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Here is where you’ll spend a great deal of your time playing offline trying to hone your skills. You can pick either UFC or Pride rules, a weight class, the number of rounds, and adjust difficulty settings to your liking. You can learn a lot about the individual fighters and how they control, and put some time into learning strategies for fights. Since you can adjust the difficulty settings after every individual fight, you can work your way from “Beginner” to “Advanced” in just a few days with enough diligence.
While exhibition is a great place to learn how to play, Career is where you’ll want to put those skills to the test when not playing online. You can either create a fighter, or choose any of the existing fighters on the UFC roster to take from the minor league World Fighting Championship to the UFC, and even get invited to special Pride events. You’ll build up a character from nothing by training, and learn new techniques from five of the real life fight camps many UFC fighters use. Once you decide on a difficulty setting, you’re locked in for the duration of your career (50 fights), so be sure to get in some practice in Exhibition to learn what difficulty provides you with a challenge without being absolutely crushing.
Title mode is a fun little game type where you pick a fighter in a particular weight class, and try to take them up the contender ladder to win the UFC championship. You can finish the mode in anywhere from 6-8 fights, and winning the belt unlocks Title Defense mode. In the Title mode, you can only lose four times before having to start over with another fighter. However, any fighter you do complete Title mode with will be unlocked for use in Title Defense.
Where Title mode is a rank climbing challenge that only lasts a few fights, Title Defense has you running through a gauntlet of opponents who want your belt. You can only lose once, and the mode’s difficulty increases every few fights. When you first start, you’ll be facing off against opponents on “Beginner,” but by the time you reach your 25th fight, you’ll be battling against “Advanced” and even “Expert” level computer competition. You can leave the mode at any time, and resume your progress later, but you can only have one Title Defense save file at a time.
If you’re having a few friends over, the best way to determine whom the best UFC Undisputed 3 player is by having a tournament. You can choose UFC or Pride rule sets, and can have a 4, 8, or 16 player tournament. You have to commit to a weight class, but damage taken does carry over from fight to fight. Fighters will heal a little bit between bouts, but the longer the tournament, the more damage the final two fighters will have to overcome. This is also the only way to set up a multiplayer Pride Grand Prix-style event.
Recreating some of the most memorable fights in UFC and Pride history, Ultimate Fights mode puts you in the shoes of the two fighters as you try to complete a series of tasks that will either change the course of the fight, or recreate it as close to the actual fight as possible. Each fighter’s tasks have a different difficulty rating, though you can play the fights on any actual difficulty setting you want. Once you start a fight, you’ll see a task pop up on the bottom of your screen. You have a limited amount of time to complete it before the game introduces a new task, and most fights have almost a dozen different tasks for you to pull off. Completing all the tasks for any given fight will unlock special videos showcasing highlights from the real event, and are a worthwhile prize for putting in the time and effort.
While Tournament mode allows you to set up a single bracketed event for one weight class, Event mode lets you create an entire pay-per-view or Fight Night event. You can arrange to have title fights and regular fights across different weight classes, all with the glitz and glam of an actual UFC or Pride show. There is an option in the online menu to download events as well. THQ and Yuke’s will occasionally create actual PPV cards for you to download in time for the real event.
Once you think you’ve got the chops to test your mettle against the best of the best, it’s time to take your skills online. Exhibition is the only real fighting mode available, and again, you can pick to play with either UFC or Pride rules. You’ll also be able to join online Fight Camps. You can spar with other friends in the Fight Camp, and build up your camp’s status by earning wins online. There’s no real benefits or detriments to joining or not joining a camp. It’s just a nice bonus for friends who want to band together online despite the lack of co-operative play.
If you have a created fighter that you want to upload for the rest of the community to download, you can do that online as well. You can also upload highlight reels you’ve created of your best fights. Likewise, you can download other players’ creations and reels if you feel like it.