A new contender with a style all its own.
Starting with the right question is often the correct approach, but this time, it’s better to start with the right answer: Supremacy MMA is a fighting title, not a simulation sports title. That might knock your head a bit.
[image1]Anyone following the MMA video game scene, with UFC 2010 Undisputed and EA MMA, would be justified in questioning the need for a third franchise. The market-friendly UFC and Strikeforce licenses are gone, the character modeling and animations are painstakingly realistic, and an independent developer like Kung Fu Factory doesn’t have the sizable coffers of THQ or EA. But these doubts are quickly dispelled and reconsidered when the pitch is that Supremacy MMA is more like Virtua Fighter and Tekken with a more extensive ground game.
While the details of the controls remained disclosed in the hands-off demo, it became clear that this brawler seeks to distinguish itself from its peers by exaggerating realism with the fervor of a Fight Club meet-and-greet. Shirtless fighters slug it out inside a cage held together by unrefined wire and upon a floor stained in blood, sweat, and grit. The restless crowd surrounds the underground ring with cheers, jeers, and occasional spit. The tension is bloody.
The point is to kick out the idea that cage fights are often sanctioned by large organizations like UFC and Strikeforce. Most fighters start off in brawls with maybe a referee, perhaps a medic, and possibly a cash prize large enough to survive for a month. That’s the story of the thousands of MMA unknowns trying to reach the top and test their fighting spirit.
[image2]Just like characters in a standard fighting title, there will be fighters on the roster who have a backstory that reveals his motivations – redemption, recovery, family, identity – behind the sadistic veil of a bloodsport. It’s this light jab of humanity that drew the first UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver to the project and to become a character for the game. While no “create a fighter” mode has been announced, it’s probably better without it given that this is the game’s first year out.
Along the road to supremacy, fighters will also accumulate experience points and gain new moves and higher levels based on their chosen specialty: judo, brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, muay thai, kickboxing, wrestling, submission, among others to be announced. But to keep every match fair, no fighter will gain extra stamina, health, or any stat that would give him the clear advantage over his opponent.
The other point is to remove anything that stands in the way of action, at least within the arena of the fighting genre. Not only are there no flash knockouts, but the ground game seems accelerated and simpler in the hands-off gameplay we were shown, getting away from overly complex button holds and analog stick gyrations traditionally needed to perform intricate submissions and ground transitions. The gauges for health and body parts are straightforward; the only detail they have yet to decide is how many rounds should take place, since standard fighters are usually best two out of three but MMA is decidedly one knockout, game over.
[image3]Attacks are swift, immediate, like thick daggers, accompanied by bone-crushing sound-effects and gut-wrenching animations, both far more forceful than the sounds and animations in other MMA games. Legs and arms can snap, faces can bruise – if something can bleed, it probably will. Even the soundtrack has an uprising, in-your-face intensity thanks to metal songs by independent or unknown bands like A Thousand Shades of Cold, Within The Ruins, and
Supremacy MMA fills in the blank between the brutality and popularity of MMA and the quickness and simplicity of arcade fighters. It attempts to capture the gladiatorial days of a fighter before the rigid rules of an organization, the lava brewing beneath the surface of what might look like a solid, shiny sport. Look here for more details of Supremacy MMA as it heads for a launch in June 2011.