Launching in 2009, THQ’s UFC Undisputed arrived to a flurry of positive reviews, becoming the forerunner of an MMA resurgence in gaming. However, with the mainstream series on hiatus until January 2012, there’s been an opening for other contenders to step into the ring; 505 Games’ Supremacy MMA being the latest entrant. So, is Kung Fu Factory’s visceral focus on unsanctioned moves and the game’s underground vibe a genuine innovation for the reinvigorated sub-genre, or is Supremacy MMA merely a stop gap, an opportunistic yet frail attempt to draw in its own fanbase in the advent of Undisputed 3?
Each fighter can be levelled up by earning XP in fights to unlock new attires. XP can also be sourced from completing specific in-game tasks.
Unlike UFC, Supremacy focuses on single-lane combat similar to your average arcade fighter, allowing players to duck towards or away from the central camera. Aside from ducking movement is restricted to stepping forwards and backwards. Breaking the conventions of modern MMA titles Supremacy also makes use of health bars, dropping the sense of unpredictability most players have become accustomed to.
With that said, players can still fight tactically; continually delivering damage to a certain region of your opponent’s body will cause it to bruise and fracture. However, a sense of authenticity is lost in this mechanic with both arms or legs degrading simultaneously even if you have only taken damage in just the right or left limb.
All standing attacks, whether strikes or grapples, have three levels of elevation controlled by the position of your analog stick, which can also be modified using the stepping motion. It’s simple enough to master, though using the same stick to control your blocking stance proves finicky from time to time, forcing players to rely on Supremacy’s counter system. Every time an opposing fighter motions into a grapple, kick or punch, an on-screen prompt appears signifying when to counter. It would be a great mechanic if not for minuscule amount of time you have to react.
If there is one thing gamers complain about the most in MMA titles, it’s the ground game – something which has also been simplified in Supremacy. Though each ground encounter will inevitably end in both players hammering away at their gamepads in a button-bashing frenzy, transferring from grapple to grapple is easy whether you’re reigning down blows or the one about to taking a beating.
It's hard to ignore the constant stuttering as the frame rate drops often. For some reason, being disconnected from the net also causes singleplayer matches to crash.
One interesting aspect of Supremacy MMA is that it also includes female fighters. However, they feature to such a limited extent they’re hardly worth mentioning. With only Felice Herrig and Michele Guitierrez available, each having a story mode lasting just two fights, it’s difficult to fathom why Kung Fu Factory would implement such a lazy representation of female fighters after making it a key selling point.
In terms of brutality, its hard to place Supremacy MMA against existing games in the genre. Sure, there is an excessive amount of blood and illegal moves (including head stamps) but the visual feedback isn’t as visceral as it needs to be, nor is the use of rumble. There may be plausible degree of detail to the individual character models, but Supremacy really isn’t doing anything new.
- Easy to harness and enjoyable.
- Clinch/Ground controls have also been simplified
- Lacklustre multiplayer.
- A number of fighters feel identical.
- Female fighters barely get a look in.
- In dire need of a comprehensive single player career.
- Some gameplay/control aspects need refining.
- Not as brutal as some made it out to be.
- After 10 minutes, you’ve seen everything the game has to offer.