There wasn’t a playable demo available on the floor for the next UFC game but I had a chance to go to a screening of the game in the theater THQ had set up to show off the next installment of their popular MMA series. Personally, as a huge MMA fan, I was looking forward in particular to seeing some of the changes to UFC Undisputed 3; EA MMA had some great ideas (even if not implemented very well), and I was highly critical of some of the changes made between UFC 2009 and UFC 2010 (auto-block = bad).
Here are my thoughts on the UFC Undisputed 3 presentation.
1. UFC 3 looks like it’s going to add the lighter weight classes and fighters, bringing the total number of fighters up to a staggering 150 fighters. That’s insane. Considering some of the amazing fighters they have at the lighter end of the weight classes that’s a great addition to the already large roster of fighters.
2. Pride! They’ve added PrideFC, as in both the arena and rules, and the game appeared to show some of the UFC fighters who had fought in PrideFC the way they looked during their prime while a part of the company. This is a fantastic addition that probably only diehard MMA fans will even care about, but as one of those kind of fans I’m excited. They’ll even have the American PrideFC announcers! Bas Rutten!
3. If they can use Bas Rutten, who was a fighter and the main trainer in EA MMA, does this mean EA has given up the rights to their MMA stuff or did they just never sign guys like Bas to contracts?
4. Pride rules means that there are soccer kicks, knees to the head of a downed opponent and stomps. They showed some of these and they looked terrible. Knees to the head looked like they barely had any impact on the ground; they looked like love taps instead of something that could cause brain damage. I hope they fix their physics engine to account for the impact in a more realistic way before release.
5. The developers have streamlined grapple controls so that people can choose to not do the quarter circle turns. Instead, it would just be flicking up for minor transitions, down for major transitions. This seems like an interesting way to make it easier for people to get used to the grappling, while the original system is still available for those wanting to pull off transition fakes and so on.
6. However they never said how this would work online. People who choose simple controls would have an advantage, especially when any lag is added, to those who are quarter circling. I don’t know what they have planned to balance this, as they did not answer any questions after the presentation.
7. THQ did mention completely revamping the online mode, I’m hoping that means the online mode might actually, you know, WORK the first week (or month) that game is out. Crossing my fingers for that one.
8. The submission system is new. No more shining the right joystick. Instead it was strangely replaced by a mini-game that shows an octagon shadow onscreen and one player chases another player’s icon around the octagon in order to earn the submission. I get changing the submission system, but what the hell is this? I don’t think starting a submission should feel like watching Benny Hill get chased around. That’s just weird.
9. Nothing was mentioned about making the career mode more enjoyable, I hope they at least tried to do something to make it feel less like a chore.
10. With 150 fighters, a simple vs complex grapple system and so on, I have my doubts about how they will be able to balance the game so that people online don’t just figure out exploits within a day. I’d rather them focus on creating an extremely balanced MMA game than one with a lot of fighters that look different but feel similar.