UFC Undisputed 3 screenshot
UFC Undisputed 3 screenshot

Do you know what it actually feels like to take a Muay Thai roundhouse to the leg? If you've never felt the thud of shin bone on prone quadriceps then it might appear a fairly tame way to attack another human being. It isn't. Once you've felt that splitting of muscle and savage aggravating of nerve, sending emergency signals firing through your entire body from the tips of your toes to the lenses of your eyeballs, your whole perception of hand-to-hand combat changes forever.

I've just come fresh from rendering Urijah Faber's leg to mincemeat with the human baseball bat Jose Aldo in UFC: Undisputed 3, and the addition of leg kick TKOs is just one example of this latest iteration getting the little things right. The MMA obsessed will purr over nerdy minutiae like the new seated cage position, or the ability to take an opponent's back while you're both still standing, while hardcore UFC nuts will cheer at every one of Jon Jones' spinning elbows or the sight of GSP's powerful double-leg. THQ and Yuke's have managed to include all the little details and personality ticks you want to see from the Ultimate Fighting Championship's most famous stars, and tuck them into their most complete, balanced and sturdy engine yet. This game sees the Forrest and the trees, if you will.

There's no point splitting hairs (or should that be eyebrows?) over the fact Undisputed 3 is for the fans. If you're after some rock 'em sock 'em head-smashing action, or the thought of two men tangled in a warm embrace on a sweaty mat turns your stomach, this really isn't the game for you. Undisputed 3 is for people who'll get excited by improved counter-punching, which sees jabs and straights now halting more powerful attacks mid-animation, so you can truly box off the back foot and frustrate your haymaker-hurling opponent. This is for the Tapout-clad Underground-lurking fanboys who know their Josh Rosenthals from their Josh Koschecks and their AKAs from their ATTs.

The in-cage (or in-ring if you're playing the new PRIDE mode) action is still a little stilted and robotic compared to the sublime fluidity of EA's MMA, but there's so much depth to the brawling. Every position, from standing to clinch to ground, and everything between, has been lavished with detail - there are so many ways to transition from one facet of MMA to the next. Case in point: takedowns. The old UFC games let you shoot for a double leg before both players twiddled with the right stick until either the takedown was completed, or it was stuffed. It was a fairly competent system, but one sorely lacking in subtlety.

That system is still there, but now takedowns can be charged into the cage and completed using a throw, they can be sprawled out of (leaving the aggressor in danger), they can be shrugged off completely, or they can dive under a strong strike and lift a fighter clean off his heels. Mercifully, there's no unstoppable Machida takedown this year either; as clear a demonstration as any that a game like this needed more than the 10-month development cycle UFC 2010 struggled through.

This depth and meticulous balance seeps into every area of UFC Undisputed 3 like warm salty sanguine to the eyes. Where there's an attack, there's a counter. This is particularly prevalent in the new submission system. Not only can you now block an incoming submission attempt (vitally), the new mini-game gives a clear indication of who's winning the battle and why. An octagon appears on screen with two coloured outlines, one for each player, and the aggressor needs to keep his coloured outline over the defender's until he gets the tapout, while the other guy just needs to keep away. It's not as elegant as EA MMA's dual submission meters, but it's a damn sight better than mashing your pad into a fine powder with the 'shine' method from the last two games. And importantly, it's now perfectly feasible to submit the CPU on any difficulty.

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Wido's Avatar

Wido@ squidman

Each to their own opinions of course, and I don't want to be disrespectful to VG and of course the reviewer!

EA's MMA just didn't ticked the right boxes for me when compared to UFC.

@thedanyrand - ah, no problem.
Posted 18:58 on 15 February 2012
thedanyrand's Avatar

thedanyrand

I havent tried EA's MMA I heard terrible things about it so I never bothered. There was a game for the PS2 called K-1 World Gran Prix that I loved at the time. Iv done Muay Thai and its always my favorite part of the MMA genre. I wish K-1 was bigger because I think people who complain about how they are "just hugging" when it gets to a wrestling or submission area would love it. But thats all me complaining lol.

Back to the review I think it was cover really well he had insight about the sport and gaming. Without having played EA MMA I cant speak on that but I enjoyed it overall.

@Wido no I only got a PS3
Posted 23:21 on 14 February 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ Wido

Jon's not writing for a stereotypical target audience, Jon *is* the target audience. He probably knows more about MMA than anyone else in the entire world!

I also thought EA's MMA was really good, too.
Posted 22:29 on 14 February 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido

I'm going to be honest, I got bored reading the review of the repeated sterotypical target audience for UFC. Don't want to be disrespectful, but I fecking love the UFC games, and I completely disagree with all points you raised about EA's MMA.

I played EA's MMA, and it is shocking. Unresponsive like Hulk Hogan not selling to Undertaker's chokeslam.

I will be getting UFC 3, as I like how realistic it is to the sport itself. I like going for submission's more than anything and keep improving my game. George St Pierre spelling? Is the main reason why I go for such a route. If I land a KO, then that's dandy.

@thedanyrand - You getting UFC 3 on 360 by any chance?
Posted 20:52 on 14 February 2012
thedanyrand's Avatar

thedanyrand

Bas Rutten, if that name doesnt sell you immediately I dont know what will.
Posted 18:57 on 14 February 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
8
Out of 10
UFC Undisputed 3
  • PRIDE mode is amazing
  • Balanced and deep fighting systems
  • Single-player modes lack spark
  • DLC everywhere
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/02/2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Yuke's
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Fighting
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 847 3
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