With the ever rising popularity of MMA and the poor response to the stat grinding of the previous game, Undisputed 3 brought back what worked in the first game but added much some needed improvements.
Tweaks in gameplay include feints and a whole new submission system. These seemingly minor differences are major game changers. In the previous games, submissions were attempted and avoided by frantically wigging the analog sticks Track and Field style, with no HUD indications or ways to know if you were winning or losing. In U3, an octagonal shape is displayed to the screen and the ‘submisser’ has to try and catch the ‘submissee’. This brings a whole new level of immersion into the game and players panic as they try to escape or trap their foe. The ground game is completely changed. The feints also make the stand-up more unpredictable and therefore more intense.
The new Career mode is another huge addition to this game. Players can create their own fighter or rewrite the careers of their favourites. Players start as a rookie in the WEC and try to fight to the Hall of Fame. The new training system, although sometimes monotonous, is still a welcome upgrade to its predecessors. The choice to join real life fight camps like Anderson Silva’s “Black House” and Rampage Jacksons “Wolfslair” allow players to customise and tweak their fighter to their play style. Learning signature moves like spinning back fists, flying knees and superman punches. Players become engrossed in the career. I myself lost my UFC debut and was genuinely disappointed, but rather then quit the game before it autosaved (like I sometimes do… the shame) I played the extra fights until I could fight in the UFC again.
As with most fighting games, when U3 online lags it is very unplayable. But when it works, it works. Matchmaking is genuinely even and the matches are intense. The unpredictability of MMA really comes out online as the fight could end at any moment. Fight Camps are a great new addition to U3. Similar to a clan, a camp can be a great way to game with friends. Unique banners can be created and shown online. Content sharing is also added; with user created fighters available to download that are always hilarious. I had an epic fight between Obama and Borat, it was close.
U3 boasts an impressive roster of over 150 fighters. From legends like Brazilian Jujitsu master Royce Gracie and Dan Severen with his giant ‘stashe to modern up and comers like Anthony Pettis, made noticeable by his Matrix style kick in the WEC last year. With the added Pride mode, players can go back to Japan in the vicious pre-UFC days where the only rules were “not in the eye”. Vicious ground stomps and soccer kick KO’s add a whole new element to bragging rights when the bloodbath is over.
With its impressive roster and enhanced gameplay changes, U3 keeps true to the still growing fan base of mixed martial arts. To get the most out of the intense 1 on 1 combat, play with friends and a few beers to experience the cheers of a great KO or the mocking sneers of an embarrassing loss.