Gas Powered Games will have us revisit the saga of three warring faction with the third instalment in the Supreme Commander universe. With the release of the game just a few days away, we thought of firing up the game’s demo and looking at what the developers have to offer with the sequel.
Supreme Commander 2 is set 25 years after the events of Forged Alliance, and assassination of the President sparks-off tension between the game’s three dominant factions—UEF, the Cybran Nation and the Illuminate. In Supreme Commander games, the player manages the battlefield by controlling a giant Mech unit called ACU. The ACU acts as mobile base of operations and since the unit also houses the factions commanding officer, losing it in battle leads to immediate defeat. From here on the core game-play of Supreme Commander retains traditional RTS elements.
For me, the most intriguing part of the demo was researching and deploying experimental military units. These experimental units can either be land-based, naval or aerial fighting units. Personal favourite is the UEF experimental aerial unit which is essentially a flying factory that can churn out units as it goes. These flying fortresses can also house several aircrafts that can be deployed for a very effective ambush. This is perhaps an indication that the full game will have deeper strategic options centred on similar behemoths of experimental technologies.
The full game will allow players to control a commanding officer from any of the three factions; however, the demo only features UEF single-player missions. In all, the demo features two tutorial levels and two single player missions that are just about enough to give a feel of what to expect in the full-game. Keeping in with the current industry trends, Supreme Commander 2 appears to have a deeper storyline in the single player campaigns. And unlike most RTS games where you are simply carrying out orders like a good soldier, the demo indicates that the main plotline will revolve around more personal interests.
Judging by the demo, the game’s performance seems to have been significantly improved over the first game. The game’s engine can render a battle between hundred-odd units without any noticeable drop in performance. The game also has a huge list of key bindings for the hardcore; which once mastered can give a player tremendous control during online battles.
We think that there is something quirky about the way certain units are designed. For instance, there are aerial units that cannot engage other aerial units, as they only have air-to-ground firing capabilities. To make matters worse, the UI does not clearly indicate a unit’s strengths, weaknesses and engaging capabilities. This makes things needlessly difficult until you are familiar with every unit in your army, just by experience on the battlefield. Also, the UI does not consistently offer tool-tips with the UI options and surprisingly even the tutorial levels do not explain all of the UI components. We hope the game’s manual will make up for missing information or that the full game will have more advanced tutorial levels.
We had a few other gripes with the game; however we would rather wait for the complete package before being too critical. In the meantime you can download the demo from Steam and experience the game before you bite. We contacted the Indian distributors of the game (E-Xpress) to get a fix on release date and price. They are targeting the second week of March as the release window and it will retail for INR 999. And as always we hope to review the game as and when we get our hands on a copy.
Supreme Commander 2 game trailer