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UFC Undisputed 3!

The third installment in the popular UFC Undisputed series has arrived to much anticipation, but does the latest in the franchise continue to improve upon formula?

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A Stable Of Champions: UFC Undisputed 3, as has been the case with the previous installments in the franchise, has a huge emphasis on the roster featured in the game. Once again you will have the choice of fighters in the Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight and Lightweight divisions, but new to the series are the added Featherweight and Bantamweight weight classes that you can choose from.

The amount of fighters available to you in each division is quite large, and big names that were featured in previous games such as Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir and Antonio "Big Nog" Nogueira return to the series, along with a bevy of new fighters.

In the Heavyweight division alone, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos have been added along with many others. When stepping into Featherweight and Bantamweight you will see the smaller fighters take center stage as Jose Aldo, Urijah Faber, Dominick Cruz, Joseph Benavidez, Miguel Torres and countless others are featured in the lower weight classes.

Not only that, but you will also been able to choose from a number of PRIDE fighters from the past. Alternate versions of fighters like "Big Nog", Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson are included as well as competitors such as Bob Sapp and Paulo Filho, so never spent time in the UFC.

Fighting Refined: When it comes down to it, the focus of the title, any fighting title really, is the combat itself. This time around UFC Undisputed 3 feels like a very different game then what players might have been used to in "UFC 2010".

There have been countless changes to virtually every area of the game, both on the feet (striking) and on the ground (grappling). Some of the alterations include the clinch system being drastically changed in favor of the defending fighter.

A common issue in UFC 2010, particularly when playing online, was getting battered when put into the clinch. In UFC Undisputed 3 you can only throw a limited amount of strikes in the clinch before your opponent automatically breaks out of it.

Other cheap online tactics such as continually throwing body punches and "cage humping" your opponent with shoulder strikes are also practically impossible to implement, and quite easy to defeat.

On the grappling side of things the ground game is probably best likened to the system utilized in UFC 2009, the franchise's first installment. The "auto-block", which automatically blocks transitions by you or your opponents, while on the ground has been removed and once again you will be forced to balance advancing your position and defending your opponent's attempts to get back to his feet.

Everything about the combat itself flows very nicely and it is extremely enjoyable under most circumstances. The only gripe I have with the title is that THQ has drastically overhauled the submission system.

In UFC 2009, you could submit or escape submissions by "shining" the thumbstick or rapidly mashing the face buttons. In UFC 2010, only shining was an option when it came to submissions.

This time around you are forced into a mini-game, very much like the one EA MMA utilized, in order to secure or defend against submissions. When initiating a submission, a large Octagon will appear in the center of the screen and two colors will be within the Octagon.

If you can overlap your opponent's color for a period of time, you can sink in the submission. If you can avoid getting overlapped by your opponent while trying to escape a submission, you get out of it and often end up in a dominant position.

The system is not complete garbage but I feel it is far too easy to escape submissions if you are an experienced player and do not get yourself into a lot of trouble. I suspect this system was implemented solely due to the complaints many players had because they were unable to grasp the submission system of UFC 2010.

Building A Champion: Another aspect of the game that has been overhauled is the career mode. This time, you will be able to take either a custom made fighter made from scratch or a "roster" fighter through the career and build them up to be champions. There is little difference between the two, aside from being able to take a little known fighter like Alan Belcher and make him a superstar, but the career mode itself is quite changed.

Gone are the repetitive training games and time management of the last installment. In UFC Undisputed 3, when the majority of your fights are scheduled you will be allowed two "actions" to either learn new techniques such as spinning back fists and head kicks or train and improve your stats.

The "camp" system is barely changed and you will once again go to camp to camp for a period of time learning new moves and giving your fighter the best arsenal possible. The training games are much improved this year though, and you have many options to choose from.

From the "Tire Flip" and "Heavy Bag" to "Submission Sparring", you will have a number of options to choose from that improve your fighter in multitude of areas. Once you improve a skill quite a bit, other training games will start to take points away from those stats, thus forcing you to strategize in order to get the best fighter possible.

At times it can be very difficult to make a well-rounded competitor who isn't total garbage in some areas, but the career is enjoyable and rewarding if done correctly.

Let's See The Cheese: A large focus of the game is the online play, and fortunately the multiplayer has seen little drastic changes.

Once again you will have the choice to find a match or create your own in the weight class of your choice and take on other online fighters. You also have the ability to join or create a "camp" that can rise through the ranks as a dominant team of competitors. Within the camp, you can also compete in uncounted, exhibition matches with fellow members and track your record when competing solely against other camps.

As far as everything goes in the online community, for the most part there is a pretty minimal amount of "spamming". As per the norm most players tend to overuse dominant wrestlers such as Georges St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar and attempt to relentlessly shoot for takedowns, but "takedown spam" is easier to combat this year than ever.

Some fighters have the ability to use sweeps when taken down to get in an advantageous position, and you can also reverse your opponent's transition attempts to end up on top. When competing in the PRIDE organization, you can also use stomps and knees to the head while on the ground to further beat up on players who are not well rounded.

Rent vs. Buy: UFC Undisputed 3 is a very good title that was actually quite well done. The submission system could turn a lot of people off but the career mode and the gameplay itself, particularly online, is a blast.

This game has been freefalling in price since launching but the online community is still somewhat large by the standards of sports titles and if you can find a cheap copy with an unused online code, it is well worth a "buy".

As I delved into the use of "camps" within the online game and taking created fighters that I brought through the career mode online, I can safely say that you will get your monies worth out of UFC Undisputed 3.

Not everything is perfect and some things such as "flash knockouts" (getting knocked out cold despite taking little damage in the fight) like be infuriating, but for the most part this is a well done title.

Unfortunately the stability of the online severs can be very inconsistent, particularly when fighting in the PRIDE organization, but when they work well and you are running on a solid internet connection, the game runs very smoothly.

After hundreds of online bouts and multiple handmade, created fighters, the title is still very entertaining to me and continues to draw my attention from even newer titles, and as I mentioned before if you can find a copy for a cheap price, say, 25-$30, you should easily get the value out of it.

Report Card

After hundreds of online bouts and multiple handmade, created fighters, the title is still very entertaining to me and continues to draw my attention from even newer titles, and as I mentioned before if you can find a copy for a cheap price, say, 25-$30, you should easily get the value out of it. (Krakrabbit.com)


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