As a huge wrestling fan, mixed martial arts and organizations such as the UFC have always appealed to me. The worlds are pretty closely linked (see Brock Lesnar in WWE 12), but I've never really been a fan of the UFC video games because, often, they're a little too complex to pick-up and play. Along came 505 Games, and they claimed to have an answer to this problem with a game called Supremacy MMA.
Supremacy MMA is, for the most part, the over-the-top and arcade-like fighting game that it was billed as, and that would presumably be a good things for fans of the sport and video games. However, everything in this game (including gameplay, graphics, and story) are some of the worst things that any gamer may ever see. The title is not enjoyable to play, it's not enjoyable to look at, and it's not enjoyable to sit there and listen to the under-developed background stories provided for each fighter.
The core gameplay mechanics are pretty standard. There's a button for head shots, a button for body blows, and a block/reverse, among other actions. The first thing that is instantly thrown in the face of the player is that they can only move in two directions — forward and backward. There is no ability to walk left or right around opposing combatants. This makes the gameplay extremely linear, and those playing will quickly come to realize that a lot of strategy has been taken as a result of the retro design.
Aside from the fighters' inability to move anywhere but in a straight line (unless grappled and thrown into another area), the fighting mechanics themselves are absolutely terrible. The animations of the martial artists performing a kick, punch, or grapple aren't just awkward they aren't even functional - moves are delayed, presumably just to give the opposition a chance to counter, making the actual exchange of strikes look, at times, like a boxing match between two glitchy sloth people.
Any move can be countered by hitting a single button, and while this sounds like it's done to make it easy for the player, it's far too oversimplified. A lot of the time players will throw or be thrown by their opponent and they'll get into a skirmish on the ground and, if enough buttons are mashed, the individual playing will find themselves on top of the computer. They can then proceed to savagely tear apart this man (or woman) into a bloody mess, and they can't do anything to stop it - because all players have to do is hit the block button every time it flashes to the left of the screen.
The end result of these encounters results in one very bloodied and bruised human being, and this is one thing that the game does do right. The damage that is caused by fighting is gruesome, and some moves are even cringe worthy at first glance. Blood will stain the ground as members in Supremacy MMA's roster are beaten to a pulp, and a majority of the slams are over-the-top and extremely satisfying. However, the gory appeal only lasts for so long, and then you'll return to the lacklustre mechanics and overall boring package.
As hinted at, the game also features a story mode (of sorts) that gives each of the combatants a little background - their motives for getting into the sport as well as how they fought their way through the ranks. This sounds like a good idea on paper, but it's ruined by horrendous voice acting and an idiotic script. A line from the first cinematic for one of the fighters is "Nothing's changed... except everything." What does that even mean?! To be fair, the animated comic book-esque look to the story sequences worked pretty well - and were one of the cooler features of the mode.
There are many different fighters that are available at every player's disposal. Each is said to have a different strong suit (i.e. the boxer is good at punching, the wrestler is good at wrestling) and the animations differ from fighter to fighter - to account for these difference in style. After jumping into the fray for a few rounds, all of the styles start to feel eerily familiar to one another. Yes, some fighters will bust out strikes that are linked to their respective style, but there is not much of an advantage to doing moves of that nature anyway - because of the minimal damage they offer compared to grapples (all of which look exactly the same).
Supremacy MMA disappoints on nearly every front imaginable - and even a few that I didn't know existed. Fighting game enthusiasts looking for something different from the traditional formula of past MMA games will find it here, but not in a good way. Everything from the character animations, to the game's horrendous story, to repetitive and linear gameplay make Supremacy MMA one of the worst games you could ever spend your hard-earned money on.
If you really want the thrill of over-the-top violence then stick to smashing your head against the wall — it's a lot less painful then playing through this game.
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Supremacy MMA is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360.