Hands-On: EA Sports UFC 3

Hands-On: EA Sports UFC 3

* PS Nation was invited to a preview event in New York City with light food and drinks served. Travel was paid for by the reviewer. The game was played using a PS4.


The EA Sports UFC franchise has seen steady improvements over its first two iterations and from everything I saw during my time with the game, UFC 3 will be a huge leap forward.

One of the smartest things done at the presentation was having UFC 2 available to play with a simple HDMI switch, we didn’t even have to get up. Playing the two games back to back made the improvements stand out that much more.

In the previous version, fighters would be limited in their animations and movements and in the one area that really broke the realism, they’d plant their feet before any striking. All of that is gone with better motion capture and much more realistic and dynamic movements for the fighters.

Fans of the real life UFC will be able to recognize many fighters just based on how they move in the octagon. The fights are now filled with constant, fluid motion. It’s so much more real and it makes UFC 2 look downright stiff and fake by comparison.

This is all made possible by the real player motion technology used in capturing the fighters which is a step forward even from what FIFA offered this year. The developers have captured over 5,000 new animations for the game this year which allows the game to be so different from past iterations.

With all this information they’ve completely rebuilt the stand up gameplay from the ground up along with the AI. The grappling system and the ground game have both been overhauled as well and you now have a choice of stick or buttons when the ground game comes into play.

A big failure in UFC 2 was explaining the grappling, ground, and submission games and how the controls work. A ton of tutorials have been added to explain it better but they’re also adding YouTube videos from the hardcore fans that already explain different features in detail.

The career mode never had any clearly defined goals in previous versions of the game but this time you’ll be given specific short, medium, and long term objectives. This includes performance objectives within the octagon and promotion objectives outside the octagon. To become the greatest of all time you’ll need to promote yourself and become a household name.

There will be ten different training gyms for career mode, each with their own rosters of UFC fighters to train with. Here you’ll train, learn, spar, and promote to upgrade your attributes and learn new moves for your fighter. A really nice touch is that to prepare for a fight, you can set your sparring partner to mimic the style and attributes of the fighter you’re about to face, allowing you to unlock a gameplan on how to approach the fight.

Promotion is also important because it drive up fight hype and helps you land better contracts. These in turn will allow you to unlock better gyms and build your career step by step.

You’re getting feedback at all times which is integrated in a number of different ways. During a fight if you’re having trouble in a particular area, the commentators will make note of it and you’ll see popups letting you know what you need to do to correct your mistakes. Between rounds you’ll even have more information about where you’re struggling and how to overcome it.

The Ultimate Team mode has seen a complete overhaul as well bringing it a bit closer to Madden, FIFA, and NHL. You can now use licensed fighters and customize them with new move items. The interface has been streamlined as well, making it easier to customize fighters and see very quickly which attributes need improvement.

Multiplayer modes have been expanded with Fight Now and Knockout Mode returning along with a new Custom Fight Now, Stand and Bang which has no grappling, and Submission Showdown which is grappling only. There’s also a new Tournament mode which can have eight to sixteen fighters and persistent damage that can be turned on or off.

The women’s roster has been updated a bit and for the first time, character models have been created for Tale of the Tape and promotional images so things look more like they do in real life.

The game plays great now, especially when compared to the last iteration and the moves are so much more lifelike. It’s a vast improvement just inside the octagon but with everything that’s been added on top of that hardcore fans will be very pleased.

I was really impressed with what I saw and played and the nice thing is how accessible they’re making it for casuals and newcomers as well, so even if you have a passing interest, this is definitely a game you’ll want to check out.

Published by EA Sports, a division of Electronic Arts, and developed by EA Canada, EA Sports UFC 3 will be released on February 2, 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

* All screens used in this preview were provided by the publisher.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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