91 of 119 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Supreme Commander 2 - PC (Video Game)
Supreme Commander 2 may well be the most disappointing PC game I've ever played. The original Supreme Commander, spiritual successor to Cavedog's fantastic Total Annihilation, allowed players a depth and complexity far beyond any other strategy game of its day. Massive unit variety, stunningly well-made interface and epic scale combined to create incredible tactical and strategic diversity. Unfortunately, it seems that the sequel has lost its way. Worse is the fact that many clever improvements made their way into this game, only to be overshadowed by the game's serious flaws.
Graphics: First, the good: units, structures and effects look incredible. Animations are likewise very impressive indeed. Missiles trail believable contrails, fighters swoop around, cannons recoil. Visually stunning; this game is by far the best-looking strategy game out there, especially when its scope is taken into consideration. Faction units are distinct and cleverly designed. Experimental units look suitably enormous and powerful. Lighting and shadows are top-notch.
Sound: Here we have the first serious issue. As strange as this sounds, the voice acting of all things is one of the deal-breakers. The writing and acting is possibly the worst I've heard in a video game. It may be hard to believe that voice acting can make a difference one way or the other, but if you have any plans to play the campaign, I recommend having the mute button handy. It is incredible to me that this game made it to the public with its current script. Think Star Wars Episode 1 Jar-Jar Binks. Unbelievable. Sound effects and music are fine, but the (non-skippable, impossible to disable) voices are just awful.
Gameplay: First, the good - SC2 makes a few seemingly minor but clever and helpful tweaks to the SC1 formula. For those familiar with SupCom: engineers can now repair aircraft in flight, aircraft fuel has been removed, and pathfinding is immensely improved. The game sports "flow-field" coding for its group pathfinding, improving upon a serious flaw in early versions of the original. Groups of land units will smoothly navigate around obstacles without breaking formation and will attempt to form up when possible. Units work better together and are much more able to navigate the complex terrain of the battlefield. Customizable buildings are a great decision and are one of the features that would have been wonderful in the original. On the other hand, unit variety has taken a serious hit. In an effort to "streamline" the game, many units have been removed entirely. Gone are the days of hundreds of structure and unit choices. The economy has been completely reworked. The streaming economy that made TA and SupCom unique and interesting has been replaced by a standard pre-pay for units concept. In theory, this was meant to reduce players' need for micromanaging. In my experience, it results in far more micro throughout the course of the game. Factories can no longer be set to pump out endless hordes of tanks and planes. Now every purchase must be weighed individually, resulting in smaller armies and a greater focus on factories instead of formations. UI tweaks include a group icon for multiple units given the same order, which mainly has the effect of stopping the player from clicking on a few of his units without accidentally selecting the whole group. The research concept is interesting and fairly well implemented, although it is very easy for new players to get badly bogged down in poor research choices and lose because of their confusion.
Overall, the game seems to have been designed with a "Supreme Commander Lite" theme squarely in mind. Experimentals are everywhere, and are not particularly epic any more. The grand strategic picture of large battles will still confuse new players, and the lack of tactical diversity and the serious economic simplifications have driven away veterans of the series. Somehow Chris Taylor managed a game simultaneously too complicated for new players and too simplified for experienced players. Very disappointed.
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Initial post: Mar 7, 2010 11:52:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2010 11:53:02 AM PST
Excellent review William! Thank you for your time to carefully articulate and share your experience with your fellow Amazon PC gamers.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2010 1:08:43 PM PST
Good review! It is a damn shame. They dumb this down for consuls. I am a little sore about buying this for $40. I have just been doing the campaign and cant comment on the skirmish mode.
Posted on Mar 31, 2010 7:18:48 AM PDT
Francis Darmawan says:
Wait a minute...You mean these guys are the ones who made Total Annihilation??? This looks very very less impressive than Total Annihilation.
Posted on Jun 7, 2010 6:17:39 AM PDT
The game is amazing, so do not listen to the negative reviews. People are just bitter that they did not make the same exact game as the previous title. They changed the economy to match Starcraft and other TOP RTS games. This game still has big explosions, basebuilding, and big battle fun with smoother graphics.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2010 6:28:25 AM PDT
William Gunn says:
JavaJeff says it all: they changed the economy to copy other games instead of expanding on their unique and interesting formula. And he's not wrong...there ARE big explosions and basebuilding and battles...it's just that they're smaller in every sense than the first game, and it's not an improvement. The game's on available right now for $10 on sale, but if you absolutely have to check it out, I'd wait 'til it's down to $5. Anything more and you're wasting your money.
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