Supreme Commander

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Content at a glance:

GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC (Windows)
Produced by: THQ, Gas Powered Games
Price Range: $31-40
Learning curve time: Over 2 hrs.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Patches / Upgrades: Many patches available through GPGNet
System Requirements: 1.8 GHz processor; 512 MB RAM; 128 MB video RAM; Internet connection

     Reviewed By: Sean Domis
     VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Genre: Strategy
Christian Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 3 of 5 (mild)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)


Supreme Commander.  Illustration copyrighted.

Ever wanted to punish your computer for being an insubordinate machine?

Never fear! THQ has given birth to a PC game that is guaranteed to make your humble gaming computer its slave for however long you are able to play it before your CPU begins to belch the magic smoke of death.

‘Supreme Commander’ is the epic strategy game from the mind of Chris Taylor. To the PC Strategy gaming elite, Taylor is remembered for his 1997 PC game, Total Annihilation, to which SupCom is considered a spiritual successor.

SupCom’s plot centers around a thousand-year war between three factions of humanity:

The UEF: United Earth Federation, a highly militaristic descendant of the United Nations, bent on using their more traditional military forces to reunite the human diaspora around the galaxy.

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The Cybran: A race of cybernetically-enhanced humans who wish to form their own nation, separate from the UEF. They utilize laser and stealth technology in their army.

The Aeon Illuminate: Followers of an alien religion known simply as ‘The Way’. Utilizing advanced alien technology, they seek to cleanse or convert all before them.

You choose which side to fight for and assume the role of that race’s leading ACU, or Armored Command Unit. The ACU is a human-controlled exoskeleton, fulfilling both combat and building roles.

At the beginning of every mission, you’re warped onto the surface of a planet and given varying objectives. As you complete each objective, the map grows larger and larger, revealing more enemies and even more objectives.

The sheer scale of SupCom is staggering. Maps are measured in kilometers, the largest being a whopping 81 x 81 kilometers. As incredulous as it sounds, you will be able to fill such a space with hundreds of factories, power plants, robotic builders, and your giant machines of war.

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This is a strategy game for veterans. The learning curve is steep, rewarding careful planning and harshly punishing those who try to do too many things too soon. This is not a game for a quick skirmish- matches offline and on usually run into the one-to-two hour range.

SupCom postulates a future in which all building materials can be made from the two basic forms of matter in the universe: Mass and Energy. The positive-negative resource system is rather confusing at first, but becomes intuitive as the game progresses.

In a normal strategy game, controlling the hundreds of units SupCom allows you to build would be a hectic task. Taylor and his team have solved this problem with the ‘strategic zoom’ function.

Using your mouse wheel, you can go from a ground-zero view to a satellite view of the entire map. This allows you to plan and co-ordinate multi-front attacks, feints, or any number of strategies.

Your regular forces can be backed up by Experimental Units, super-powerful, resource-intensive units that take a long time to build. From the mobile fortress called the Fatboy to the towering robotic behemoth known as the Colossus, these units can break stalemates or psych the opponent out.

The graphics in the game are top-notch, but it seems to be a waste. When the action gets intense, you’re usually zoomed all the way out where your units are only represented as dots and triangles.

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Every projectile uses a Newton-based algorithm to determine where it will go, determined from mass, velocity, and a host of other indicators. What this means for your computer is an epic amount of CPU usage. A dual- or even quad-core CPU is whole-heartedly recommended. And don’t feel bad if the game lags- the computer hasn’t been made that can handle this game with all the extras turned on.

If you do wish to battle others online, the connections are not handled within SupCom itself. When you want to get online with other players, you move to a secondary application called GPGNet. I and many in the community find it a great break in the flow when the game closes to open up a separate application to find another player for the game it just closed. If you followed that, have a cookie.

As for content, there is no blood or gore to be had. All the units, save the ACU, are fully robotic, so there is minimal loss of human life. The campaign has some harsh language peppered throughout it, but nothing harsher than an episode of Law & Order. The Aeon Illuminate missions include shots of their princess bathing, but only from the chest up.

If you have the epic rig needed to play this game, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up, if only to justify the cost to yourself (i.e., your soul.). Supreme Commander is a game for those who think big, and for those who have the equipment necessary, the rewards are as immense as they are challenging.

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Year of Release — 2007




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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