|System: PC, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gas Powered Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Visually, Supreme Commander 2 isn't much of an upgrade, considering the original was graphically intense for 2007. Many people have difficulty getting their PCs to run the game on its highest settings. Thankfully, Gas Powered Games has managed to improve the running performance of the sequel. I was able to run the game with all of the settings maxed. Of course, I wasn't able to compare the two games to see which one sports the better visuals, so there is a possibility that some visuals were sacrificed for the sake of performance.
While it is impressive that a game can render so many units at once across such large battlefields, I can't help but think the battlefield environments look muddy, lack detail, and have no character. The terrain, aside from a few trees, craters, and wreckage, is mostly bare, and while players probably won't have time to sit and enjoy the views that much, it would have been nice to feel like the environments had some modicum of personality. The units and animations don't appear to be much different from the original at all, and they are mostly good.
The controls remain nearly unchanged from the original. Selecting units and issuing orders is still just as easy as it always has been. However, it is a little difficult to arrange your units on the battlefield, as this wasn't covered at all in the tutorial mission. Zooming all the way out still gives you the tactical view, where all the units you can see show up as colored icons, representing what type of unit they are and who they belong to. Considering the controls of the original were top-notch for an RTS, there isn't any wonder they've remained the same here.
The multiplayer game also introduces veterans to new territory as it now involves Valve's Steam community. Interestingly, I find it to be an improvement over what Supreme Commander used for its online lobby/leaderboard system, as I can remember the headaches involved with trying to connect to other players. Interestingly, however, the first time I connected to find an available game, I was amazed to only find 16 different games that I could join. I'm not sure how developed the online community is for Supreme Commander 2, but if the number of available games is any indication, it should be taken into consideration if you're a gamer with competitive multiplayer mind.
Along with the Steam integration comes a variety of other non-essential goodies like unlocks, which players will get for completing specific types of objectives. Of course, they are nothing more than virtual trophies and have no real impact on the gameplay.
Supreme Commander 2 was a sequel long-anticipated by fans. Unfortunately, most of them who prefer the complex gameplay style of the original will be disappointed. This sequel is very much an RTS hoping to capture a larger audience by introducing simpler gameplay elements. For newcomers to the series who were originally turned off by the series' high learning curve, this may be your opportunity to jump in and see what massive-scale RTS is all about. Unfortunately, if you're a veteran who isn't sure, trying a demo is the way to go.
CCC Freelance Writer