On paper, I'm the target audience for Supremacy MMA. I found the controls of UFC Undisputed 2011 too complicated and cumbersome, so Supremacy MMA's simplified arcade feel should suit me perfectly. I want to bloody faces and break limbs, so the brutality of Supremacy MMA should satisfy. But in practice, Supremacy MMA bores me. From its stiff animations to its slow movements to its shallow stories, Supremacy MMA never finds itself fit for the main event.
Developer 505 Games and Supremacy MMA thumb their bloodied noses at the MMA simulations THQ and EA have put out in years past. Here, the dozen fighters have a meter to fill and use for super-attacks, concrete for mats, and health bars to monitor. You're brawling until one person runs out of health and falls to a broken knee or whatever would break based on the last hit.
Supremacy MMA Kills a Man
Supremacy MMA succeeds in its brutality. Faces bruise and swell as fists rain down on them, and blood cakes the mat as fights get heated. I gasped at Knockout animations where brawlers grabbed their ribs and collapsed to their knees.
But my excitement for this game stops at the brutish spectacle. Animations are stiff and clunky. The game features short stories for most of its fighters, but laughable voice acting and nonsensical twists make up the tales. Online consists of one-on-one matches, but these run poorly and the latency kills the competitive vibe.
How the game controls, though, ranks as Supremacy MMA's biggest disappointment. Being billed as an arcade/fighting game take on MMA, Supremacy MMA should've delivered quick and responsive punches, kicks and grapples. It doesn't. Matches are a sluggish affair. Tap a button, wait for the punch to be thrown. Grapple, but wait for the opponent to have a chance to reverse before choosing your move. The game feels mechanical and rigid, and I felt like a spectator more than a fighter -- especially as different moves have different reversals. All I wanted to do was pull off a blood-inducing maneuver, but instead I had to guess the incoming attack and pick the right button to hit at the right time. Too bad if I was in the middle of an attack.
The ground game illustrates a number of Supremacy MMA's flaws. Once I discovered that standing punches and kicks do little damage compared to grapples, I locked up and tossed opponents to the mat as quickly as I could. From there, I'd get on top of them and pound the attack button -- but I wouldn't watch the bloody scene unfold. Instead, I watched my health meter. Every so often, I'd hear my punches stop and this meant the reverse button was about to flash. Hit it, and I could continue to wail on the fallen fighter like a big brother beating his pinned down sibling. I won most of my story matches this way as well as the few online matches that ran decently.
This points out another issue -- I didn't change my attack plan when I changed my fighter. Sure sometimes the class of kickboxer or wrestler meant my attacks looked different, but it was still about getting them into a grapple move and then the ground. Is Malaipet's strategy really the same as Jens Pulver's?