The opening sequence of the game throws you into the deep end by setting you up with a title fight using poster boy Conor McGregor Vs. Tony Ferguson. Before you even get into your first introduction fight, a blistering sequence of events unfold on the screen giving you the run down of past fights and hyping this very short tutorial match-up.
As someone who has never played the UFC games previously, the controls appear daunting at first but you start to get the hang of basic punches and blocks with the help of the onscreen prompts that pop up throughout the fight.
As introductions to a game go this is the best way to learn, trial by fire if you will, the controls although intimidating to newcomers at first slowly begin to resonate and you start to find the basic combos and kicks come natural.
Conor McGregor is plastered all over UFC 3 from the very first tutorial fight to the in-game menus, EA went a bit overboard with it. It hosts one of the largest roster of MMA athletes currently, with each of the fighters being realistically recreated, right down to the signature celebrations and stances.
UFC 3 grants you the option to create your own fighter for use in career or in the plethora of modes offered to you, the create a character process allows you to choose the weight class and fight-style.
This is followed by the actual character creation screen which you change everything from appearance down to the characters general information, this is the meat and gravy of the creation process which is reminiscent of the character creation in the WWE 2K Sports franchise of games in which create a character has been a staple feature in. Although, with that being said UFC 3 has a significant reduction in customisation options compared to the aforementioned title.
The creation process also offers a selection of fighter pre-sets for those who just want to create a basic character to use within the game. When changing your characters face you are presented with the option to download your own face in-game from the GameFace webpage, which lets you use real photos of your face to add to your own creations in a wide range of the EA Sports games.
The game boasts a selection of tracks from artists such as DJ Khaled and even a track featuring Snoop Dogg himself, the music although not to my tastes certainly builds the atmosphere when in between fights, something that can either make or break a game and this certainly aids the overall experience.
The career mode sees you create a character or even use one of the preset fighters from its roster, this mode starts you off as a new fighter and compels you to become the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time), as you play through matches you earn cash and fans which all contribute to your G.O.A.T score.
As you progress through career you choose the opponents you fight next, these fighter cards have everything from the fighters statistics down to the hype for the fight and even the winnings, after each match a Twitter section will pop up showing the response to the match, be it either positive or negative depending on how you fare.
The career mode also adds the option to change your character on the fly straight from the menu, this is helpful for those of us who love making sure everything is exactly 100% the way you want.
A new feature for the series is the ability to trash talk and hype your upcoming fights, something Mr.McGregor does all too well, this has its up and downs, yes it increases your fame and fans but it takes time away from training which is vital to improve your overall fighting ability and move set.
To increase your statistics and fighting styles you are introduced to the training camp which gives you a selection of gyms for you to train at, these gyms are completely different from each other and offer different styles such as wrestling, jiu jitsu or boxing to name a few. Each gym has a different membership cost and training cost associated with them, with the higher end gyms costing a ridiculous sum of in-game money, that being said once the membership has been purchased, continued training at a selected gym offers rewards such as new fighting combos and even a discount to the training cost for that gym.
As you progress through the first few matches you are put into a fight that will make or break your career, Dana White, the leading scout for UFC talent is at your fight and it’s your job to win at all costs in order to gain entry into the UFC. Not only that, but this will also determine your first rival.
The controls are fluid but there is a practice mode for those wishing to get more accustomed to them, for a new player to the series it is very easy to pick up the basics and the controls are intuitive, the downside comes when you are at the grappling game, these move sets take a while to memorise and execute.
That being said the more time you invest the quicker and more fluid your fights will become, right down to reacting to grapples faster and even throwing your opponents into some nasty submissions, something that early game players may struggle with. The improvements to motion capture technology and console hardware shows itself in UFC with the punches and animations that feel solid.
EA Canada have achieved in producing a less robotic and choppy gameplay experience and have instead created movements and animations that mirror there real world counterparts. One of the most anticipated features is the Real Player Motion (RPM), this allows players to string together punches and combos that are set up by head movement and footwork.
There are plenty of other activities for players to get stuck into such as Ultimate Team and online fights, all of which you can set up the parameters of each match, as is a staple for all fighting sims. UFC 3 also offers modes such as knockout, stand and bang, submission showdown and custom fights.
As with any EA Sports game the aim of Ultimate team is to build a squad, this time it’s squad of fighters whether it be from real athletes or the ones you create. The aim of this mode is to compete be it online or offline to win fights and earn coins, these coins are then used to purchase ultimate team packs which grant you anything from new fighters right down to new fighting moves.
With each consecutive fight victory, your whole team levels up and in the process allows you to fight stronger opponents for increased reward gains, as with every Ultimate Team you are able to cut out the grind by purchasing UFC points which are then used to buy fight packs.
As with everything micro-transactions are not to everyone’s tastes and can often leave a bitter feeling in your mouth and an empty feeling in your wallet but these are purely optional and if you are committed to playing Ultimate Team then these packs can be obtained by earning coins anyway.
UFC 3 offers something for its hardcore fans and plenty for those who just want an enjoyable fighting sim to get stuck into. Fans of previous UFC Titles by EA Canada can rest assured they will find a technical wonder where its only big letdown is the poor ground gameplay.
OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Adam Walters.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of EA Sports UFC 3, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)