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Customer Review

73 of 88 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why would you do this to us, Chris Taylor?, March 4, 2010
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This review is from: Supreme Commander 2 - PC (Video Game)
If you liked the intricate economy and extreme scale of Supreme Commander and Supreme Commander:Forged Alliance, you probably won't like this game.

Years ago, I heard about Total Annihilation. It was similar to other RTS games, but on an absolutely massive scale. I loved carrying on coordinated assaults of multiple groups of hundreds of units each. It redefined how I looked at all RTS games.

In 2007, I got Supreme Commander expecting more of the same. I couldn't have been more pleased. Incredibly huge maps, beautiful graphics, an unbelievable difference in the size and power of units - everything I could hope for in a large-scale RTS. Some maps were so big, that it could take slower units 10-15 minutes to cross it. Some units took so long to build that it could take an hour for a single low level engineer to complete them. After you completed this massive unit (they were called "Experimentals"), it was always a pleasure to watch it slowly plod across the map and take down hundreds of units and half of the enemy base. Economy and assault required substantial planning and coordination. These were all possible because the game had an excellent interface, and a lot of thought was put into streamlining economy and mobilizing assaults. All of this worked together to provide an extremely rewarding experience. I can say without hesitation that Supreme Commander provided you with the most satisfaction of any RTS when carrying out a successful assault.

Supreme Commander:Forged Alliance was more of the same, but better. They added to the game, optimized and improved it.

Chris Taylor (the creator of these games) had outdone himself each time, so it never even occurred to me that Supreme Commander 2 would be anything less than magnificent. I preordered it without hesitation. The best way to describe the changes from the last game is its been massively "dumbed down". Economic planning is less significant because you must have all of the required resources before you can begin building. Maps are positively tiny compared to the old game. Not nearly as many units to choose from (even if you ignore the lower tech levels in the previous games). Experimentals aren't nearly as powerful or daunting. They only take a couple of minutes to build, and they aren't nearly as satisfying to use. There's less variation in power and size of all units. Almost all of the sense of scale from the old games has been eliminated.

The game feels like it was simplified in every way (graphics, concept, scale, complexity, and multiplayer), so that it could run on the Xbox 360.

Gameplay aside, there are other problems with it - especially for people with poor internet connections. Chris Taylor has always been a proponent of LAN play. Both Supreme Commanders were LAN playable with one copy of the game. His previous RTS, Demigod, was also LAN playable with one copy, and the instruction manual even joked about it. Supreme Commander 2 has no LAN play.

Steam (the digital distribution platform) was, unexpectedly, also a problem. Steam has its problems, but overall, I love it. I use Steam every day. But less than half of the game was actually included on the disk. The disk install was a little over than 2GB, and the "update" was more than the install. I'm sorry, but I don't consider a 2.5GB "update" on the day of release acceptable. I couldn't play it at all on release day. I had to wait till I went to another place with a good internet connection, download it, back it up on a USB drive, and restore the backup on my computer.

Positives
- Excellent game interface - slightly more refined than the previous games
- Glassy smooth graphics on middle of the road hardware.
- Good campaign (so far)
- Not possible to bring your production speed to a halt

Negatives
- Overall lack of large scale
- Substantially fewer units
- Simplistic economy requires more maintenance
- Steam can be a problem for some
- No LAN play

If you haven't played Supreme Commander:Forged Alliance, I would recommend it over Supreme Commander 2. I will not be buying any more Supreme Commander games unless there are some MAJOR changes.

This is a good RTS, but it just doesn't deserve the name "Supreme Commander".

UPDATE 10-7-2010: Against every expectation, 7 months after release, they've addressed at least one of my major complaints about this game - the economy. Now, you can queue up as many units as you like in advance without worrying about having the resources at that moment. From the update description, it seems that it still deducts the full amount immediately upon the start of construction. The old games had a pay-as-it-was-built system. Between, the two, each has its positives and negatives, but this update is a MASSIVE improvement over what the game shipped with.. I'm going to have to play this game again.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 5, 2010 12:54:49 PM PST
seanf78 says:
Your review sums it all up. If we wanted command & conquer, we would go buy command & conquer. Well, I hope the Xbox360 crowd enjoys the supreme commander series because it's all theirs now.

Posted on Mar 6, 2010 12:48:50 PM PST
J. Hong says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2010 6:07:30 AM PST
I did research the game. I read several interviews about it, and watched a few videos before purchasing. They only focused on the improvements, such as better routing, decreased system requirements, new experimentals, and a better interface. With that knowledge, and knowing Chris Taylor's history, I thought it was safe to assume that the game would be worthy of the Supreme Commander name. I was apparently wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2010 1:38:41 AM PST
Ming Tuyen says:
Well as for tying the game to Steam, I think it is issue of Square Enix and Steam having some exclusive rights that only allows SE games to be released on Steam.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2010 5:29:16 AM PST
That makes sense.. Was Gas Powered Games a recent acquisition for them? I know GPG was very progressive regarding DRM and LAN play before this.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2010 11:02:58 AM PST
Ming Tuyen says:
It doesn't seem like GPG was acquired by SE; however, I do noticed a trend that GPG is going thru different publishers lately.

Posted on Jun 7, 2010 6:18:04 AM PDT
javajeff says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2010 6:50:33 AM PDT
Please read my review. I said that its a good RTS, but its not Supreme Commander.

Its like if you order the newest Call of Duty/Modern Warfare game and instead get Peggle. Peggle is a good game, but its nothing like Call of Duty.
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