Sep 29, 2011

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Supremacy MMA Review

Supremacy MMA Review

Since Supremacy MMA was first announced, fans of both the sport of MMA and fighting games immediately reacted with disgust.  Depicting an ugly and vicious world of broken bones and blood-soaked mats, MMA fans were quick to dismiss the game as an abomination.  The video game community seemed to also turn their heads at a game that looked to be a shallow attempt at creating a “mature” MMA game to rival EA Sports MMA and UFC Undisputed.  With no new MMA games releasing this year, is Supremacy MMA worth your hard-earned cash?

Supremacy MMA was developed by 505 games of Backbreaker fame, which created a more brutal take on football.  Though no one is really expecting Backbreaker to be a direct competitor to the Madden franchise, it’s nice to see a different take on the sport, and no one can deny how satisfying the brutal hits are.  Brutal hardly scratches the surface with how gruesome the action is in Supremacy MMA, however.  From the opening bell, each fighter’s strikes leave marks as if they were just beaten with a baseball bat, and blood quickly splatters across the arena.  UFC Undisputed and EA Sports MMA both show a level of realism and don’t hide the injuries that can happen in these fights, but Supremacy MMA nears levels of ridiculousness in terms of violence.  Bones break, bodies turn black and blue nearly instantly, and 505 Games lavishes in its more “hardcore” take on the sport.  Supremacy MMA was designed to show a more underground-based fighting world and in that regard, they definitely succeeded.

The more adult feel spills over into each fighter’s story mode as well as in the foul language and questionable content supplied throughout.  The stories are interesting enough, although incredibly cliched.  As each fighter progresses, their journey takes them to different locales such as Thailand or Brazil, each with their own unique venues.  The variety of each location is nice, and though it has no bearing on the rules or even boundaries, it was nice to see different areas besides the ring or cage like the other MMA games.  The voice acting and script are pretty bad, with many of the characters sounding dry and ridiculously stereotypical.  The Russian wrestler sounds like a machine built to kill, while many of the Asian fighters cover other cliches like honor and revenge.  Even worse is the attempt at including female fighters, with their stories revolving around both fighters fighting each other a couple of times.  That’s right, each of the two female fighters only fight each other in their incredibly short stories.  This is inexcusable, because the male characters are comprised of mostly fictional characters, so the same could have been easily done for the women.  A simple re-skinning of the male rosters with female bodies would have sufficed, but as it is, the inclusion of female fighters is laughable at best.

As I pointed out above, the roster for this game is tiny, with just about a dozen fighters to choose from.  This is understandable given that the developers were looking for more of a traditional fighting game more akin to Virtua Fighter as opposed to other MMA games, with each fighter having their own unique move-set and feel.  Unfortunately, the effort is not only unpolished, but downright lazy, in my opinion.  505 Games stated that they wanted each character to focus on a specific style that felt different from the rest, but besides some different strikes, each controls and moves virtually the same.  Sure, each fighter kicks and punches like their respective martial arts, but the sad truth is that besides incredibly minor strength increases, they seem to feel the same throughout.  Some characters have awesome slams and grapples, but the rate of damage makes no sense in this game.  I can lift a character over my head and slam them on their neck (which is awesome, by the way), yet it does the exact same damage as someone lightly taking me down by one leg?  To make matters worse, the ground game is horrendous, with the same animations repeated over and over, as are the mini-games.  Transitions aren’t smooth, the striking game is flawed, and the submissions are overly simplistic.

Furthermore, the button layout isn’t intuitive and feels as if it is trapped in the last generation of consoles.  Two face buttons are devoted to striking, while the others are for grappling and parrying.  The parry button is also used to counter takedowns, some grapples, and other miscellaneous moves, but the timing is strange and often too simple.  Parrying strikes can be quite tough, but alternatively, grapples and transitions are far too simple; added with the sometimes sloppy animations, this system creates never-ending cycles of the same counters over and over.  Though the game may sound easy, the AI is relentless in countering and imposing his will on you.  This resulted in my being forced to repeat the same technique (takedown, full mount, strike till KO) about every other match, which added to my ever-growing disgust with the game.  There is a slight satisfaction similar to the one found when KO’ing someone in Fight Night, but the slow-mo wasn’t used well and neared comical reactions given the right situations.  Overall, the fight system is shallow and unpolished.

The multiplayer is much of the same, though playing through ranked matches online increases each individual fighter’s levels.  Playing through the story modes or even quick fights against the computer also increase your level, which unlocks different outfits that are actually well put together.  This aesthetic is nice, but in no way makes up for the lackluster gameplay throughout.  It was tough to learn a lot of the mechanics, because the game so poorly explains its controls that you’re forced to have to learn them on the fly while you’re quickly getting KO’d by the AI.  505 managed to put in a tutorial mode, but it’s nothing more then a practice area with different tips given every minute or so.

Supremacy MMA does a decent amount of little things right, like the unlockables, different arenas, and some entertaining (while admittedly stupid) stories for each character.  This doesn’t change the fact that the system is a mess, and would be hard to recommend even if it were a downloadable title.  Wait until UFC Undisputed 3 releases early next year, or if you need your MMA fix now, pick up UFC Undisputed 2009 or EA Sports MMA instead

Supremacy MMA
Platform: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3
Genre: Fighting
Release Date: 09/15/2011
Developer: Kung Fu Factory
Publisher: 505 Games
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
MSRP: $59.99