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I had two fevers last weekend; the first kept me from writing and the other was all about UFC. Not only am I back into kick boxing on a regular basis, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter started and the UFC Undisputed 3 demo finally made it onto my console.
It's been a while since I've used the Xbox for its intended purpose and this demo was a great way to jump back into gaming.
From the opening video there are many changes from UFC 2010 including takedown and grappling options, control techniques and, of course, expected cosmetic changes. You can even play in the lax rule set that is Pride.
As usual the demo only shows a minor fraction of what to expect. The only fighters available for a UFC bout are current Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and UFC legend and Middle Weight Champion Anderson Silva who also feature on the cover.
Visually the game is not bad and is very much like watching a live fight. From the Zuffa intro to the way fighters walk out to the octagon; even announcer Bruce Buffer's movements and gestures are very familiar.
As for gameplay, the controls are as I remember them, with the biggest improvement being the submission attempt indicator.
A new addition to the game, it allows players to see how to win or evade a submission. Essentially you direct a blue or read bar around an octagon icon on screen. You need to cover your opponents bar to submit or evade to escape the attempt. It's a bit of an eyesore and a setback for an audience but very useful for players.
You can move your fighter more too, with feints improving combos and swaying preventing your face from blocking punches when on the ground underneath your opponent.
I managed to finish fights with both fighters via TKO, submission and decision with noticeable differences in stamina, speed and power. At times the fighters felt very similar with spinning punches seemingly all the rage (I thought it was Jon Jones' special move and expected something different from Silva).
I miss the stamina bar from the first UFC game as it made it so much easier to manage my fighter. UFC games aren't button mashers like most fight titles. Without that bar I feel like I can mash, so I do (furiously) only to end up with a weak, slow and fatigued character...despite rocking the poop outta Jones after a whirlwind flurry of punches and kicks.
In Pride you can play as Rampage Jackson or Wanderlei Silva. In typical Japanese style it's over the top, insane action with the setting and music giving a very 'arcade' vibe.
Offering a taste of a middleweight fight, the game felt different. The fighting wasn't familiar like the UFC bout. Additionally, no matter what I did I always managed to eat a meaty punch, get my head stomped, recover then get dropped.
I quite enjoyed this demo and am keen to pick up the full version and explore the raft of extras, fighters, locations training and challenges. UFC Undisputed 3 will hopefully be the game fans wanted and were expecting 18 months ago...here's hoping.