PS Vita Review – Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted

Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted is yet another console fighting game that’s been ported to the PlayStation Vita. But unlike Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 or BlazBlue, Supremacy MMA takes a more technical, realistic approach to fighting in the form of Mixed Martial Arts. But is your Vita game money better spent on those arcadey fighters, or can Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted make then submit?

This is a port of console game that was a MMA equivalent of a B-movie, so it’s foolish to set expectations too high. But even with hedged expectations, the Vita version of Supremacy MMA under delivers in nearly every aspect. Unrestricted is really laughable as a subtitle, because this game couldn’t feel more restricted.

After sparring for a bit in the tutorial “trainer”, and learning the ropes, every mode is immediately available. You’re free to set up survival ladders and traditional-style tournaments or head into the game’s story mode. That or Fight Now, which is exactly what it sounds like. Tournaments are nothing more than a bunch of Fight Now matches in a row, presented in your choice of two different ways.

Story mode is a little different, although it’s really just more and more basic fights in a row. But here, there is at least some entertainment with the each fighter’s stories. The stories themselves are a blend of fact and fiction, depending on which is chosen; so are the fighters themselves. There are some real world fighters in the game, but these aren’t familiar faces from UFC, Strikeforce, or any of the well-known promotions. The rest of the fighters are inspired by real world fighters, but are bearing a fake name.

Unfortunately, the fighters themselves nor their stories do much to build any sort of a relationship with them. So for the most part, aside from you yourself wanting to win just to win, you couldn’t care less who you are doing it with. The only difference, in this case, are the various fighting styles. Even then, there isn’t anything that really stands out or differentiates one from another. Sure a boxer relies on punches, while someone experienced in Judo has takedowns and submissions at their disposal – but within the combat system, it all feels the same. No fighting style has any advantage over the other, everything is too balanced.

The combat is the bulk of the game, so if it isn’t good, then the game sure as hell ain’t. It relies to heavily on a counterattack system that is too fast to master, and the placement of the button pop-up alerting you of what you need to press to counter is too obscure to pay close attention to. Against the CPU, it’s difficult to control the match (again, it’s all too balanced). And you can never really learn how to do so, because even the “training mode” sets you up against a fighter who is coming at you full force with moves, takedowns, combos and submissions. You can’t lose there, but you don’t get any time to practice to learn, which is what training is supposed to be about.

Combat doesn’t fall in line with normal MMA, either. You can do submissions, but fighters can’t tap, only do “damage” or “escape”. Totally lame. Even worse, the entire match is dictated by a health bar only. So no matter what attack is being done to you or an opponent, if the health bar has run out, it ends in a KO. That means that even a weak jab to the face can become a knockout punch.

Online is also the same, except it’s super laggy. To the point where it’s not even worth playing.

Supremacy MMA is the first game to feature women MMA fighters in their Femme Fatale mode… Except there are only two women. Yeah. That leaves you with exactly one person to fight. What a waste. Why even offer it? At least they’re real women fighters and their stories seem the most realistic.

It’s also worth noting that the PlayStation Vita version features two additional characters and fighting styles not found in the console versions of the game, but the variety is still lacking. Unrestricted also takes advantage of the Vita’s touch capabilities, perhaps the most useful of which is the pinch to grab/takedown. Using your index finger on the rear panel and your thumb on the front screen in a pinching motion, you can perform grabs, takedowns and submissions. It’s cool and all, but you can also press X to do this. I don’t have to even tell you which one is easier to perform and more intuitive.

The game’s one high point: The graphics. Character models look good for a handheld, and arenas look their part. Blood, however, is awful, and looks more like a weird red sandy overlay. And it doesn’t drip. The visuals do shine in the story mode, where each fighter’s story is told similar to a graphic novel. It lacks color, but I think that’s a presentation choice, not an actual flaw. Still, the comic-esque images look crisp and detailed on the Vita’s OLED screen. It’s still not enough to save this game from being a disaster.

Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted comes out swinging with a wide offering of modes (though they ultimately all end up being the same), a wealth of fighters, and decent visuals. But like any fighter going full steam in the first round but falling short a knock-out, it gets tired quickly and can’t go the distance with the heavy weights. On a platform where there are already great fighting games aplenty, Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted is more of an undercard match, rather than the main event you are looking for.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

-Combat is too balanced. Too much focus on counterattacks.

-No sudden tapouts or knockouts, must deplete health bar.

-All modes feel like the same basic fights.

3.5 out of 10