Measuring EA Sports UFC Against UFC Undisputed 3

2 min

In a few weeks, Electronic Arts will release its first foray into the MMA phenomenon–the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  After trying and failing to exploit the industry without the UFC, with EA Sports MMA, the UFC and EA finally put aside their past differences to collaborate on a brand new MMA gaming experience.  This will be the first UFC game in over two years.  UFC Undisputed 3 was released in February 2012.  The game received rave reviews, and it failed to meet sales expectations.  Still, the game sold over 1.2 million copies.  So let’s take a look at how EA Sports could measure up against UFC Undisputed 3.  To be clear, some of these elements still have a question mark until we actually play the game, so there is a fair amount for EA Sports UFC to discover.

In terms of graphics and character models, it looks like EA Sports UFC will easily surpass UFC Undisputed 3.  The new game was exclusively developed for the PS4 and Xbox One next-gen consoles, so EA Sports was to focus on developing for those systems.  The graphics, visuals, and character models for the game do look spectacular.

Now, let’s talk about the roster size.  For a mixed martial arts fighting game, one of the most important things is the roster.  Well, here is where UFC Undisputed 3 beats EA Sports MMA.  By my count, the initial roster size for UFC Undisputed 3 was still bigger than that of the final roster for EA Sports UFC.  This is before DLC fighters were added to Undisputed.  There were well over 110 fighters on the UFC Undisputed 3 roster, and this included giving select veterans alternate Pride Fighting Championship attire for the game’s Pride FC Mode.  In addition, the bantamweight division has essentially been shafted in EA Sports UFC.  EA Sports UFC only has about nine bantamweights.  This includes Bruce Lee, who is included as a special unlockable character for the game.  While more players can clearly be added later on via DLC, it’s still a little disappointing that the initial roster size for EA Sports UFC will not even surpass UFC Undisputed 3.

Next, let’s look at gameplay modes, and this is where I believe UFC Undisputed 3 was king. Undisputed 3 essentially offered the experience of two games in one with Pride FC modes, where gamers could play in the now-defunct Pride FC organization with their altered style and rules.  This meant you could fight in a ring instead of the Octagon; and you could use knees on the ground and soccer kicks.  Also Career Mode for Undisputed 3 was greatly improved over previous installments.  Career Mode actually allowed players to use current roster fighters!  EA Sports has confirmed for the EA Sports UFC Career Mode, you have to create your own fighters. This is something I never understood.  I’m not really interested in Create-a-Fighter.  I’d rather just play as my favorite fighter in Career Mode.  EA Sports does have the new gameplay mode, The Ultimate Fighter Mode, based on UFC’s staple reality series.  This mode looks interesting, and it appears to be highly complex and interactive.

Now, let’s get into gameplay and controls.  This could be an area where EA Sports UFC could easily surpass the Undisputed franchise.  One highlight of Undisputed 3 was with the game’s striking.  Striking in the Undisputed games usually worked great and was a lot of fun.  Undisputed 3 also added a lot of interesting features to the striking aspect of the game.  However, the grappling and submission area of the fighting in the Undisputed franchise always left something to be desired.  UFC Undisputed 3 did alter the grappling system by making the submission attempts a type of mini-game in order to finish them.  Assuming EA Sports UFC will play similarly to their EA Sports MMA controls, I actually preferred the ladder’s grappling system.  So, the Undisputed games had the better striking controls and gameplay, but EA Sports MMA had the better grappling.  If EA Sports UFC carries over the strong grappling system and make improvements to the impact and strength of the striking, they could easily surpass Undisputed 3.

EA Sports UFC will hit the shelves on June 17 for the Xbox One and PS4.  Regardless of any issues, it’s exciting that a UFC game is finally being released under the EA Sports label.  I avidly await to check out the results.

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  1. Great analysis! Do you guys have any news about Event mode at EA Sports UFC?

    Event mode of UFC Undisputed 3 was one of my favorite hobbies and it was pretty fun! I’ve heard that they might not include it in EA Sports UFC…

    1. Thanks for your comments. All the main modes I’ve heard about are new The Ultimate Fighter Mode and Career Mode, using your Create-a-Fighter character. Obviously there will be exhibition modes as well. Now there could be an event mode, but I don’t think they’ve announced it yet. One thing they are advertising is the “Real Time Exertion System” where in-fight characters models will change their look similar to how fights work in real life. I guess this refers to things like cuts, bruises, sweatier skin, etc.

  2. Very interesting article and great analysis. I’ve always assumed the roster size would start small as it allows EA to make as much money off DLC’s as possible. I’m guessing the game will sell well but i would assume it won’t be anywhere near as profitable as their other sports franchises even with a vast number DLC downloads. However UFC fans (myself included) are a loyal and passionate fan base and will likely download whatever content they produce. My major concern for this game is the capabilities of the servers to handle the online traffic in a game that will no doubt be very quick, complex and having a range of movements. EA have improved their online servers throughout the Fight Night series but from personal experience their servers often struggle with popular sports games. For me that could be the make or break for them in terms of continued traffic and sustained interest.

  3. Very excited for the game, but hope they add a new batch of fighters ASAP. No TJ Dillishaw, Matt Brown or even Tyron Woodley is not good. You need all the current champions at least. Can’t wait for the game though. Good article

    1. Well in their defense, TJ Dillashaw just won the title and the game comes out in less than three weeks. However, Dillashaw was already ranked in the top 5 bantamweights for a while, and as I pointed out, very few bantamweights offered for the initial roster. But yeah, Matt Brown should’ve definitely been in there at the very least.

  4. Just played the demo on ps4. I have to say the moves were effortless. It really was easy until you get on the ground. I am still trying to figure out how to get out of a submission. The kicks and strikes are incredible. The character models look good. It is addictive. I will be playing this a lot. I used to play fight night a lot. I am a ufc guy but undisputed didn’t hold my attention. I preorder the game for bruce lee as well.

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