Aside from the UFC Undisputed series, there are few games rightfully depicting the sport of MMA fighting. Competing against a brand name is probably the reason behind the lack of bare-knuckled brawlers out on the market. As the Madden football games can attest to, a large budget and a well-known reputation can go a long way in forming the strengths of a sports title. UFC Undisputed has the licensed fighters and venues that are to be expected from a product with the UFC logo slapped on it; Supremacy MMA doesn’t however, and it relies much more on an arcade approach to the blood-soaked combat going on in the ring.
Supremacy MMA does have a list of renowned fighters in its roster as well as female competitors, but there are still too few overall to give the game full shelf life. Going through the story mode with each character doesn’t take too long and is completely worthless for any real entertainment factor. Horrendous dialogue matched by equally painful voice-acting makes cutscenes a chore to watch. Nothing that happens in the Supremacy Story mode is believable or presented in a stylish manner aside from the testosterone-induced bouts of yelling and screaming that occur on a regular basis. It does take a while to get used to the fact women are featured in the game let alone interested in the sport of MMA to begin with.
As stated before Supremacy MMA does not take the route of technical strategy required to win a proper fight. Instead, it’s all about brutality and force where you wear down opponents’ limbs until you can effectively knock them out. It’s like a round of Mortal Kombat with health bars being depleted to determine who wins and who gets a fatality to the upper torso area. Finishing moves in Supremacy MMA are relegated to two major components that make the actual fighting in a match almost supplementary in design.
Takedowns and submissions are way too easy for winning fights quickly, disregarding any punches or kicks thrown while standing. The problem is primarily because of the reversal system and its one-button ability to pull off when an opponent attempts to fight back. Submissions in particular, are a simple test of dexterity with the analog stick that can end a battle before the clock strikes a full sixty seconds. This lack of realism diminishes the view of MMA fighting and its subtleties for a stripped-down linear style that forgets all the fine details that are included in the sport.
The controls are a misfire too, unresponsive and slow at the worst times when you need speed and sharp-witted tactics as an alternative. Once you have locked in a jab combo your fighter is open for a counter or a low kick at any time. Being defenseless when you clearly shouldn’t be is a big factor in the way Supremacy MMA plays.
There are different styles of fighters included here, like wrestlers and kickboxers, but once again the opposite methods aren’t deemed important when a ground-pound is overly successful. A grappler and a striker have completely diverse moves and takedowns, but can resort to cheap tactits at any time for an easy win. With proper play-testing this could have been avoided and balanced correctly, allowing Supremacy MMA to be a contender in the ring. The controls and the gameplay however, hold it back from doing so.
What the game does have a heavy emphasis on and did an excellent job of depicting is the violence that occurs in the world of MMA. While the graphics themselves aren’t great and have a muddy bland appearance taken as a whole, the body damage for the fighters is spectacular. Bruises swell, cuts dig deep and blood pours down the fighters in a horrifying way that makes each bone-crushing punch that more satisfying. The animation for each knock-out is especially effective at portraying the violent nature of each fighter and the harm they are dishing out.
At full price it’s not easy recommending Supremacy MMA, even to loyal fans of the sport. It’s a failed representation of MMA and why it’s so popular in today’s society. A lack of content and a distinct personality, it never achieves the height of the sport it’s trying to faithfully illustrate aside from the visual splendor of the violence associated with it. More fighters, wider customization options, a proper progression meter, finely-tuned controls and more expansive online play would help significantly if a sequel was ever conceived.
As a small budgeted game it does the job on a basic level, but if you can’t compete with the big boys and offer something unique then what’s the point? Supremacy MMA was better off calling itself Fight Club and acquiring the likenesses of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, now that would’ve been a more fitting name and comparison.
This review is based on a copy of the game which we received for review purposes.