EA Sports UFC 3 Review
It’s Tiimmeee!!! EA Sports UFC 3 is back and while they have improved on certain gameplay mechanics and the overall visuals of the game. Is there still room for improvement or has EA given us the complete MMA experience?
EA Sports have looked at what made UFC 2 so popular and amazing to play. They built on that foundation to refine the control system. Which makes the gameplay feel more balanced and offers up more natural fluidity to the fighters’ movements. This is all thanks to the hard work that EA Canada has put in to this year’s title. What they have done is used Real Player Motion, which is a new cutting-edge animation technology which makes every move, strike, and combination more realistic, responsive, and rewarding. With over 5,000 new animations captured and rebuilt from the ground up, strikes and movement between combinations all seem more fluid than ever before.
With the new animations keeping everything smooth while you strike and grapple with your opponent in the Octagon. You will notice that there are not really improvements to the ground game. It’s the same as in UFC 2, that you transition using the right stick in the hope that you can ground and pound or submit your opponent. This is done like a mini quick time event. One good option for those casual gamers out there, is that there is an option in Quick Combat mode that lets you have controls a little simpler. Rather than have you move the sticks to get into position or grapple, you get treated to a button quick-time event, rather than the sticks.
A big change that you will notice straight away is, the HUD and how it presents the damage you receive or dish out during the fight. In previous UFC games, you were shown an outline of your body marked with damaged areas as you were getting hit. In UFC 3 we now get similar bars to that of your stamina and this measures the health of your body. These bars show your head, arms, lets and so on. The bars will slowly start to diminish as you strike your opponent, which will cause them to fall or even get knocked out. When you either rock your opponent or they rock you, with a well-placed strike, one of these bars will flash. This is the time to pile on the pressure and try to finish them off. With this new HUD display, it is easier to monitor the damage more and you can adjust your tactics in a fight to achieve victory. Some may have found the previous HUD easier to understand with the outline of the body being highlighted as what damage was being taken. I find that with the new setup, it gives you a better understanding of when you need to protect yourself more and what areas of your opponent you need to pressure more.
The Career mode in UFC 3 we get to take a fighter on a journey, much like FIGHT NIGHT has done before it. In Career mode you can either choose a fighter from one of the 260 fighters on offer or you can create your fighter and start from the bottom and try to become the greatest of all time. Once you have chosen a fighter or created your own, you start your career in the WFA leagues and try to get noticed by the UFC and Dana White.
Once you start to put on a show, earn hype from chatting to fans, messaging on social media, Dana White will start to notice you and drop by one of your fights. This is done in a sort of mini TV promo as we see Dana White & Matt Serra Lookin’ for a Fight! He does a quick intro about the show and you etc… The presentation is a nice idea and adds to the how feel of the Career Mode, even though at times, feels a little cheesy.
Throughout your time as a fighter, you will receive contracts and choose which fighter you want to consider fighting. Once you have chosen your opponent, you are given a set number of weeks to prepare for the fight. This is where it gets interesting, as you can choose to train, learn some new moves, spar or even promote your fights to hype them up. Obviously the first thing you should do, is head straight for gym to train. A number of factors before you train is how much money you have for membership to a particular gym and for your weekly training. While you can train at home in your basement, you won’t benefit much if you keep doing it that way. The way to improve in all aspects of MMA, is to look for a gym that suits the style you want to play. What you must consider is that the more expensive the gym, the better the results will be for your fighters’ growth. Each gym has its speciality, and these range from Boxing to Muai Thai to Jiu Jitsu. The gym you chose will give you set moves and perks that you can unlock and will also improve your fighters’ overall attributes.
Now that you have chosen your gym, you will have to train correctly. While most of your training is only a simulation that improves your overall statistics, there are others that you will need to tend to. You can learn new moves and earn perks by completing challenges at your chosen gym. These challenges all depend on the gym you have chosen. For instance, if you choose Inner City BJJ gym, you will be concentrating more on your ground game, submissions and so on.
The best option for training and probably the most invaluable option you have it the Spar option. This will help you better understand your upcoming opponent and better prepare for your fight. Spar will pit you against a fighter that will match closely to the style of fighter you are preparing for. It will also reward you with a key intel on how you should approach the fight as well. Each spar session is different depending on who you are coming up against in your next bout. So, it is advised to use option whenever possible.
