Another solid knockout.
The UFC isn’t really a sport I pay much attention to. Of course, I know of many of the fighters like Chuck Liddell, Connor McGregor, and Ronda Rousey, but I’ve never followed the sport frequently. A couple of years ago, I reviewed UFC 2 and enjoyed my time with it for the most part. Sure, I was a bit confused with some of the mechanics, but I found the overall fighting to be precise and fun. Now, UFC 3 is hitting and I feel pretty much the same way with a few extra things added on.
UFC 3 puts more emphasis on the career mode than the last game. I could create my fighter from the ground up and make them as realistic or as goofy as I wanted. For maximum goofiness, I could use the EA Game Face to scan my own face in and let the game render me if full 3D. (Which I did, of course.) The career mode starts off with simple exhibition bouts that eventually get the attention of Dana White who then invites the player to be a contender in the UFC. So begins the long, difficult road of becoming the champion through hard work in training, gathering a fan base, and of course, winning scheduled fights.
Platforms: PS4, XB1
Price I’d pay: $59.99
To be successful in the UFC, I didn’t just have to win my fights. I had to promote them. This can be done numerous ways. I could post to social media, stream video games with my fans, attend special interview sessions, and many other things. The caveat here is I only had 100 points to spend in a week getting ready for the fight. Everything I did would use up those points. If I spent too much time generating hype for my fight, I wouldn’t have enough points to actually train moves or condition my body for the fight itself. Now, on the opposite end, if I spend all my time training, it could result in injuries that lower stats of certain body parts or stamina. I also wouldn’t be generating much hype for my fights and would be left in the dust of the more high profile fights with only a handful of fans following me. It was a fine balance that was both fun and strategic.
Training is simplified in UFC 3 with it all being done mostly through the menus. No more having to hit a punching bag so many times in order to get the stat increase. This is now reserved for learning new moves and combo attacks. Players can train at different gyms given they have the funds, of course, to increase their stats with different drills or spar with other fighters that will fight much like their upcoming opponent. Doing this can result in the player’s fighter having an edge on the match by knowing what moves the opponent has.
The fighting itself remains the same for the most part, although a few control changes have been made. High blocks are mapped to R2/RT, low blocks are now both triggers at the same time. Time that block just right when a kick is coming in and players can grab the opponent’s leg. The face buttons are for the strikes both with either the right or left punches and kicks. Holding down L2/LT would modify strikes to be body blows rather than head strikes, and finally, R1/RB would modify strikes to be stronger, more technical strikes like hooks and haymakers. Using the right stick would allow me to bob and weave moving my head around to miss incoming attacks, although, players need to be careful when moving their heads. If I leaned into a punch on accident, it would do major damage or even flat out knock me out in one well placed hit. The same goes for the opponent as well. Knowing when to strike and when to hold off is the name of the game. Stamina management is the most important thing in UFC 3. Once it runs out and players take enough damage, they begin to lower their maximum stamina. Players can go in for constant takedowns and tons of combos without getting tired so it behooves the person to play it easy in fights and pick their shots accordingly.
Players can also clinch using the R2/RT and the right stick to transition into different holds which can then chain into submission holds. This can be done both standing and on the ground, either after a knockdown or a takedown. Players can guard and move the clinch in the direction they want in order to escape or to reverse. This all uses up stamina that once it’s gone will have to replenish leaving the player open for both attacks and submission holds. When in a submission, players will have to fill one of four meters that appear on the screen. The defending player is also trying to do the same thing. What can be done is the attacking player can block the other player from filling their meters by moving the right stick in the same direction as the opponent. It can be a bit of a guessing game while trying to do a submission both for the attacker and the defender. I’ll be honest, I was and still am absolutely horrible at submissions so I tend to keep my fighter standing as much as I can.
Along with the career mode, there are the quick play modes that actually have a robust amount of customization to them when it comes to handicaps, rounds, and many other aspects of the fight. It’s simple and easy to just jump into a fight with the AI or with a buddy on the couch. We could go for the Knock-Out mode where a set number of strikes knocks out the player, or I could set it to only have ground game or standing game with all kinds of settings. It’s pretty nice and easy to get into.
Ultimate Team is here as well, where players can create a team of fighters using cards they acquire through card packs. Card packs can include not only fighters but also new moves that can be equipped and special limited use cards that can increase stats and give buffs when used. They then take their mix match fighters into the octagon to earn more currency to get themselves more card packs. Ultimate Team can be played both offline or online, and seeing some of the fighters coming out of the online is pretty fun. There are some microtransations here for these card packs but I was never compelled to buy any. Even if I lost a fight, I was usually awarded with enough in game currency to grab a new pack.
Speaking of the online play, it is here as well, both in ranked matches as well as unranked quick play. The online plays exactly like the offline and works relatively well with some lag hitting here and there. I never encountered game breaking lag, but it was most certainly noticeable. Also, for the record, I have won only one single match in the online. Everyone else is like a master at this game compared to me. But I’ll take my win.
Once again, being a fighting game fan really helped me get into this game a lot more than what I originally thought. It is a competent fighting game where I feel the standing game is still a better experience then the ground and submission game. The kickboxing is still really great and the combo system is intricate and entertaining. On top of all that Joe Rogan yelling at the top of his lungs when I made a bone crushing hit land is always fun, and with the career mode being simplified and still robust, players of both fighting games and sports games will have a pretty decent time here.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.