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UFC 3 Beta: Initial Impressions

EA Sports UFC 3

UFC 3 Beta: Initial Impressions

As Bruce Buffer would say…IT’S TIME!!! EA Sports has released the beta for its new entry into the UFC series with EA Sports UFC 3. With the release of the full game set for February 2, the beta will allow players to get a handle on the things that are new, and brush up on those skills that may have gotten rusty since UFC 2 released in March 2016. After several days playing the beta, here’s what I like, dislike, and things I hope get polished before release. LET’S GET IT ON!

Things I Like

New Striking System: EA has overhauled the way striking works in UFC 3 and it’s for the better. Calling the system Real Player Motion Tech, the developers have completely redone the way strikes work. Throwing combinations are more fluid and make sense. The damage system has also been reworked and there are four different levels to the damage system. Some leave you slightly rocked and able to recover quickly, and others will end the fight instantly. Counter punching and defensive striking at range are more effective than in past titles as well.


Range and Movement: More than ever, range will matter. Too far away and your strikes will whiff, leaving you open to counter attack. Too close and the effectiveness of your strikes will be diminished as punches will become stubby and less powerful. To help with movement, EA has addressed movement in the game. Now being able to dip in and out while throwing punches is possible. Some fighters even have signature lunges that take them in or out of range quickly. This adds a layer of strategy both defensively and offensively as distance can be closed quickly.

Stamina Management: Gone are the days where players can spam spinning back fists and head kicks for wins. Stamina truly matters in UFC 3. There are different stamina floors depending on which strikes are used. Straight punches take the least, while signature strikes have your fighter gasping for breath at every turn. And not only does it affect your offensive capabilities, I had to learn the hard way that even fighters with great chins fell quickly when stamina was low. I came out Stockton slapping like crazy and drained my stamina only to be dropped by the first punch my opponent threw. Definitely a cool addition and an added layer of strategy to be accounted for.

Fighter Roster: Speaking of Stockton slaps, the roster for the UFC 3 Beta is larger than I was expecting. It seems that much of the lightweight division is represented. This is good as you can try out the new striking system with different styles of fighters. From the Notorious Conor McGregor’s lethal hands to Anthony Pettis’ showtime kicks, the fighter roster (so far) feels much more unique in the way each fighter approaches combat. Combine that with the new damage system and you have a wide array of matchups to make. Each fight I had played out differently and that just made things far more fun and varied.

Things I Dislike

Leg Kick Damage: Not everything is coming up roses with the new striking system. Leg kick damage is obscene. I have won or lost by leg kick TKO in far too many matches. While leg kicks ARE an effective tool in real life MMA, the amount of times I can remember seeing leg kick TKOs is something I can count on one hand. Leg kicks are so good in the beta that it’s in danger of becoming the new spammable move. I found myself able to withstand more haymakers to the head than kicks to the leg. Defensively, merely checking two leg kicks by blocking low, dropped leg kick health to the kicking fighter down to a critical level. Add in that leg health doesn’t regenerate at all and we may have a balance issue.

Grappling and Submissions: If you loved the grappling system in EA’s past UFC titles, then you’ll feel right at home here. Grappling is essentially untouched from UFC 2, with the right stick controlling transitions and the multi-level submission system returning. It’s still far too long to transition into different positions and drains far too much stamina. At the same time, the defensive window for takedown defense and blocking transitions is frustratingly short. Overall the system is still slanted towards the offensive fighter, and in my time with the beta, I rediscovered my loathing of the current ground game. Whether it’s because the new striking system is so fun or people share my dislike, I didn’t have a single match dive into the ground game. If a fighter got knocked down, their opponent would let them get back up. In my opinion, this is because the ground game just isn’t fun. 

Needs Improvement

  • Damage modeling is still pretty cartoonish and stands in contrast with the awesome player models
  • New commentator Jon Anik is really good but the sound mixing is doing him no favors. Joe Rogan fares much better.
  • Create-a-fighter looks essentially identical to UFC 2. It’s still pretty good but it’s disappointing to see the same exact options as last year.
  • Even with the new striking system, the existing physics mean that some strikes land awkwardly and the knockout rag dolling, while entertaining, looks kind of ridiculous.
  • Control setup is awkward in places. High block is R2 instead of R1 and low block is now both L2-R2. Limb striking is mainly the same, but uppercuts are mapped to both left limb or right limb buttons.
  • The AI just isn’t very balanced at this point. Easier difficulties are too easy but at higher difficulties, the CPU will steal your lunch money and bully you all over the octagon. Some tweaks would help. (Note: I spent the majority of my CPU fights at Pro difficulty)       
  • Some lag issues cropped up from time to time while playing online. They usually ironed out pretty quickly but, under heavier server load, could really bog down online modes.

