E3 2011: UFC Undisputed 3 – first impressions

We took our seats inside THQ’s ridiculous looking UFC theater on the E3 floor as a ring girl welcomed us inside. We say ridiculous because of the security standing outside, reminding us of testy bouncers at a strip club. After we settled, Dana White, CEO of Zuffa and all things UFC, introduced us to a video detailing the changes made to UFC Undisputed 3, set for release January 2012. The familiar voice of UFC, Mike Goldberg, then took over to go into detail on new fight mechanics, new submission system, and the inclusion of PRIDE championship fights making Undisputed 3 a hell of a package.

For starters, developer Yukes has had some off time since UFC Undisputed 2010, released a year ago. With increased development time, Yukes has been tinkering with many mechanics under the hood to ensure Undisputed 3 plays better than ever. Many details we saw are to ensure more players can jump in the fight. Hell, we remember the 30-minute tutorial in the first Undisputed game.

A new amateur control scheme was detailed, which will now give players more accessible right analog stick controls for the ground game. Before, you’d have to learn and eventually master quarter circle turns to transition when on the mat. These proved to be difficult to get the hang of and now an alternate control scheme enables you to simply flick up or down to either hit your major or minor transitions. Fear not, veterans can still pick the pro configuration to continue having more control over grapples.

The new submission system now appears to be a sort of cute minigame. You’ll see an octagonal graphic on screen with a blue outlined line signifying the attacker and a red, filled-in line signifying the one trying to escape the submission. How it works is that the attacker is trying to fill in the blue line with the red line by chasing the line around the octagonal graphic. The defendant is trying to escape the blue line.

So depending on health and grappling statistics, the lines will be of varying size, either granting an advantage or disadvantage. Have a gigantic blue bar and you may be a grappling king with tons of health. Have a small blue bar and you might not have warn down your opponent much. Have a small red bar and you might be close to tapping out and on your last legs. It’s difficult to explain, but incredibly easy to figure out by watching in action.

The addition of PRIDE championship fights adds another dimension to Undisputed. Taking place in a traditional four-cornered ring, you’ll go by the Japanese rules. These allow for much more punishing strikes like soccer punts to the face, stomps to those already on the ground or knees to downed opponents. UFC is brutal as it is, but this may up your blood lust a bit more.

We saw a new lighting system in play and we hear there will be additional weight classes. We haven’t heard any word on how the recent acquisition of Strikeforce will come into play, but we’re six months away from the release. Look for UFC Undisputed 3 this January.

Jun 16, 2011

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