UFC Undisputed 3 Review (Xbox 360)

Game Review: UFC Undisputed 3
Release: February 14, 2012
Genre: MMA Fighting Game
Developer: THQ/Yukes
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Players: 1-2
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Website: UFC Undisputed 3 Official Site

Reviewing UFC Undisputed 3 was an experience in itself that had me dodging the many random negative comments made by my girlfriend as I played. In some aspects, she was very much correct, UFC 3 is an unabashedly “bro-tastic” game that oozes the machismo and intensity that is found at any UFC or MMA event with the constant scroll of actual fight footage and its heart-thumping soundtrack. UFC Undisputed 3’s choice to focus on using blacks and reds instead of the gaudy gold that saturated UFC 2011’s UI gives the game an elegant look that perfectly duplicates the feel of an actual MMA event or ESPN sports coverage. Regardless of the mocking I may have received whilst playing the game, this focus on the fighters and the fights from the beginning is what sets UFC3 Undisputed apart from its competition or earlier iterations within the series.

I’ve given all the other UFC Undisputed games a try over the years but I can honestly say that this is the first to engage me from the very beginning and the first to keep me continuing to play after my first few matches. I’ve also never been able to play at a high level of play within the UFC games, the overly complicated control schemes always seemed a bit too difficult for me to handle. With UFC Undisputed 3, the game offered  me the perfect mix between simplified controls that allowed for me to kick butt at will with an extra layer of technical modifiers that allow for a more challenging fight as my skill progressed. Couple this with an extensive tutorial that focuses on teaching you how to play the game correctly through placing you in actual fights rather than an endless string of training screens that have little real match use and you have a game that allows you to learn at your own pace.

Along with the new presentation, UFC Undisputed 3’s greatest success is the amount of content that new players and MMA enthusiasts alike will be able to take their time delving through. First and foremost there’s my favorite part, the create a fighter/logo/banner modes that allow you to personalize every aspect of your fighter with an extensive set of tools that will help you live out all of your MMA dreams that can be customized to your every whim. You will also be able to live out the usual Career mode that will allow you to choose your fighter’s weight class, their individual fights, how they train, and even the sponsors you will take on throughout your career. The game is also sprinkled with a mixture of a Title/Defend Your Title modes that will have you fighting your way up to the top and defending your rightful place with one of the games large cast of real-life MMA superstars. You will also have the ability to build an event to your own liking that will feature fighters/matches and even titles of your own choosing that you can share with other UFC 3 players. The whole package is filled out with an extensive online mode that will allow you to pick from the cast of MMA fighters included in the game and duke it out against gamers from around the world.

This game is absolutely overflowing with game modes for you to take your time mastering but doesn’t overwhelm you with these choices by having a simplified layout that makes everything manageable.  This accessibility is what really sets this game apart from the competition and allowed me to slowly increase the games difficulty as my skills progressed. As always, UFC Undisputed’s fighter creation had me spending hours customizing every aspect of my fighter and worked as an added investment for me in each of my matches. UFC Undisputed 3’s semi-simplified controls worked as a hook that gave my interest a better base for traction which lead me into using actual strategy in matches rather than the button mashing I was driven to in the franchise’s prior iterations.

There are very little improvements that I’d ask be made to this year’s version of THQ’s UFC Undisputed, and I’m thankful that the few negatives I see are mostly cosmetic annoyances rather than real problems. My biggest nag with the game is the frequency of load screens that riddle what is a sleek experience. Many times I found myself finishing a fight in all of 30-45 seconds only to be forced to sit through a load screen that sometimes lasted longer than the match itself. Otherwise, I really can only cite small items like the tattoo overlays that can sometimes obscure each other if placed in certain areas or how simple the new submission mini-game is, but when it comes down to it, it’s just nitpicking what is an amazing MMA package.

UFC Undisputed 3 is one of the best MMA games I’ve seen in quite some time and has one of the most extensive sets of game modes that have ever been put into a sports game. I haven’t even mentioned the Classic Fights mode that will have you trying to achieve specific challenges to perfectly duplicate classic matches from UFC’s history, or the ability to save and edit any video to create intense and exciting videos that highlight your more intense bouts. When it comes down to it, I’ve already had a few dozen hours of time with the game but I don’t see myself putting it down anytime soon and that is the biggest endorsement I could ever give any sports game.

+Simplified yet still technical control schemes
+Tons of modes to fully explore
+Easy to set-up online matches
+Extensive tutorial meant to teach new players
-Frequent and long loading screens

Final Score: 9 Out Of 10

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