Conclusion: I have really enjoyed my time with the beta. It’s shaping up to be a really good game. The new striking system has led to the most fun I’ve had with an EA combat game since Fight Night 3. It’s competitive and chaotic to play with other players, but will take time to fully master. The roster is shaping up to be one of the best they’ve ever put together, and the fighters all have their own sense of style. UFC 3 looks pretty, moves pretty, and is easily accessible to both new players and veterans alike. Some things need polish, and the lack of changes to the grappling and submission systems are disappointing, but overall the beta has me very excited for the full release on February 2, 2018.

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Discussion
  1. All the same impressions, it's shaping up to be the best MMA game yet.
    THQ's 3rd rendition was great for it's time but this is on a whole other level. The dipping in and out to strike and subside feels amazing and less of a jousting match than previous games.
    I couldn't care less about tattoo placement and hairstyles but the rest of the roster has to feel as authentic as they've made the hand full of guys we've gotten. We can only hope to see signature styles from all the stand out names in the UFC. That alone is such a tall order I can't wait to play the full roster. Conor moves and strikes like conor and I'm hoping that same principle sticks throughout.
    how is create a fighter the same??? ps2/ps3 fight night games had more options I feel like
    edit: I hope career mode is deeper as well. Training camps should be reworked, and they should add the option to watch the other fights that are on your match card (CPU vs CPU). I would love to watch some of the main events they put on and It would immerse you further into your careers universe.
    TheBadazz
    I saw a youtube vid on the game. The animations look kinda stiff. I hope it's just because it a beta. But UFC makes me miss some Fight Night.

    It's so much more fluid than previous years, once you feel it you'll smirk a bit.
    The re-done standup is amazing, along with the now viable leg kicks. Graphics, I really can't say enough... just like usual I'm buying 2 copies. One for me another boxed version for support.
    TheBadazz
    I saw a youtube vid on the game. The animations look kinda stiff. I hope it's just because it a beta. But UFC makes me miss some Fight Night.

