Supreme Commander Demo Impressions

To be honest, I had never heard of this game before, and never saw it from any previous E3 footage. I saw the demo available for download recently, looked into it, and decided to try it out.

Supreme Commander is a real-time strategy game that features three forces with three major campaigns in single player. There is the Cybran Nation, The United Earth Federation, and the Aeon Illuminate. The Symbionts, a fusion of man and technology, seek to free themselves from the Earth Empire. A group of Symbionts fled to freedom and formed the Cybran Nation, and now seek to free the rest of their kind. The United Earth Federation (UEF) was formed from the remains of the Earth Empire, their only goal is to unify the galaxy, no matter the cost. The Aeon Illuminate are the human disciplines from an extinct alien race. They seek to cleanse the galaxy so “The Way” can flourish. In this demo, the only thing playable is the Cybran Nation’s campaign.

You start off as a young commander of the Cybran Nation who’s given orders to rescue some of your people the UEF has held captive. You’re thrown into a battlefield on the first mission, and the basic RTS tutorial starts up, you’re told to construct several buildings, then units, and learn how to control them. The interface is easy to use, and even customizable, you can choose what you want to display, such as mini-maps, objectives, and commands. You can zoom out extremely far to see the entire battlefield, and zoom back in seamlessly and watch buildings construct new units. You don’t start out with a wide range of things to create in the demo, but the game features over 250 units and buildings to construct. The game also features an infinite build system, there’s no limit on the amount of buildings or units you construct. The only thing to worry about is the balance of your economy’s resources. Efficient use of Mass and Energy can keep your base running flawlessly, if you’re not keeping track of how of how fast you’re draining your resources, construction can halt.

The game’s graphics are nothing special, and the effects aren’t that visually pleasing. You have to realize the scale of this game, the battlefields can become so large, you literally can’t see the entire battle until you zoom out further, so you won’t see a lot of the effects. The sound effects are also good, hearing all the mayhem going on in a massive dogfight or base assault keeps you aware of what’s happening. Supreme Commander is also the first RTS game to feature dual-monitor support. I didn’t test out this feature because I was too lazy to pull out my old CRT monitor from the basement storage room, partially from the fear that it might explode, it’s very old… but I’m sure being able to see the entire battlefield on one screen while zoomed in on another screen commanding several engineers to construct a wide range of buildings would be very beneficial.

The demo didn’t feature any sort of multi-player, but 8 players can battle it out online or via LAN. It’s the part of the game I want to experience the most. So I’m hoping for a multi-player demo soon!

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