I bought UFC 2010 when it came out and almost immediately dropped it.
You know why I dropped it? Deteriorating stats. Because no.
I'm fine with some stat management. Picking what thing I want to dump points into over another, for instance. But if once I've dumped those points I start losing them over time then you lose me.
I play these games for the fights! Not to crunch numbers.
I will say out of the game that this is something Undisputed 3 has fixed.
Stats no longer deteriorate over time. You can lose a small amount through training one thing over another, but it's vastly more manageable than it was in the 2010 edition.
So I guess I'll start with the career mode, which is already vastly improved thanks to the aforementioned improvements over how stats work. But there's more!
You can start your career by creating your fighter or if you'd prefer you can pick anyone from the games extensive roster and from there Mike Goldberg will walk you through some training stuff, at the end of which the game will recommend a difficulty but you can feel free to pick one you're comfortable with.
For the first few weeks Mike will do further tutorializing, explaining how the training mini-games, fight camps and gameplans work. I feel like the game does a pretty good job of making sure you know how everything works before you get into it.
You don't initially start in the UFC, but the WFC.
You work your way up the WFC rankings, maybe get the Championship under your belt and you'll gain the attention of UFC promoters and thus the chance to fight for them. Then you'll find yourself working up thatladder, all the while training and further improving your fighter.
Maybe you'll get the Championship in your division, maybe once you've done that you'll want to see how you do in another one and so you can choose to move up or down a weight class.
Perhaps you'd like to see how you fair in a Pride tournament, under their rule set .
There's a lot more to do in this years career mode and more time is spent fighting than stuffing about in menus.
Gameplay wise it'll feel quite familiar to fans of previous games.
Left punch, right punch. Left kick, right kick.
Left trigger as a modifier for the height of your strike.
Left bumper to use "technique" strikes, such as the Superman Punch or head kicks.
Right bumper and trigger for blocks etc.
There have been some good additions though.
Most significant of which is in the submissions.
Before to get or escape a submission you'd furiously rotate the right analogue stick and then you'd either win or you'd lose, but with no real indication of why.
This year there's a visual overlay for submissions.
The person who imitates it tries to move their marker to overlap that of the combatant being submitted. The size and speed of your marker will depend on factors such as stamina and just your general skill with submissions or the foes submission defence. It's got a kind of cat and mouse thing going on. Now whether you win or lose though, it's at least apparent why and that goes a long way toward making the ground game a lot less frustrating than it has been in years past.
Another big change is the addition of ground sways.
In previous games you could sway to avoid strikes whilst standing but this now also applies to avoiding ground and pound, so should you find yourself in a bad spot with the other fighter standing over you and throwing punches you can do more than just hold block and hope for the best.
Ultimate Fights mode makes makes a return, allowing you to relive or rewrite UFC history.
Title Defence, this series equivalent of survival mode from a fighting game is also back.
You only recover a relatively minor portion of your health and stamina between fights, so it pays to play effectively. Title Defence is also apparently 100 fights long. And there's no saving.
Which is kind of frustrating but I guess if you have the time a good challenge.
As I briefly mentioned you can now fight under Pride rules, which comes with Pride presentation. Lack of Cage included. So you get head stomps, soccer kicks, knees to the head and all that good stuff. You even get the Pride era version of some of the fighters that were there, which is a nice touch.
Presentation wise the game is fine.
It does a pretty good job of looking like a UFC PPV at all times.
Graphically the game is fine. Fighters look like their real life counterparts.
About the only thing that bugs me about the game visually is the blood effects, which still look awful painted on in a lot of cases.
I've been spoiled by EA's MMA game, in which blood smeared and stained your fighters in a comparatively realistic fashion. Here the cuts and stuff on the face look fine, but if you get any on your arm, back or whatever it's just a couple of painted on dots.
It doesn't look great.
Also if you've seen the entrances a dozen times, the fighter introduction a dozen times, if you'd like to skip through them, well it's a lot of clicking you need to do. Perhaps for the next game they might want to think about a way to toggle off that stuff to get you into fights quicker, should you want that.
All nitpicking aside UFC Undisputed 3 offers arguably the best MMA experience to date, though if you don't agree with that at the very least I don't think you can deny that it's a vast improvement over last years game. After all... No deteriorating stats!