The final piece of the preparation for your next fight is the media obligations. While it’s nothing to the extent of what the real fighters get up to. It is a playful option to have to give your fighter a much well hype boost to get more fight fans to watch your next fight and to grab the headlines and push towards greatness. You can improve your popularity with fans with you streaming your favourite video game and play with followers, do meet and greets and even do some motion capture for a certain UFC game. This can help with fights to build up my hype and have greater rewards.
The Career mode does have some welcome changes over UFC 2, but I found that after a while, the gym setup, training and promoting each fight, while fun at the start, got a bit stale. I just wanted to jump straight in to the actual fight itself and start seeing some blood and sweat. The way that the EA Sports Vancouver team have setup the Career mode is a good thing though. You train in the disciplines you favourite most, while neglecting the ones you dislike will cost you later in your career. The same goes for trying to balance out your media obligations too, as you need to make sure you get yourself out there so fight fans know who you are. As you learn this through playing, you appreciate that there must be a balance in your mindset and how you approach your career. It’s like how it must be for the real fighters out there, bettering themselves with each camp and fight that they undertake. You get a better understanding of the game and your fighter and yourself must grow to learn all that can achieved to become a legend.
When you have had your fill of Career mode, there are other game modes on offer to keep you busy until the wee hours of the morning. The game modes are more or less the same as the previous UFC title. What you are offered is Fight Now, which gives the more casual fight fans a chance to play their favourites from the roster of around 260 UFC fighters. If you prefer a more aggressive approach you can try out the Knockout Mode. The rules are simple, choose the amount of strikes the fight takes to knock your opponent out and go toe-to-toe with your friends. Both players start with the same amount of health, but with each devastating shot the health bar decreases. This can be very exciting and a lot of fun when your heart is racing to see who can stay standing until the end. As an added bonus, Snoop Dogg drops comments on the fight as it happens if you choose to have it on, and why would you NOT have it on?
Challenges from UFC 3 are back and probably still the best school way to learn and master all the types of movement available in both conventional fights and Ultimate Team. Speaking of Ultimate Team, it’s basically nearly a carbon copy of what it was in UFC 2. There are however some important changes to the mode. One of these is that not only can you play with a team of your created fighters, but you can use the real UFC fighters too, but you are free to modify them as you see fit, much in the same way as your created fighters.
The Ultimate Team centre hub, consists of acquiring packs to obtain blows, kicks and new techniques for your fighters. There are also the consumables that increase your profits as better contracts. I am not overly fond of the Ultimate Team mode that seems to be in every EA Sports title these days and the reason for this is those pesky microtransactions/loot boxes. I feel like if these were ruled out, the game mode would probably be a bit more enjoyable to play. As it is, I tend to stick to Career mode and online.
Since mentioning the online game, UFC 3 is much the same as it was in UFC 2. They range from fighting friends to random players online in either tournaments or Ultimate Team matches. The game modes that UFC 3 offer are: Stand & Bang, Submission Shoutout, Fight Now Custom and a Tournament Mode.
Stand & Bang
Stand and bang with all strikes and no ground game in an authentic, five-round bout. Select your fighters and go head to head. All it takes is one strike to knockout your opponent.
Show off your ground game skills and take on your opponent entirely on the ground. Use holds, ground-and-pound, and submissions to get the win and be a champion.
Fight Now Custom
Fight your way with complete control over every setting and slider in Fight Now Custom. You can tune and adjust everything including stamina, transition speed, submission speed, grapple advantage, damage, health recovery, and perks to create the ultimate bout.
Tournament Mode is the ultimate game mode for a group of friends: choose your fighter and see how many opponents you can finish in a King of the Hill style tournament mode. The last man standing wears the crown and earns the bragging rights among your friends. Choose whether your damage obtained in a previous fight carries into the next bout for the ultimate survival test.
EA Sports UFC 3 is targeted towards more the real fight fans of UFC. While it preserves the fun and quality of the previous games in the franchise for all to enjoy, it does give you a lot more options when fighting. Each fight doesn’t feel like a slug-fest and more of a fight won best on strategy. What stands out for me the most in UFC 3 is the Career mode. While it has its grinding training sessions that can become tedious at times, it does it’s best to emulate the fights and preparations of what you’d witness on UFC broadcasts.
GoG Rating: 8/10
Developer: EA Sports Vancouver
Release Date: Feb 2th 2018
Review copy provided free of charge by Electronic Arts UK