    Wait till the beta videos drop... that initial stuff put out by some of the YouTubers wasn't the best look.
    Am i the only one who thinks that the submission gates are too big?
    It makes it really hard to escape subs.
    Ea UFC 2’s gates were perfect. It was way harder to finish a submission
    Now it's work slighlty different (escape subs). You should focus on every gate on few first stages and only in few last focus on two gates. It's some averege from all gates after stage or something like that. 
    I was initially disgruntled with the new controls and the AI always catching kicks but Im starting to get a better feel of the controls and with the AI couple of bugs that im sure you guys will address making this game the best in your series.
    HOWEVER, I DO NOT LIKE HOW ULTIMATE TEAM IS NOW!!!
    maybe because I fully haven't played it but it does not look promising and that's unfortunate because myself and many others loved that mode and it just seems like a new money grab, why try and ruin something that just needed a few fixes....Dont insult your fan base people will revolt
    EA please dont do it...Keep the game honest to your consumers,
    Pay to play is OK If you dont exploit the expired card function, but if someone invest money to improve a CAF or mode it should be worth there wild!
    With that being said I support EA games and look forward to the release of UFC 3
    This game desperately needs to go back to the EA UFC 2 rag doll knockout system. The new system completely breaks immersion. I understand the dev team worked hard on it and it definitely sucks having your hard work criticized but the truth is the pre rendered knockout animations aren’t good. If I sway to the right and get hit with a right why do I get knocked out to the left? It doesn’t make sense.
    What i really like about the stand up is that you dont have to go into battle immediately like in ufc 2. You can really keep the distance, pick your shots and after like 4 minutes into the first round suddenly throw a high kick which ko's the opponent. This is just an example but this is how it should be. Can you imagine what the heavyweights can do. PLEASE KEEP THE DAMAGE SYSTEM AS IT IS, it is brilliant.
    Ground game once again isn't very good. It's frustrating that your stamina just depletes and if you try to not attempt a transition to build it back up it doesn't work quick enough. I was on my back with Tony while Khabib had me in side control and at one point I just kept attempting transitions in both directions and they kept getting blocked, this went on for a solid 3 mins with no strikes thrown and we just laid there going back and forth with him blocking my attempts. So I figure ok, i'll wait a second to try and build up stamina and then he throw a punch and finishes me. If a guy is in mount and you hold him down without him throwing strikes, your stamina doesn't build back up and just leaves you vulnerable once they break the hold.
    Takedown defense is tough as well when they shoot for a takedown. There's a real short window to try and stop a takedown. Everytime i've stuffed one its because I was lucky enough to anticipate it coming before it did. Once they go in for a takedown, they're more than likely getting it. If they try to grapple first and then try a takedown there's a much easier time blocking it but you have a split second if they shoot for a takedown and you don't time it.
    Striking needs work, my speed feels half of the cpu's speed when throwing punches (other than Nate Diaz who apparently has Floyd Mayweather speed in this game). There's a good foundation with the stand-up but it probably won't be where it needs to be until after a few patches like usual. The stamina build up when you rock a guy needs to be worked out as well. Too many times I rock a guy and by the time I get to him to try and land some strikes, my stamina is shot and I end up leaving myself open to get knocked out in return if I start throwing punches while they stand there blocking and recovering.
    Kicks are way too sluggish as well. It takes forever for a kick to finally be completed and again you leave yourself wide open to get countered. There's just a little sluggishness to striking overall, it's not fast or fluid for guys that should be rather quick with their strikes. Meanwhile the CPU doesn't seem to have the same issue, especially Nate Diaz when he throws a 1-2. His punches come lightning fast but I can't seem to throw with that same speed.
    I'll of course give this game a buy because I'm anxious for a new UFC game but I feel out of the box this game will be frustrating until they get a patch or 2 in where they clean up some of the bugs. Hopefully a good amount of that is done from now prior to release date, but time will tell.
    Oh my god I love the standup so much. I feel like I can finally use my boxing skills to truly make opponents pay -- ESPECIALLY the overaggressive ones. Footwork, timing, head movement, they all matter. I can't wait for the retail version!!!
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yeshuashammer
    sways are broken and slow. EVERY strike connects when you sway. The sways need more range

    That was my feeling at first, but I've really gotten the hang of it. Stand-up is ALL about distance. Try flicking your sways while maintaining your distance. If an opponent pins you, swaying isn't gonna save you. Stay just far enough from them where they can't hit you but you can still hit them. Just on the edge of striking range. Keep in mind, punching range and kicking range aren't quite the same.
    I love to box, so if someone tries to box with me, I try to stay at the very edge of punching range and pick them apart with straight punches. The jab is an incredibly useful asset.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Have EA not learned anything with starwars battlefront ...... loot boxes this game is full of them , its about time EA Sports reviewed their model ..... is 60 bucks not enough , clearly not
    The actual game , thought it wS a carbon copy of last year , customisation the same , pre fight walk ins identical ....... I know it's a beta but my opinion ....... sigh
    mickythumbs
    Have EA not learned anything with starwars battlefront ...... loot boxes this game is full of them , its about time EA Sports reviewed their model ..... is 60 bucks not enough , clearly not
    The actual game , thought it wS a carbon copy of last year , customisation the same , pre fight walk ins identical ....... I know it's a beta but my opinion ....... sigh

    The game isn't full of them, the one game mode that exists solely for lootboxes in every EA sports game is full of them. The part of the gameplay where most people spend most of their time (the striking) is almost entirely different, we haven't been given access to the full customisation suite yet (the postures thing sounds super interesting) and the pre-fight walkout and tale of the tape is the same because the UFC hasn't changed it since UFC 189, which was 7 months before UFC 2 came out.
    Obviously, you're entitled to your opinion, I just don't think it makes a lot of sense.
    Stand up is awesome paced, fluid. Leg kicks are too overpowered. Ground game, clinch,and submissions need to be worked on somehow its not fun at all. Might as well make a fight night game, don't ever think they'll get anything right besides stand up. Bring on pride
    Sirsunny2
    What i really like about the stand up is that you dont have to go into battle immediately like in ufc 2. You can really keep the distance, pick your shots and after like 4 minutes into the first round suddenly throw a high kick which ko's the opponent. This is just an example but this is how it should be. Can you imagine what the heavyweights can do. PLEASE KEEP THE DAMAGE SYSTEM AS IT IS, it is brilliant.

    Yep! Love it!

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