UFC Undisputed 3 Career Mode Impressions

Posted February 10th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Career mode in UFC Undisputed 3 has succeeded not by adding anything revolutionary but instead by removing elements of frustration. The focus now primarily shifts to the fights and career advancement with the option of investing more time on the training and sponsorship elements. Meanwhile stats aren’t as much of a concern to manage while navigation has been streamlined and loading times reduced.

Fighters now start out with better base ratings which is a big deal in making the mode more fun off the bat – and careers begin in the WFA before moving on to the UFC and Pride opportunities.┬áThe mode is largely based on earning “Cred” from the fights which is then spent to upgrade the fighter or purchase items from sponsors. Character creation and tutorial playthroughs lead into choosing a difficulty level. Note that the difficulty chosen can not be changed later.

There are now several different ways to train and the strategy put into what is worked on will shape the fighter’s abilities. The three options are ‘Training Sessions’, ‘Camp Sessions’, and ‘Game Plan’. The opportunity is there to do two before each fight (unless a fill-in fight is chosen where there is only time for one). The ‘Training Sessions’ work to up the strength, speed, stamina, and footwork attributes. ‘Camp Sessions’ allow for new moves to be acquired or powered up. ‘Game Plan’ works on a certain strategy and increases/decreases skill ratings based on the areas of focus and success demonstrating it in sparring sessions.

My error was probably not utilizing the ‘Game Plan’ option more early on in my career. Where I’m at right now is trailing my potential opponents by about an overall of 10 ratings points. There are areas where my fighter is actually stronger, and I’ve been able to compete at that level, but he’s not as well rounded considering I spent the time concentrating on padding those main attributes rather than the individual skills. Struggling in the first ‘Game Plan’ that was attempted (which is essentially a sparring session with goals) is probably why I went away from it then and have only recently gone back to utilizing the option and with more success.

It’s also important to upgrade sparring partners and training programs as they raise the ratings caps. Doing so gets expensive though. In terms of earning “Cred” the payouts and costs of purchasing things feels quite balanced. I’ve been able to progress at a reasonable rate. The only tough thing is making the decision to spend training time on learning or powering up a new move. I’ve obtained a couple, and powered up one, but attributes feel as though they take precedence.

All of the time spent training is basically optional and can be simmed or skipped completely. The results won’t be as good as if successfully completing the tasks manually making it a trade-off in saving time that will likely be appealing enough for many. It’s refreshing to be able to spend most of the time actually in the fights with UFC 3 rather than micromanaging other aspects. Those that decide to go deeper though will get value out of doing so.

There are also new “Career Live Movies” that play before/after important events occur. They’ve proven to be fairly interesting and relevant – after my first loss getting a movie about how a real fighter handled that themselves or after joining a gym hearing about its history have made them worth watching. Many may end up skipping these videos but they are a solid addition in order to introduce some drama and perspective into the mix.

Other things to look out for are the end of year awards (which somehow I won “KO of the Year” in the first cycle and certainly didn’t deserve), the ability to change weight classes and fight out of the current weight class, new sponsors, no stat decay, a bunch of new drills, real life camps, and commentary that makes relevant references to career events.

Of course the gameplay is ultimately going to drive whether Career mode is worth it or not. I’ll go into gameplay impressions extensively over the next few days but the improvement from UFC 2010 to UFC 3 has been remarkable. Outside of the ref standing up fighters a bit too quickly, and the awful submission system, the gameplay has been balanced, satisfying, and provided exciting moments. Just as has been done with the structure of Career mode the gameplay has been stripped of elements of frustration while enhancing just about everything in the process.

Though having not added anything revolutionary Career mode in UFC Undisputed 3 has proven to be a much more enjoyable experience to progress through than previous iterations in the series. There is more authenticity and variety in terms of carving out a career path and building a fighter to certain strengths while the central purpose of the mode can now be on what most want to spend time with and that is the actual fights.