation reveals any differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.