Supreme Commander (2007)

Video Game  -  Sci-Fi  -  20 February 2007 (USA)
8.1
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The humans are under attack from an alien race. Take command of fast depleting army and wriggle you way through an extremely strategic campaign to restore balance to the universe. Plot: The... See full synopsis »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Angel ...
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Valerie Arem ...
(voice) (as Valerie M. Arem)
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Colonel Zachary Arnold (voice)
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Kirk Thornton ...
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David Markus ...
Red Fog (voice)
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Mary Elizabeth McGlynn ...
General Samantha Clarke (voice)
Peggy O'Neal ...
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Aiko (voice)
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The humans are under attack from an alien race. Take command of fast depleting army and wriggle you way through an extremely strategic campaign to restore balance to the universe. Plot: The earth has been destroyed... See full synopsis »

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20 February 2007 (USA)  »

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$10,000,000 (estimated)
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Followed by Supreme Commander 2 (2010) See more »

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Superior RTS Game
29 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

From developer Chris Taylor, we have what is essentially the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation (TA). TA was, in my opinion, the best Real Time Strategy (RTS) game ever made, so even an updated follow up would need to be extraordinary.

Supreme Commander (SupCom) did not let me down. It provides the essentials of what made TA great and adds a number of small, yet useful, improvements. In both games, the player begins with a powerful unit called a "Commander (Com)." The com is a builder, starting the player off with basic resource and unit producing structures, but also acting as a formidable warrior as well.

TA and SupCom had/have two resources - metal and energy (mass and energy in SupCom). In order to generate these resources, the Com and builder units create structures that produce them at a constant rate. They only stop producing if they are destroyed. An interesting thing about SupCom is that the resource system is also real time, continually draining and adding to the pool at a constant rate. For example, if you wish to create a unit that costs 100 mass and 1000 energy, you don't need that in the bank, it just drains slowly from the pool over the course of unit construction. The builder units can be tasked to help build something as well - the more units are on it, the faster it is built (and the faster it drains your resources). Resource management can be tricky, but is an interesting and unique experience in the realm of RTS.

TA had no middle ground between lvls 1 and 3 for resource generation with the map dependent exception of the geothermal structure - you would jump from small output lvl 1 solar collectors to super energy producing lvl 3 fusion power plants with nothing in between at lvl 2. SupCom adds intermediate resource producing structures at Tier 2. Also, metal (now mass) extractors can be upgraded by themselves - TA would require that the old extractor be reclaimed or detonated in order to place the more advanced extractor in the same place, with a construction unit.

Then there is the combat! If you are used to tactical combat games, like Dawn of War, or smaller scale combat such as Age of Empires or even Starcraft, then SupCom will be an almost overwhelming experience at first. You can attack by land with infantry robots, tanks, other vehicles, and super experimental units. You can attack by sea with warships, submarines, combat hovercraft, and amphibious tanks. You can even attack by air with fighters, bombers, hovering gunships, and large experimental units. You can build defensive emplacements to protect your base, and bombard the enemy with artillery units that can hit the enemy from very long distances. And then there are the nuclear missiles that can strike anywhere on even the largest maps. But there are anti-nukes that can also be built to launch and automatically take out any incoming strategic missiles. In fact, there is an appropriate counter tactic to just about every attack method.

Any criticisms? Well, the system requirements were steep for the time, and even top end machines would have some trouble now and then. The learning curve is fairly steep, and the game most certainly requires you to be on top of things nearly 100% of the time. Even small mistakes would be difficult to recover from in multiplayer games.

SupCom is most certainly a different type of RTS game, and in my opinion requires a very different perspective from most entries in this genre. If you feel prepared for a game more about macromanagment with yet a hefty dose of micromanagment, then SupCom is for you. Just be prepared to be schooled in the beginning, first by the AI and later by online players. You'll definitely lose a lot before you win, but I suppose that's not too much different than most other games of skill.


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