E3 2011: UFC Undisputed 3 Preview - Slap, Grapple & Roll
Written Saturday, June 25, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
THQ took the digital MMA space by storm way back in 2009 when they combined with Yuke’s and UFC to release UFC 2009 Undisputed. Shifting over 3.5 million units, THQ must have been rubbing their hands together with pure glee, but with the release of UFC Undisputed 2010, it appears they only got one thing right: the order of words in the game name. That’s not to say it was a bad game, far from it, but it suffered from a lack of innovation and iteration upon the 2009 title like most sports franchises seem to muster and as a result, sales figures were down from the previous year. With UFC Undisputed 3, THQ made the savvy business decision to allow the dev team an extra six months or so on the title and after we checked it out at this year’s E3 and we have to say that it’s one of the wisest business decisions that THQ has made in some years. That extra development time really shows. I mean, really shows.
UFC Undisputed 3 is looking to get the franchise back on track then and is looking to do so by tackling a number of key points: more content, improved accessibility and just enhancing the general experience in every way possible. With over 150 fighters, two new weight classes (featherweight and bantamweight), new control options, improved visuals and the addition of the Pride Fighting Championships, it looks like they’re onto a winner.
In order to enhance the realism of UFC Undisputed 3, THQ and Yuke’s have gone as far as to improve every animation so that players can really feel the impact of every blow. Motion-capturing the UFC fighters played a big part in realising this vision of theirs, but simple things like an improved lighting system, improved menus, revamped character visuals and a new camera angle – now players can adopt to use a broadcast or cage side camera views – all play a part in achieving this grittier and more intense experience that they’re shooting for, which was inspired by photography from the UFC events. Even the simple things like including fighter’s entrances, which can be customised for custom fighters with a library of songs to choose from, add to the spectacle of things.
Accessibility was a huge talking point for UFC at E3, as THQ intends to open up the market to a bigger crowd and avoid alienating those players with its complex control scheme. That’s not to say it’s dumbing it down, oh no, because the original transition control schemes and such are still available for veterans, allowing them to pull off more complex moves – think Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s dual control system, which worked a treat.
In what THQ is calling its most “playable Undisputed yet,” the new alternate control scheme for ground transitions replaces the quarter circle and more than quarter circle input for minor and major transitions and replaces them with simple up and down motions on the right stick, respectively. This will allow UFC newbies to get to grips with one of the trickier aspects of the franchise. Players – both new and experienced – will also be able to take advantage of the in-game advice system, which places an increased focus on game education. The intricate advice system will help players improve their game, offering helpful tips while spotting weaknesses in their opponent’s game.
UFC Undisputed 3 introduces new moves, a new submission system and places emphasis on finishing the fight. The new submissions system, which takes the form of a mini-game of sorts, is meant to give players a clear indication of why they either lost or won a submission battle. It all went by a little quickly and over our head if we’re being completely honest, but from what we gathered, basically, the attacker has a bar on the edge of an octagonal frame and they must cover the defender’s bar – represented on the inside of said frame – for them to be successful. As the fight goes on the attacker’s bar will shrink, with the original submission bar and rate of decay being governed by player skill, their energy bar and the position that the submission was initiated in. It’s a see-it-to-understand-it mechanic if ever there was one. If you understood from my explanation though, extra kudos to you.
Last but not least is the addition of the Pride Fighting Championships – a brutal form of Japanese MMA that was fought in rings and has since been swallowed up by the UFC – which gives the early days of MMA a chance to shine with its Japanese rule set, face-stomps and even more brutal takedowns and finishes than we’ve ever seen in an octagonal-shaped ring. It’s the cherry on top of the cake if you ask us, and it seems that THQ’s decision to delay it is going to benefit players looking to pick up the new iteration next year. Jam-packed with improvements that are surely going to benefit players of all skill levels, new fighters, new weight classes and something as simple as player entrances will help make the package much more sellable than the 2010 iteration was. And that’s surely a mouthwatering prospect for MMA fans.
UFC Undisputed 3 is scheduled for a January 2012 release.