While I’m not a self-proclaimed real-time strategy nut, I do love to break the monotony of knifing my friends in the cerebral cortex and settle down for some good ol’ resource gathering, army buildin’ fun. RTS’ appeal to the little kid in me that loved to build replica castles and make green and tan plastic army soldiers fight to take it over. But now, instead of playing with plastic soldiers, I’m playing with virtual soldiers against an enemy that can think for itself. Also, sending in vast numbers of robots and watching pretty explosions is also a lot better than making machine gun sounds with your mouth and knocking over figures. But is Supreme Commander 2 more than virtual plastic soldiers in a digital castle?
While the original Supreme Commander took a bold new direction with various changes to the RTS rulebook. Supreme Commander 2 takes a more standard approach, with less micromanaging than most other RTS’. A typical thing to do is select a large section of mixed units from your forces, and move them elsewhere and not worry about it, in other RTS games that’s the equivalent of donating all your units to their respective Gods. But it works in Supreme Commander 2, so you can worry about setting up an excellent flanking attack on the enemy’s base instead of working on your uber micro.
The story takes place 25 years after the end of the Infinite War, with the galaxy reeling from the recent assassination of the newly elected president of the Colonial Defense Coalition. The three forces of the Coalition; The United Earth Federation, the Illuminate, and the Cybran Nation, all blame each other and prepare for war. Regardless, the plot takes a backseat to the strategy that is employed throughout the campaign. You’ll know who you’re fighting, but for what reasons are usually left out, or so confusing it doesn’t even make sense. From that brief back story, it’s easy to tell how many campaigns there are. But for those who are still stumped, here’s a hint: It rhymes with key.
The three factions are pretty well balanced, with UEF being a little more armored, the Cybran being less armored but more powerful, and the Illuminate right in the middle. Though, these advantages can be negated relatively quickly against the normal AI as you can outtech them easily, and throw down some of the games experimentals and crush your opposition like a tomato can. If that seems too easy to you, you can just max out the 250 unit limit with basic units and send the swarm into the enemy’s base and laugh as your army of ants topples a kingdom.
Yes, I honestly used those 2 very unimaginative (and slightly pathetic) strategies throughout the 18 mission campaign mode. It worked wondrously in all but 2, both the last mission and the one before that I focused on my defense while I built my army, until my base was overrun, so in a desperate attempt I swarmed the opposing base with everything I had, found the commander and destroyed them before mine bit the proverbial dust. So, while I am not the most avid RTS player, the campaign should be pretty easy for an average gamer. If you’re an rabid fan of the RTS genre, you probably already own this game and have beat it on the hardest level and won over 200 online battles against people like me. So congrats and thanks for crushing my commanding dreams.
But anyways, for the longest time I thought the units in this game moved at an enormously slow rate. Then, I realized that the units moved at a pretty good clip, as the maps themselves are freaking huge. Most of the battles occur fully zoomed out and all you see are icons of your units wreaking havoc on your opponents, though you have the option to zoom in and see all the pretty explosions that happen when you pillage a base. However, the graphics aren’t going to set the world on fire, they do good enough for this type of game, with the exception of the cutscenes. The cutscenes look like they were from the early PS2 era, and the voice acting needs improvement. But who really plays an RTS for the plot and graphics? Also, I’d like to briefly touch on the control scheme, while it works, it’s obvious to note that it would work better on a PC. Many commands and abilities are used through the d-pad or buttons while holding one of the triggers down. They work well, but it feels a bit bulky. If you have a PC that can run this game, I recommend to go for the PC version.
Playing different genres of games really forces changes to the way you approach a certain problem in a game, which can make for a fun problem solving experience unless you’re frustrated easily. Luckily, many of the problems you will face in this game can be conquered with a few experimental units or with a force large enough that Patton would be envious of it. This game is an RTS that does many things right, but many of them have already been done before, unlike its predecessor. If you’re crazy about RTS’ go pick up this game right now. If you enjoy them, wait until the price drops a bit and get it, or rent it. But whatever you do, make sure you build a sizable army and send them into the other base for a guaranteed laugh.
- Title: Supreme Commander 2
- Platform Reviewed: PC
- Developer: Gas Powered Games
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Available For: Xbox 360, PC
- Release Date: Available Now
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this title was provided by the publisher to DualShockers Inc. for reviewing purposes