UFC 3 Striking Breakdown

Since being officially announced, UFC 3 has been marketed as rebuilt from the ground up using Real Player Motion technology. Now, thanks to the lead gameplay engineer, Geoff Harrower, we have some insight on what that means.

UFC 3 Striking with Real Player Motion

EA Sports has rebuilt and revamped the standing game for UFC 3. Harrower’s breakdown of the standing game consists of six overarching categories:

  • Damage System
  • Stamina System
  • Combinations
  • Stopping Power and Frame Advantage
  • Range Management
  • Defense

These six categories culminate into the new experience players will get in the upcoming game.

Damage System

As with all combat games, strikes deal damage. In UFC 3, Harrower notes that strikes will do significantly more damage than they did previously. In addition, to offset the new modifiers, every action comes with real risk. The new vulnerability system requires you to assess and understand the basics of attack and strategy within the octagon. Of course, that’s if you want to be successful.

The Basics

Just as before, fighters can target three areas to attack: the head, body and legs. Experienced fighters will know that each region has unique properties. Each property comes with a unique advantage for being targeted. Understanding these advantages is the baseline for any effective strategy and mastering the standing game.

First, each region shares the ability to cause a knockdown when attacked. Upon attack, a damage meter displays for each region. Upon depletion of that meter, you will cause a knockdown. The severity of the knockdown depends on the damage dealt and the relative health of your opponent.

UFC 3 Active KnockdownKnockdowns have four levels.

  • Active: The Active Knockdown is the least severe and new to UFC 3. In an Active Knockdown, the affected fighter is stunned enough to lose footing and fall. However, they will automatically recover quickly.
  • Alert: Following Active is the Alert Knockdown. Here, a fighter will fall like before, but almost immediately enter a defensive ground position. A follow-up attack to a fighter in an Alert Knockdown state will immediately cause the attacker to enter into their guard.
  • Knockdown: The third level is simply referred to as Knockdown. This state is common for those who look for ground-and-pound. In this state, the fighter falls and does not recover nor do they enter into a defensive position. This leaves them in a vulnerable state allowing the opponent to attack with ground-and-pound. In addition, this also leaves them open to the new finish-the-fight submissions.
  • Knockout: Lastly, the fourth level is Knockout. This is pretty self-explanatory. Hit someone hard enough and you knock them out and win the fight.

Achieving levels of Knockdown depends on the damage dealt and the relative health of your opponent. The damage needed to achieve these various levels depends on the Fighter’s Chin.

UFC 3 Fighter’s Chin

New to the series is an undisclosed meter that represents the Fighter’s Chin rating. This meter gauges the overall health of the fighter throughout the bout. Each Knockdown takes down the meter making it easier for a Knockdown or Knockout.

Stun Meter

This year also introduces a new stun meter. It is hidden from the player and gauges the short term damage. This is reflected as a stun value. The depletion of this meter will change the severity of a knockdown.

Each strike landed fills the meter; if it reaches a certain threshold your opponent will fall. The meter will deplete quickly. However, each knockdown lowers the threshold for a follow-up knockdown. In addition, the opponent will suffer from debuffs making it harder for them to fight or defend and susceptible to a knockout.

Vulnerability

Understanding vulnerabilities is key to a quick knockout. Damage modifiers up to six times can be applied to a strike landed on a vulnerable region. Like Knockdowns, vulnerability has stages.

  • Standing Still: Naturally when standing still, a fighter is vulnerable on their open side where the liver is. Here, you can land strikes for boosted damage.
  • Moving: Moving tends to make the head, body and legs vulnerable as movements require constant readjustment of your defense.
  • Side-to-Side: Strafing leaves you vulnerable in the direction of movement. One would call this walking right into it. Harrower uses the example of throwing a punch with your rear right hand leaving you exposed on the left side of your head as your body moves with the action.

Other positions of vulnerability include while ducking, kicking, blocking and general leg attacks. Each has its detraction leaving you open to attack.

Health & Recovery

The targetable regions of the fighter have unique health properties that require their own individual strategies to take down. Some regions have higher health while others regenerate quicker.

