Supreme Commander is a real time strategy title that was been born out of the success of Total Annihilation, an exceedingly popular 1997 strategy game. Centred around mechanical units known as Armoured Command Units (ACU) it’s a futuristic war like adventure that offers a deep level of mechanical strategy for players to utilise in large scale combat scenarios.
In this future science fiction inspired setting humanity has not only invented these powerful war machines but also reached a point of space travel which makes it possible to jump across the galaxy quickly through an invention known as the quantum gateway. With the ability to travel the stars though the United Earth Empire (UEF) began to crumble which has created 3 distinct factions spread across a wide area of the galaxy. With the ability to open these quantum gateways shared equally amongst the fractured human population an infinite war for control over planets and resources has began.
Over time these fractured factions known as the Cybran Nation and Aeon Illuminate have also created a broader goal that sees Cybran enhancing themselves with implantable technology and Aeon creating a devout religion around a philosophy known as The Way. This infinite war is central to the single player campaign with each faction having their own external and internal issues that are explored and ultimately overcome. At the core of this adventure is the development of a new powerful weapon called the Black Sun of the UEF which is capable of wiping out planets in a single shot. This planet destroyer has other uses though and the faction who ends up with it in their hands will be able to achieve their ultimate objective, a choice that is ultimately up to players.
In total this story is told over the the campaign 18 missions, although this equals only 6 for each faction which means players will only achieve the full experience if they explore what each ahs to offer. While the raw number may still seem slightly lower than comparable real time strategy titles the missions in Supreme Commander are typically much larger than similar titles with multiple objectives for players to achieve on a mission.
A common theme across the three factions is the player assuming control of an inexperienced commander for their faction that has to overcome great odds. Each mission generally starts with players only possessing a single ACU with the loss of it resulting in defeat. From this starting base unit a number of units and structures can be created which are defined by four technology levels, with each tier offering more efficiency and strength than the previous tier in a familiar strategy gameplay loop.
These four tiers alter gameplay as players grow from weak level 1 units to powerful experimental technology that hide deep within level 4 and bring a unique personality of each faction to their design. Throughout these technology tiers you’ll find options that range from basic scouts to fast moving assault units or large stationary cannons that can co-ordinate a massive attack on structures.
In order to build any of these units though you’ll need to manage your two resources of mass and energy within Supreme Commander. Energy is fairly plentiful and generated by power generators that are constructed by the player as you progress through a particular scenario to ensure a steady reliable stream for your use case. Meanwhile mass must be collected from certain map locations or created by converting energy into mass and as a result is often the strategic resource of your conflict.
All of this comes together on massive maps which uses a strategic zoom mechanic to help players to navigate the massive maps and absorb necessary strategic information at any time. This focus on size is not limited to the map either with the higher tier units being massive in size in comparison to tier 1 units and even able to kill them simply by stopping on them that further supports the level of growth in scale across technology tiers.
- A large scale game of warfare set in the distant future with three competing factions that have their own goals and campaign missions.
- 4 tiers of technology for players to advance through that go from basic shared faction units to unique experimental options.
- Wide range of interesting units to command on an epic combat scale beyond other real time strategy titles.
- Utilise economic planning, veteran units and planning ahead building adjacency bonuses to conquer the battlefield.
- The first in the Supreme Commander series for Windows and Xbox 360.
Review Platform: PC