Supreme Commander

I wish to note at the outset of this review that THQ ignored numerous requests for information on the game as well as media information which I thought was necessary to answer some of questions and concerns I had about the game. I mention this as usually a company is more than happy to answer questions that are posed by members of then media, which might be an indicator that support for the game may be lacking despite recent update patches as several e-mails to tech support did not get an answer. Potential buyers may want to bear this in mind.

RTS guru Chris Taylor has returned which the mega-hyped Supreme Commander which is said to take RTS games to a new level. The game offers much potential as players can compete as one of three races on distant battlefields, each with their own unique weapons and technologies.

As I played the game, I was at first impressed with the abilities to reclaim fallen units for mass necessary to create new units, and that many of the units could be upgraded as a player’s technology level increased.

The game also offers a nice array of land, sea, and air units that allow players to develop attack and defense postures that suit their styles. For example, if you prefer to pound them on the ground to open a hole in the enemy’s defense line for your air units, then you may do so.

Sadly, once you get past the initial eye candy, numerous issues in the game arise. One thing is the amazingly poor unit A.I. that happens at a frustrating level. I commanded a squadron of bombers to stay put at a locale while I built up my forces, only to see them and other units time and time again rush off into battle on their own.

Another issue for me was the fact that the game cut scenes were complete with a voice track, but when you are in game, and getting commands from your superiors, the commands come in via text message. It is 2007 folks, when I am in the middle of a battle; I do not want to take the time to have to read text, when voice conversations should have been included.

Despite my early frustrations, I continued on in the game, and soon discovered another issue with the game. One mission required me to relocate units to a base and then evacuate them. The problem is that it never said what units it needed, so I moved all of them to the new base, and was constantly frustrated by a counter that listed 3 sets of numbers but required me to move units over one style at a time to learn exactly what they expected me to move.

Undaunted, I decided to try the multiplayer portion of the game, and found that even though I had the latest update patch, the game still wanted to patch and posted numerous errors when trying to update to allow access to the online network for the game. I finally solved this by locating a folder in the game directory and patching manually.

Once in multiplay, the game was so slow, that is was practically unplayable with four human players all boasting high end systems and high speed connections. Case in point, a bomber took 5 minutes to go from one side of the map to another.

Another bug noted in the game was that at times when I attempted to start the game from the icon on my taskbar, the system would reboot. As a person who worked in tech support for years in the early days of my writing career, I of course know the need for updated drivers and a lack of other programs running and I can assure you that none of those reasons were behind the system rebooting. I had to take to opening and closing my DVD drive to get the game menu up to play.

Graphically the game has some nice features, and the explosions in the game are very well rendered and make up for the average to poor sound of the game and the poor voice work.

I had very high hopes for Supreme Commander based on the hype and early reviews. Sadly the game is buggy and dull and does not rate more to me than a good idea gone horribly wrong.

My advice ignores the hype, skip this one and wait for Command and Conquer 3.

2 stars out of 5