By Greg Newbegin
GAME NAME: Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted
DEVELOPER(S): Kung Fu Factory
PUBLISHER(S): 505 Games
PLATFORM(S): PS Vita
RELEASE DATE(S): 11 May 2012
Having recently had the fortune to play the latest Mortal Kombat, and given I was such a fan of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, I decided to check out a different fighting game on the PlayStation Vita – Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted, developed by Kung Fu Factory. Perhaps I should have thought things through, as I’ve never really been a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts titles on any machine, let alone a handheld (well, the very first UFC game on Dreamcast was novel at the time)…
Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted puts you in control of a number of Mixed Martial Artists – the arts ranging from Wrestling and Karate through Muay Thai kickboxing. Presentation is really quite nice, with some well-designed menus and impressive cutscenes throughout. In game, however, the visuals really take a dive. Textures are extremely plain (and mostly lacking in detail), characters jaggy, and environments uninspired. Of course, given the source material, there’s not much room for the imagination, but it’s still somewhat underwhelming. The characters do show damage as fights progress, and—for reasons that I can’t fathom given this doesn’t happen in real life—fights can even end with finishing moves resulting in broken bones and the like. Perhaps this was added to give the title even more of an arcade vibe, but it was unexpected and quite brutal the first time I came across it…
Players can select from a quick match, a story mode and multiplayer, as well as Femme Fatale mode, allowing players to take on the roles of two prominent female MMA fighters. Surprisingly, though, there’s no career mode providing freedom of choice. Story mode puts you in the “shoes” of one of the 16 fighters on offer, and provides a storyboard animation between bouts, replete with terrible voice acting. In a way, this addition does make the game similar in scope to the more fantastical fighting games on offer (such as Mortal Kombat), and the stories are interesting to watch play out, as the fighters all seem to have had extremely tough lives.
Unfortunately, though, the controls really bring things down. Yes, the game employs touch controls here and there, but that’s not the problem in this case. On the whole, every move you attempt to make feels sluggish and unresponsive. For many bouts on end, I fought with the ‘O’ button to try to pull off a simple parry – and every time it happened, I was too surprised to follow it up with a counter. At the same time, the fact I was surprised meant I had no idea why it worked then and not at other times. My opponent never seemed to have any problems, though, and this was intensely frustrating.
In addition, the developers chose to use thumbstick waggling as a means to determine the winner of submission attacks. I’m not sure who tested this in action, but the Vita thumbsticks are NOT well suited to this kind of treatment. Not that they feel flimsy, it’s just hard to manipulate them quickly.
Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted is not a terrible game, but the issues with controls and the limited options make the game hard to recommend. Clearly a great deal of effort has been put into making certain aspects of presentation look really appealing, but the underlying problems offset many of the positives. I’m sure the most feverish of MMA fans will find something worthwhile in the gameplay (and some of the story aspects, no doubt), but otherwise - try before you buy.