UFC 3 slams you into the mat of the Octagon in this all-swinging masterpiece.
If you are an all out brawler or a submission maestro, there is a path for you right here.
UFC 3 boasts multiple game modes, from a quick fight to jumping straight into the action as your favourite superstar, and you can even choose modes such as knockouts and submissions. UFC even features an ultimate team in a similar vain to the FIFA series, and last of all my favourite mode of the game: career mode.
The career mode is spectacular and done expertly to get you that Fight Night feel. You start at the bottom on a rookie contract in the WFA, choosing your fight contracts and working your way up the ladder. When choosing a fight contract you can see how many weeks of prep you get for the fight. You choose your gym, set your training schedule and this is where it gets good. For example, you get a four week prep time each week that allows you to utilize 100 training points to work on any areas you wish. Essentially you can use them to hit the gym, and build on your stats and fitness, learn (sometimes frustratingly) some new techniques (more on this later), post to social media to gain hype (once again I will go into depth) or sparring to unlock a Key to Victory.
During the career mode you will also gain rivals who will call you out for a fight (GET IN THE RING!!). This is a really great aspect as it gives you a goal to drive towards, ploughing through any opponents that make the mistake of standing in your way.
As someone who used to train and fight in MMA, I understand the frustration of getting certain techniques down. As the saying goes, ‘nothing worth having comes easy,’ and boy, does the game live up to that. You can choose to learn new moves to add to your armoury. What is on offer depends on the kind of gym you choose (striking, wrestling, BJJ etc.) and also to a certain extent what you wish to focus on. As an example, you can level up your hook punches and the task can be as simple as land twenty punches to the head of your opponent in forty seconds without missing five. Sounds easy right? But then there is the flip side of that, where the more powerful and damaging moves are hiding… Some of the tasks set for these are overwhelmingly hard to pull off and I must admit, I had to get up and “take five” a few times due to frustration, but they are oh-so-rewarding and it feels really good when you achieve that move you have been working towards.
The career mode also uses a social media system in the same vain as Twitter, that allows you to gain followers, respond to rivals, social media keyboard warriors, taunts and basically gain hype for your fight by choosing out of a selection of options that allow you to interact with your fans. Another thing to mention; as you gain popularity, the UFC will require you to attend press events or be fined from the prize money. Some of these do cost your entire weeks points so my advice is to train smart as you will not know when these may pop up. To add to all the above, at the end of a fight you get to see a selection on fan responses to your victory (or loss). Encouragement from your digital fans makes for a great feeling. The option of sparring is something I highly recommend for a couple of reasons.
As the start of your training camp you will generally have a low fitness rating as you come out of recovery from the previous fight. Once you have built your fitness up a little, the option for sparring will unlock for a cost of forty of your weekly one hundred points. Now, the most important thing with the one minute session is that once you complete it, regardless of how well you did, you will be given a Key to Victory, or in layman’s terms, it will tell you what your next opponent’s weakness is; be that straight punches or jabs, a submission they are unable to defend and even their fighting style, with hints of what to look out for. This in turn makes for much more tactical decision making with your training regime.
In addition to the above, sparring gives you a massive boost to your overall fitness and this allows you to make a much bigger impact on your stats when you get back to training. Unlike the Key to Victory though, this is performance based. If you eat a lot of shots to the head, get tapped out or knocked out, you will not gain as much for your fitness rank and even risk losing a percentage from where you started. On the flip side, if you smash the granny out of your partner, the fitness gains are immense; sometimes even boosting you up by as much as 30% on your level.
I feel I do need to mention the submission and ground game system in this game. I personally found the submission system much harder to get to grips with than the previous instalments of the UFC game series, but as with anything, I persevered and got it to a decent level. It required A LOT of practice (as well as a few mental breakdowns). The ground game and grappling system is quite simply spectacular, allowing you to position yourself and stop your opponent transitioning to get the best angle to set up some serious ground and pound, or get the angle right for that rear naked choke. Both of these are highly tactical and make for some really exciting moments in the fight, as well as attempting to tailor the fight to the direction you want to go.
As fighting games go, UFC 3 can cater to almost every level of gamer with its four difficulty settings (easy, normal, pro and legendary), but the skill curve between these is huge! I started on easy to learn the controls and moved up to normal after a few matches. This was about right, as I was striking fear into the heart of all my challengers as I knocked them out in the first round. I thought I was getting quite good until I moved it to pro… Man, that difficulty is a challenge! I dread to think what legendary is like! This is something I really like in a game, as it keeps the challenge there. No matter my mood or concentration level, I have been able to jump on and have a blast.
So I have covered quite a few elements of UFC 3 but I must go back to career mode and commend EA on the character creation system. There ares o many options for customisation that you could spend hours sculpting the perfect character to brawl as; from the female strawweight through to the male heavyweight there is a character waiting for you. The customisation options range from sculpting of the face to get the look you want, right through to choosing tattoos and their positioning. It compliments the rest of the game and career mode well.
My only real con for UFC 3 is that the submission system could do with some work to be more accessible to the average player, as at this point in time it does feel like it is a special area of the game, reserved for the more advanced player.
UFC 3 is a game developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports for the Xbox one and PS4, and is currently available on the respective stores digitally for £59.99 (£53.99 on Xbox if you have EA Access) and from most retailers it’s going for £49.99. In my mind it is worth every penny!