Product Type: THQ PC games
Newest Review: ... make an epic game experience it seems they have gone too far and made it so massive as to be a little tedious at times. There are so many ... more
Not as supreme as we were led to believe
Supreme Commander (PC)
Member Name: scola_p
Supreme Commander (PC)
Advantages: Epic scope, lots of unit in play at once
Disadvantages: More about numbers and less about tactics
Supreme Commander is the new offering from Chris Taylor, the man behind the classic real time strategy (RTS) game Total Annihilation. There was a huge hype frenzy surrounding this game, as can only be expected when the man behind the best RTS ever get back into the game.
The game is set in the far future, and mankind has split into 3 factions, The United Earth Federation (UEF), who represent humans who are still loyal to the Earth Empire, The Cybran nation, who are all cyborgs and are linked to Artificial Intelligences, and finally the Aeon Illuminate, who are followers of an alien religion.
In single player mode, there is a campaign for each of the factions, but all revolve around the use of a weapon called the Black Sun and itís use for each factions own ends.
I did not dabble in the multiplayer mode too much, as I prefer to play with people I know, but it is there and is perfectly adequate.
One of the main selling points of this game was the epic scale of the game, and this is where the divisions in opinion start to come in. The map is zoomable from a view that shows the entirety of the battlefield, with all the units you can see displayed all the way down to watching the animations of individual units.
The main positive of this approach is that you can quickly get an overview of the strategic situation across the whole map. You can also plat out massive move orders for groups of units, coordinating huge attacks with the vast number of units you can have in play at any one time. In order to facilitate this, the unit cap is often well over 1,000. This is, however, where we start to hit a few drawbacks.
Due to the sheer scale of the maps and the number of units in play, even with a top end pc, the action can slow noticeably. My PC was upgraded early last year, making it equal to recommended spec, and on numerous occasions, the frame rate would slow down quite noticeably. As this tends to happen when you are in the midst of a massive pitched battle, it is extremely annoying.
One other major problem I had with the game was that it was not really tactical enough. We are now in a different age of RTS games, especially after the likes of Rome: Total War, where battlefield tactics are the main thrust if the game, I do not feel it is particularly acceptable to return to the Rock/Paper/Scissors approach of old. What this means is that it is a matter of attacking the right thing with the right kind of unit, and then following up with the next type until you have broken through all of your opponents defences. It is just a matter of working out which unit beats what.
On one occasion, once I had the knack of beating a certain faction, I pretty much ripped through them with the UEF. That is not to say I finished the mission quickly, as each one can last hours, with new areas of the map opening up as you proceed. When I was getting towards the end of the game, I think I spent over 8 hours on one mission. This may be fine if you are a hardcore gamer with nothing else to do, but when you get half an hour to an hour whilst your wife is watching soaps, it is too long winded.
All in all, there are some good ideas in Supreme commander, but I found it very disappointing. If you are impressed by numbers of units and you computer can take the pace, then this may well be the game for you. If, however, you prefer a more tactically challenging RTS game, go for one of the Total War games or Ground Control II.
Summary: An ambitious game that fails to deliver
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