EA Sports UFC 3 Review

Richard Walker

EA Sports UFC is one of the few EA Sports franchises that gets a nice two year gap between releases, rather than pumping out annual iterations. While that doesn't necessarily mean that this year's UFC game is a groundbreaking leap over its predecessor, it does at least mean you can expect a reliably robust package and an authentic, bone-crunching MMA simulation. EA Sports UFC 3 is just that, and it's a decent enough evolution over UFC 2, building upon what made the last game a worthwhile sequel.

'Real Player Motion' is the obligatory new banner feature this time around, promising even more fluid and responsive fighter motion, and in fairness, there is a noticeable different in the way in which each of UFC 3's pugilists move around the Octagon. The action is immediate and easy to pick up, each fight once again communicating the uncompromising, no-holds barred nature of mixed martial arts, as knuckles and feet slap against bare flesh. You can feel every strike, the impact of every knockout blow.

"What did you just say about my mum?"

Generally speaking, however, UFC 3 is much the same as the previous game in terms of its visual presentation and gameplay, the problem being that EA Canada almost painted itself into a corner with how complete the studio managed to make UFC 2. Where the first EA Sports UFC game was a relatively bare-bones package, the follow-up went big in practically every conceivable area, which as a consequence has left little for UFC 3 to do that hasn't already been done.

So while the added fluidity and what not might be very nice, this new entry in the series doesn't feel like a gigantic stride forward from a gameplay perspective. Career Mode is certainly a lot more involving, though, as you carve out rivalries on your rise to the top of the UFC, putting in the hours at the gym while striving to minimise the physical wear and tear of your chosen fighter. But it's not enough to just train and fight this time, as you also now have a brand and image to cultivate on social media and in public, putting in appearances or live streaming to your fans.

As you gain followers by promoting yourself between your training regimen and UFC events, the hype for your fights will increase, raising your profile and provoking bigger, more formidable rivals to come out of the woodwork looking for a fight. All of this feeds into becoming the 'G.O.A.T.' (Greatest of All Time) in Career Mode, by winning fights and eventually achieving certain major milestones to attain legendary G.O.A.T. Status, and it's a long road to get there.

You could go about putting in all of your allocated time into training, ensuring you're at peak fitness for each match-up, or you could pour the hours into building hype, calling out your opponent on social media and such. Career Mode is a balancing act to become a successful UFC fighter and preferably one with a fan base that people want to see. There's a powerful Create a Fighter suite to build a bespoke contender too, or you can play as any one of the 230-odd UFC fighters from flyweight to heavyweight.

Another new addition to UFC 3 includes a new commentator for the arcadey Knockout Mode, in which you stand toe-to-toe with your opponent and battle to strike one another a number of times to score a KO and win the match. This time around, Snoop Dogg has been drafted in to lend his unique vocal stylings to Knockout Mode, and if this is the mode where you go to play with friends when you're drunk/high or in some sort of other soporific state, Snoop's lackadaisical drawl might make a modicum of sense. Sober, I could barely understand what's being said. For knockabout Knockout Mode fun it just about works, I guess.

"Look at me! I'm Usain Bolt!" No, you're not.

Outside of the standard fight modes, with various custom options and such, there's the new Tournament Mode too, enabling you and a bunch of friends to duke it out in a King of the Hill style tourney, last man standing crowned the winner. With Knockout Mode and Stand & Bang offering uncomplicated brawling, alongside slightly more complicated fare in the Submission Shootout, and UFC 3 has all of the local multiplayer bases well and truly covered, ensuring you have plenty to jump into when you've got mates round.

Ultimate Team fleshes things out again too, with masses of objectives to complete using a line-up of fighters you've unlocked from packs, as well as online bouts with robust matchmaking that gets you into a fight fast. The whole thing is a deep and involving affair if you invest the time and effort required to get into it, certain cards enabling you to assign moves and bonuses to your fighters, to grow and develop them. As far as modes and differing games types are concerned, UFC 3 is full to bursting.

When you put it all together, EA Sports UFC 3 clearly succeeds in being another definitive MMA game, delivering a comprehensive fighting system that's clear and intuitive (for the record, I still hate the ground game, but that's my problem, not the game's), packed to the gills with meaningful, well-put-together modes. Like a flurry of punches and kicks, UFC 3 hits you square in the jaw, getting pretty much everything right with deadly, deliberate accuracy.

EA Sports UFC 3

Brimming with modes, UFC 3 is a massive game. It might only be an incremental improvement over its predecessor, but the gameplay remains stellar and the action is accessible and fun. As far as MMA games go, EA Sports UFC 3 is the G.O.A.T.

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The atmosphere of a real UFC event properly replicated, and a decent enough soundtrack. Solid.


Properly authentic in every department, UFC 3 looks the part, every one of its 200+ fighters given faithful likenesses. Fights are about as close to the real thing as you can get without stepping onto the canvas.


Intuitive, simple and straightforward, but deceptively deep too. UFC 3 gets its simulation MMA fighting dead-on, the physics and fluid movement also helping immeasurably.


Modes coming out of its cauliflowered ears, UFC 3 caters to every one of our face-punching whims, be it local multiplayer modes, online brawling, or the depths of Ultimate Team and Career Mode.


A varied selection of tasks to tackle, UFC 3's achievement list has a good spread, a smattering of grind, a few easier ones to coax you in and some that require you sink the hours in.

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