Anyone that’s a fan of mixed martial arts and follows, for example, Fightful’s MMA news knows that it is an incredibly complex sport with many different facets. There are a million different things that can happen in any given fight in a myriad of ways. If you’re a UFC fan, just think about the hundreds of ways you’ve seen one fighter defeat another in your time as a fan. Now imagine multiplying that by a million in order to get what an actual MMA simulator should look like.
UFC 3 does do its best, but there is absolutely no way to avoid the repetition that occurs when you have a fixed amount of moves you can do in a video game.
The stand-up fighting in UFC 3 is greatly improved from its predecessors. Gone is the strange parrying system present in previous games. Rather, standup now becomes a process of dodging and then countering. Of course, dodging at the wrong time (swaying into a hook for instance) can lead to big damage against you. Stand-up fights now become a much more interesting chess match than they were previously although, once again, they do have a tendency to start looking repetitive the more you play.
While it may not be at the height of realism, the stand-up game in UFC 3 is at the very least fun.
The ground game, unfortunately, is a little bit more muddled. It retains many of the issues from previous games. The main problem is just a lack of information. The game does not tell you why you are getting your ass kicked. You have to infer it from what you yourself feel you may have done wrong, which is kind of a backwards way for a primary combat system to function. The next game will have to work hard to improve this particular problem. You can add all the bells and whistles you want, but the core gameplay must be strong.
Bells and Whistles
Speaking of extra modes, Career mode is one that should have been amazing. As with all sports career modes it seems, the UFC 3 career mode takes you from your time as a nobody all the way to the making it in the UFC. All the elements are there. There’s a system whereby you can micro-manage your training, deciding on which gyms you will use with your limited amount of cash. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to increase stats, learn new moves, or learn your next opponent’s weaknesses.
All of this is wonderful and may be one of the most in-depth career modes in any sports game that isn’t FIFA. Unfortunately, there is one easily-fixed problem that somehow made it past beta. The stupid difficulty spike. Once you reach contender status, opponents’ stats are suddenly light years ahead of yours. This can’t possibly be on purpose. Someone must have screwed up for sure. This takes a potentially amazing career mode and turns it into a slog.
Online modes are your standard fare, with the usual quick mode and ranked mode coming back from previous games. These are perfectly serviceable.
There’s also Ultimate Team Mode. Stay away from this, unless you really love lootboxes for some reason. To me, this mode has no redeeming values, but, hey to each their own.
Overall Score: 7.0