A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Promotes dedication to hard work, planning to defeat an opponent, training in several martial arts to improve yourself, but focus on brutality, enjoying injuring, knocking out others overshadows the good.
Positive Role Models
Showcases male, female fighters from around the world in several weight classes, but revels in aggression, desire to dominate others, literally beating opponents into submission.
Ease of Play
Multiple difficulty levels. Easy is a bit too easy up to a point, while other levels are very challenging. Lots of tutorials, skill challenges to teach basics, but game relies on some on-screen cues that never show up; blocks can still be hit or miss even when timed.
Violence & Scariness
Fighters punch, kick, knee, elbow, grapple each other in matches. Bruises quickly form, noses are often broken, cuts open, blood flows freely. Fighters frequently knocked unconscious; camera angles highlight brutal strikes with slow-motion footage, zooms to capture moment of impact.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ring girls present wearing halter tops, very short shorts; female fighters wear tight, short athletic wear.
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Song lyrics contain "bitch," "s--t." Commentary from Snoop Dogg also contains such terms, plus "ass" and "damn" are frequently used.
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Products & Purchases
In-game advertising for UFC, Harley Davidson, Toyota, Reebok, more; microtransactions frequently promoted for extra fighters. Ultimate Team packs to be purchased for extras.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Song lyrics reference drugs, drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that EA Sports UFC 3 is the latest installment in the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting franchise from EA Sports, which tries to accurately simulate the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship league. Male and female fighters of varying weight classes, abilities, and training step into the ring and battle each other with their fists, knees, elbows, and feet to see who will be the first to force a submission or knockout. Action in the real sport is brutal, and that's accurately modeled, as cuts open easily, bruises form quickly, and noses are frequently broken with crushing strikes, which the camera focuses on with zooms and slow-motion highlights. Blood often splatters fighters, flies through the air with each hit, and lands on the mat. Lyrics in the game's soundtrack frequently have drinking and drug references, and aren't censored. Language includes "bitch," "ass," "damn," and "s--t," both in songs and from guest commentator Snoop Dogg. There's also lots of in-game advertising on the rings and the fighters themselves, ranging from Harley Davidson to Toyota to Reebok. Microtransactions are also promoted for new fighters as well as for extra packs for the UFC Ultimate Team mode. Finally, while ring girls wear halter tops and short shorts, and female fighters wear tight athletic wear, these are not overly focused on in the gameplay.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of this brutal, technical sport will find an amazingly accurate simulation of MMA brawling here, but the move complexity and finicky controls can be a steep climb for newcomers. UFC 3 tries to bring newcomers into the octagon with a number of training videos and challenges to introduce concepts of grappling, striking, submission holds, and fight mechanics. These fundamentals are somewhat reinforced in the main career mode, where players spend time between fights sparring with training partners, learning new moves from coaches, and promoting their upcoming fights. In fact, promoting fights and making appearances are vital if you want to headline fights or be recognized as a legitimate contender; failing to do so cuts into your popularity and your paycheck. Striking the balance between being loved by fans and prepping for fights can be tricky, because while you can be incredibly popular, there's always the possibility that your opponent is faster, better, stronger, or more skilled than you. This adds an interesting bit of tension in your training camps: Will the clues you receive during sparring be that edge you need to beat your opponent, or will it be meaningless when the bell has rung and the fight is on?
In some ways, the better opponent issue is one of the bigger problems of UFC 3. Regardless of what difficulty level you set or how good a fighter you are, there's an opponent that will suddenly step up whose stats are vastly more powerful than your athlete, whether that's in a game mode or in online play. That not only turns surviving a fight into a battle governed by luck instead of skill, it makes the ranking and contender system seem fickle and at times even malicious, as if it's trying to humble the player. Another issue that pops up is that some controls can seem to not work in the midst of battle. You can time a block perfectly and have full stamina, but the block won't work at all. You can try to focus on indicators of where a fighter may try to move to escape a grapple hold, but these indicators don't always pop up, resulting in you flailing on the thumbstick to maintain an advantage. It's a double-edged sword -- it forces players to become more adjusted to and comfortable with various moves and counters, and more strategic in their fights, but it could frustrate newcomers who are just getting used to the game and can't understand why things aren't working as expected. That's unfortunate, because UFC 3 is an incredibly deep game, probably the best version of the sport yet released. But if you're not willing to put in the hours to understand its mechanics, or unwilling to climb its steep learning curve (which will dismiss some players), you won't enjoy this round in the octagon.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.