Developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports, UFC 3 is the latest mixed martial arts fighting game to grace the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Last year’s cover star Connor McGregor has returned as this year’s cover star; however, this time, without Ronda Rousey, who has made a departure from the UFC to join the WWE.
UFC 3 is a definite improvement over its predecessors. This year’s edition sees a fantastic overhaul of the striking and stand-up movement mechanics featured within the game. This time around you can use the right stick to sway, duck and dodge strikes delivered by your opponent… much like real UFC fighters do. When it comes to striking and movement, you can now strike while moving in various directions – which ultimately makes this title feel a lot closer to its real-world counterpart.
With the striking and movement mechanics being overhauled, players will now need to keep a careful eye on their character’s stamina gauge, which ultimately drains quicker as the new overhaul gives you an opportunity to throw multiple strikes and combos at a quicker pace – thus, draining your stamina faster. Once your stamina has drained, your fighter will make little to no progress in a fight as their strikes will barely do damage. In addition to this, stamina plays a role when defending against attacks both when in a stand-up position as well as when you are taken to the ground.
While UFC 3 has seen a vast improvement to its stand-up gameplay, it would have been great to see the same amount of work put in the ground-game mechanics. Once taken down to the ground, this begins to become slightly frustrating as you never entirely know what actually happened when you lose a position or are quickly placed into a submission that, with all your efforts, fail to reverse or escape. The “mini-games” used to get out of these situations need to either be improved up drastically or completely overhauled, much like the stand-up mechanics. There is an option to button mash your way out of holds; however, this just feels a bit too simple.
If things get too much, you can change the difficulty level; however, the game’s easy mode is just too easy. You can quite literally throw 3 to 4 strikes, take your opponent to the ground, position up, and finish them off with a ground and pound every single match.
Moving away from combat, new to the series is the “G.O.A.T.” career mode. In the career mode, players will have the opportunity to make career choices that will impact their path to greatness. Outside of fights, players can make promotional choices to build hype, gain fans, earn more cash through big contracts and capture the world’s attention. Adding to the features, a new in-game social media system now allows the player to create heated rivalries with other UFC athletes.
I personally enjoyed the career mode. Training in gyms in between fights was a great way to prepare my fighter for upcoming rivals as well as improve on all the fighting styles, which include boxing, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. If you want to take things online, you can. The online modes are pretty standard; however, you will have the opportunity to fight some rather impressive players from around the globe.
UFC 3 does come with some sneaky micro-transactions, which have been included in the Ultimate Team mode; however, these are optional, as said micro-transactions have been quarantined to this mode only. So if you do want to avoid this mode, you can.
UFC 3 features some of the best stand-up fighting we have seen in a UFC title to-date. Granted, the ground-based combat needs work; however, it’s still a pretty solid fighting game. To add to the features, there are plenty of modes to choose from as well as an impressive roster of 234 different fighters, spanned across various weight classes, to choose from.
When it comes to graphics, UFC is an impressive looking title. Each fighter features a great amount of detail and you can see that EA has placed in an immense amount of effort to get them to look good as well as move in an impressive manner.
While UFC 3 has its highs… it also has a few lows. Collision detection can be a bit off at times and in-game glitches can turn a match around quickly.
Overall, it’s great to see EA improving upon the UFC series, game after game. This shows that the firm is committed to improving the game for the best experience for the player.