So, it’s important for you all to realise that before this scribe received UFC’s ‘Undisputed 3’ for the Xbox 360 through the post, he was a virgin to the sport and experience. It’s always been about wrestling and sports entertainment – but this, this is the real deal – big punches and throws, pain and gain. It’s also important for you to realise that we at Soundspheremag are now converts to the sport, via a game. Nice going THQ.
Firstly, you have to know that this game is very well-designed. The skin tones on every athlete look particularly cool and make the whole thing hyper-realistic. The game play and controls are pretty easy to manage, but because of the artificial intelligence and hard-hitting moves even on beginner mode, you’ll be happy to know, that it’s not exactly simple. Right from the start of a career mode you are thrust into the action as a new fighter. Our created athlete of choice this time is DJ Doom Smith (get it?) and a kickboxer. Exciting huh? You’ll start off the career with an introductory video where UFC star Saun Sherk talks about his own experiences. These videos are littered throughout this mode and will happen when you win for the first time (Mike Swick tells you his thoughts here) and lose your first fight as well as when you pick a favourite move (by levelling up) – we think that this video element is for hardened fans, and it will annoy casual gamers, but it’s certainly a nice touch that gives the game something a little extra.
It’s also worth-mentioning that you don’t start in the big leagues straight away – you have to slug it out for a lengthy period in the World Fighting Alliance (so make your character 18 to get the most out of the game as you retire at around 36 – the years go fast, and it’s not too easy to win every time, as stated). As you begin, you will be coached by renowned play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg and his voice will give you various hints and tips about how to approach important things like competing in your first Pride Tournament, getting title shots, picking a training camp, changing divisions, getting scouted for the UFC and more.
The game also reminds the player about the importance of sponsors in this type of industry; as you achieve success the more sponsors (including the likes of Harley Davidson, Affliction and Venom) want to appear on your clothes – there are actually some pretty cool brands on offer to add to the overall experience… you’ll be a real star in no time… with fancy threads, magazine covers (those come too as you get bigger), and when you really make it to the big time and UFC – you will finally get to have your name called out and a fancy entrance with your own banner – annoyingly none of the announcing, entrance or commentary stuff begins until you “graduate” from the World Fighting Alliance (our fighter was naturally from Leeds and we had to wait a long while to hear that in the intro!). Admittedly though, it’s very cool when you finally do hear the commentators track your progress in training from week to week and analyse your fighting style while the audience chants the nickname that you’ve chosen – it certainly does make you feel part of the action.
Fortunately, outside of the career mode, and after retirement, there’s more to do. You can either create a new character or take your favourite UFC star and start all over again with him – reinventing the career of Brock Lesnar, Tito Ortiz, or Chuck Liddell might sound cool to some of you? Otherwise, if you can’t seem to win the title in career mode, there’s an option to compete in Title Mode where you can compete for the range of championships available including the Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and World belts . Subsequently, there’s a title defence mode where you can choose to defend the championship that you have won. Alongside quick-play Pride and UFC tournaments that you can create yourself, a nice addition is the Ultimate Fight Mode where you can recreate some of the most iconic fights (Ultimate Rivals, Ultimate Knockouts and more) in UFC history including Quinton Jackson versus Wanderlei Silva – you can win these by repeating moves as instructed, or by simply beating the opponent to a pulp in your own delightful way. All in all though, this is an excellent game, and a potential favourite for fans of any “beat ’em up”; a must for long-time fans of UFC.
For more information visit the official UFC Undisputed 3 website.