Supremacy MMA Review
Meet Supremacy MMA, the Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi of the MMA video game world. This game is so frustrating that ***edit: the analogy was so extreme and offensive that it had to be edited out; enjoy***, but no; this game was meant to be the fast-paced arcade alternative to the UFC games. You can guess how it ended up by the tone of my previous sentence.
Ground and pound gets a whole new meaning...GIGGITY!
Supremacy uses some real MMA fighters and some fighters with fake names that are modeled after real MMA fighters. One of the big draws with this game was supposed to be the addition of female fighters—there's two. You heard me, a whopping two female fighters are available for play. It's not that big of a deal though, because the character models are pretty bland. I would describe the art style as Jersey Shore meets Sons of Anarchy, but with Xbox graphics. It's like the developer, Kung Fu Factory, wanted this game to only appeal to muscled-up juice-heads in extra small v-necks—complete with obnoxious tats and sh*t-eating grins. The one nice things I can say about the visuals is that the fighters do bleed and bruise—so take from that what you will.
Lost cause? Really? I didn't know Ronnie from Jersey Shore was into MMA.
Now, I wouldn't care about the graphics so much if the gameplay was solid, but it isn't. There are multiple fighting styles, including boxing, kick boxing, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to name a few. It doesn't matter which style you are fighting as, though. The only thing that will do any damage to your opponent is taking them down to the mat to either use submissions or ground-and-pound. Punching and kicking will just waste your time, as it deals what seems like no damage to your opponent. You know what will happen when you try to be a striker? You'll get countered—often. When that happens, you can say good bye to big chunks of your health bar.
If you try countering, it's not nearly as easy. Your timing has to be precise, but there is a slight delay on the button press and animation. Also, there's four different buttons used for four different types of counters, not to mention whether it's a counter to the body or head. Also, you wait for the corresponding button to flash in the corner of the screen to know when to counter and what button to press. To put it simply, it doesn't work. The game also utilizes a body damage system where you can focus damage to specific parts of the body, like the head or legs. If you wear out their legs enough, you could potentially end the match by breaking their knee.
The sad thing about all of this is that I understand what the game was trying to do. It seems like the game was designed for fans of MMA fighting that doesn't like the more realistic approach of the UFC series. So, they tried to offer a fast-paced, MMA fighter that uses quick strikes, counters (like in DOA), and grapple moves. All of this is tied to a health bar—which takes the surprise out of MMA fights. Supremacy is a cornucopia of ideas from other fighting games with no structure, and the structure it does have is bad.
One last gripe about the controls—when you play the game, you are going to think that you can only move forward in back. I played through two matches until I realized the bumpers have your fighter strafe, which made it even harder to fight. I would have rather not been able to rotate and have this game a strict 2-D fighter. Instead, it tries to be UFC, Masters of Teräs Käsi, and Dead or Alive together.
There's a story mode, where you can take each fighter through a personalized story that stresses how “underground” this fighting is. It's all underground, gritty, hard-knock life storylines. Player progression is accomplished by winning fights, completing challenges for each fighting style, and going through the story. You don't have to play the story to make a fighter better or unlock that fighter's accessories. In any mode you play, your fights and progress will be tracked for that fighter. So, if you want multiple fighters to be good, you need to do the same stuff with each fighter. It's tedious, and it's not a true improve-your-fighter system.
The sounds are what you would expect from any mediocre fighting game. You have your typical boxing sounds, and the voice-acting in story mode could be worse. The thing that absolutely drove me nuts and pushed me over the edge was the generic, lyric-less, soft-heavy metal. That's right, it sounds like royalty-free heavy metal by a wedding band that thinks this is what heavy metal sounds like. This, combined with mind-numbing controls, pushed me over the edge.
Mastery of the ground game is key.
Multiplayer is what you'd expect, and if you want to suffer through a match with someone else from a different locale, you can take the fight online. Play a ranked match and you can work your way up the leaderboards. Other game options include a battle royale, and my personal favorite, survival ladder. In this mode, you go through a series of fighters and take any damage you received from previous fights into your next. I recommend you make use of the training gym mode, where you can practice moves and combos, and get your timing down for counters and parries.
I can see where this game wanted to go. At least, I hope my vision of what this game could've been is where they wanted to go. There is a place in the fighting game market for an arcade-style MMA game. I think more stylized, fast-paced striking combos, and a more streamlined countering system would've made this game a lot better. As it stands now, there's no sense in utilizing different fighting styles, and your ears will bleed from the bad music. I hope they keep the title and progress it further, because it could be something great, but Supremacy MMA is not yet ready to step into the octagon.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