The first realization that I have, as I sit down to begin the arduous trek towards universal domination that is Supreme Commander 2, is that this is not Total Annihilation. Nor for that matter is it the first Supreme Commander. This is a different type of game, with a different pace, and a new focus. Not all of that is good, and some of it is just bad.
The interface and concept are fairly simple. Mass extractors are built on key points which generate one of the three commodities utilized throughout the game. The other two are Energy which is supplied via generators and Research points provided by Research Facilities. Research points are used to unlock unit trees, and upgrades. At this point I will refrain from going into a rant about the exciting dynamic of the original flow based economy systems of TA and SupCom. This “new” economy is identical to almost every other RTS out there and is not difficult to adapt to.
The graphical advancements are almost negligible. The idea seems to have been to please a wider audience, as opposed to taking advantage of the most cutting edge technology. I for one don’t agree with that type of approach. I believe that a game should be scaled to allow all of the intended audiences to play functionally with the right configurations. The dumbing down of the higher video settings and textures in lieu of that type of scaling infuriates me. It is as maddening as the least common denominator routine that Blizzard has adopted for scaling difficulty.
The single player campaign makes an attempt to illustrate the human aspect of the pilot of our primary command unit. By the second cut sequence, I was frankly ready to get this pussy out of his seat and replace him with a space marine. The strategic development of the storyline is lackluster at best. You can expect little to no foreshadowing and very little variance in unit types throughout the progression of the campaign.
Multiplayer, as with most RTS games, will make or break this one. The current multiplayer interface is extremely simple. Host or Join a game. Yeah.
Unlike the extremely complex fleets that I capitalized on in the first Supreme Commander, this rendition rewards sheer quantity over quality. Amassing waves of fairly simple ground and air units and directing them to move en-masse to contested map points is disgustingly effective. Choose your favorite units, ensuring to have adequate anti-air as well as ground forces and maximize research on those units. Micro is effective, but can be time consuming. Make sure that you aren’t too concerned with the longevity of individual units that you ignore the bases responsible for churning out the steady stream of metal ultimately responsible for your success.
I’m afraid to say that overall this gem is likely going to be lost under the incredible sway of the juggernaut Starcraft 2, but rightfully so. The graphical advancements of the game are far outweighed by its failure to adapt to an extremely demanding niche of gamers. Unless you are looking for a very demanding RTS experience, I cannot recommend this one.