Stamina System

In UFC 3, stamina will affect nearly all aspects of the fight. Every action taken will come at a stamina cost. Continuing to fight with little to no stamina will drain your long term stamina. This negates the hope for a full recharge. Additionally, stamina affects the amount of damage thrown. Missing or having a strike evade will cost you dearly.

However, some actions like straight punches and hooks have a built stamina floor. This means they are only capable of draining stamina to a certain level. On the contrary, some actions have no floor and can leave you fatigued and breathless. As long-term stamina drops so do the stamina floors making management of long-term stamina vital in a fight.

Based on endurance ratings, fighters have reserve stamina they can draw from between rounds. Spend too much early and you won’t be able to last in the later rounds.

Stopping Power and Frame Advantage

Another new concept to UFC 3 is strike stopping power. Essentially what you have is a complex game of Paper, Rock, Scissors. The various strikes in the game have a stopping power modifier that either nullifies, amplifies or coincides with each other. This opens opportunities for fighters to stop aggressive fighters’ movement with counter actions. Furthermore, two fighters throwing the same head punch or other combination can cause double knockdowns and stuns.

UFC 3 introduces new frame advantages for all strikes. Every strike’s risk is evaluated. Depending on their risk level, attempting certain strikes can leave you open to punishment while some have little to no risk at all. Alternatively, keeping safe means you’ll do less damage while with high risk comes high reward. These frames come as debuffs or cooldowns before you can commit to another action.

Combinations

Like the rest of the standing game, combinations have undergone significant change. This year, combos are no longer generic strikes. They will be unique to each fighter depending on their proficiency and available strikes. UFC 3 also adds the ability to capitalize on your own missed strikes in a combination. Miss a roundhouse kick to the head? Follow it up with a spinning back fist and keep going. Combos are most effective when thrown at full stamina and if mastered are an effective counter-measurement to the frame advantage.

Range Management

In UFC 3, range management is just that, managing the effective range of your attacks. Fighters will need to be aware of five total ranges: elbow, punch, kicking, step kicking and out of range. These are self-explanatory as each implies the designated range for the type of attack being thrown. The exception being Out of Range, meaning nothing will be thrown effectively here.

Attacking within the effective range maximizes the amount of possible damage dealt. Depending on the attack, some will be optimal by making contact at the extent of their range. A good example is a thrust or front kick.

This new variable will also balance the fight between varying reaches. A fighter with longer reach will have more trouble landing certain attacks if the shorter man closes the gap in his own favor.

Defense

Changes Were Made

Parries are gone and the controls have been changed. Blocking is now the main the line of defense for any fighter. There is still high and low but now certain attacks have a bleed through modifier. Heavies more risky attacks now have some damage that bleeds through the defense even if blocked effectively. Also, this time around, blocks can be broken. Keep the opponent guessing by alternating between right and left and you’ll see a strike sneaks past and lands.

Slipping

This year slipping has been rigged to the Right Thumbstick. This allows to move while slipping opening up new opportunities during the fight. You’ll be able to slip in all four directions in UFC 3. Additionally, fighters can queue a slip during a combination to open up their own strategy and offense.

Lunges

Lunges will similarly to slips. You’ll be able to evade strikes as well as mitigate some damage received. However, given their nature, these will cost stamina. They also come in three different types: basic, advanced and signature.

Each lunge behaves differently then the last and have varying properties. You’ll need to understand these in order to use them properly. Basic and advanced separately are used to evade certain styles of attacks. For example, a basic lunge cannot evade a leg kick.

Signature lunge are unique and behave so for each fighter. Additionally, not every fighter wil have one. they are optimal for setting and chaining together nasty combos specific to that fighter.

Wrapping it Up

Harrower notes that while it is a lot, it’s not everything. There will still be lots to explore. He suggests new and seasoned fighters make use of the practice mode. It’ll be good habit to practice the new techniques in a safe no stakes environment. You can read through Harrower’s in-depth guide to get a grasp of all the fine details as well. Be sure to check out the beta as well come November 27.

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Kevin Finley
Kevin Finley currently lives in North Hollywood, California where he juggles becoming a pro wrestler and game writer. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Game Art and specializes in narrative design. Although an avid player of Role-playing games Kevin regularly mixes it up in first person shooters and sports titles. Kevin is no stranger to sports, cooking, debating and when all else is unavailable a good book.