E3 2011: Supremacy MMA hands-on
For years, the term “realistic” has been tossed around by developers in their attempts to bring the mixed martial arts experience to home. Thus far, these games incorporate overly complicated controls that diminish the sport’s in-your-face nature and the ability for newcomers to pick-up-and-play. As a result, these titles are usually played for a short term or for the occasional gathering at the crib. Today, I had the chance to get my hands on Kung Fu Factory’s Supremacy MMA, a title that I’ve personally been looking forward to, and I can confidently say: the wait is finally over.
In delivering realism, the developers have made a number of necessary approaches. First off, the game utilizes the unsanctioned, underground street fighting style, meaning you’ll not just see a fighter bleed and bruise, but bones will be broken, limbs will cripple and you will flinch every step of the way. Secondly, the fighters are catered to their own individual fighting styles so no two fighters will play the same. A Savate fighter uses high speed kicks, wrestling and Judo practitioners will often slam their opponents around and create submission scenarios, and a Muay Thai fighter will utilize devastating knee and elbow strikes. And lastly, because these are unsanctioned fights, there are only two ways to win: knockout or submission. There are no time limits.
In creating diversity, there is a great amount of strategy involved. As mentioned before, body parts can be rendered useless if they take enough damage. The ‘Body Meter’ displays a humanoid-shaped chart that starts off green. When body parts begin taking damage the color will change to yellow and then finally red to signify a body part that is rendered ineffective. Therefore, against kicking opponents, you’ll want to cripple their legs, and against grapplers, you must cripple their torsos in order to remove their one important tool.
While previous titles utilize a grocery list of complex commands, Supremacy goes for a more straightforward approach. Square is for punch, triangle to kick, cross to clinch, and circle for parrying or going into a takedown from a clinch. The left analog stick is used for guarding high or low attacks, as well as directing the range of your strikes. Combining the aforementioned will determine your combos. During submission attempts, both players have to rapidly jiggle the right analog stick, resulting in either escape or heavy damage. The controls and gameplay are easy to pick up, but there’s still depth for those who want it: there will be allegedly over 1000 moves per character, however the developers state that they have fine-tuned the attacks so that there won’t be a handful of abused attacks like with most fighting games. Knowledge in even Street Fighter can be used for play. In fact, I did use my experience to net five wins in a row, but not without drinking in the rush!
Supremacy continues to keep it straightforward by using a traditional health meter. Other MMA titles rarely use this feature as they prefer to have fights determined by the realism of catching someone in the chin or just scoring performance. Once an opponent’s health is depleted, that’s game. But to keep it fresh, Supremacy also has a third meter for adrenaline. This can be charged by landing hits on the opponent and once filled, you can tap L2+R2 to get a speed and power boost. Killing your opponent’s health while in Adrenaline Mode can incur a dramatic KO finish: if you punch someone’s head when his Body Meter displays it in the red, the opponent will collapse in slow-mo fashion. Low kicking someone’s leg in the red will cause his/her femur to dislocate, sending them howling into the ground.
Yes, that’s right, I did say ‘her’. Supremacy will be the first MMA game to feature female fighters, including real-life brawlers Felice “Bulldog” Herrig and Michele “Diablita” Gutierrez. The entire cast is actually based on real fighters that are either up-and-coming or part of the independent circuit. Other fighters include boxer Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver and Muay Thai fighter Mongkhon “Malaipet” Wiwasuk.
Kung Fu Factory sat down with the fighters and had them share their stories to help shape Supremacy’s gritty story. Kung Fu Factory has advised that the story mode may seem over the top or like a movie, but events that will unfold are deeply rooted in actual events of the competitor lifestyle. Like with the new Mortal Kombat, you will play through an intricate story divided up by the character chapters. Characters you’ve played will be encountered again, and new challengers will be used in future chapters. As you progress, fighters will earn experience points that can unlock new moves and abilities that can be used online.
Supremacy will offer up a healthy variety of offline and online modes. Aside from story and arcade Modes, there will be a career mode, an online tournament mode and survival. Rematched single online fights will be regarded as ‘Revenge Matches’ and will be treated as such. Other online features include upcoming DLC characters, ranking battles, achievements, and the chance to show off customizable outfits, but based on traditional gear, none of that silly Tekken stuff.
I still can’t shake the rush from my time playing Supremacy MMA. As a long time fighting gamer, I’m ecstatic to see an MMA based title that not only satisfies the standards but will definitely be accessible to gamers of all walks. The developers have advised that the game will hit stores this fall. That gives THQ and EA plenty of time in getting ready to take notes.