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Developers: Gas Powered Games, Hellbent Games
System: Xbox 360
Genre: Real-time Strategy
Release date: Available now
Review by: Michele White
Space held such hope. Quantum gate networks allowed humanity to push deeper and deeper into space. Human cyborg implants were created, aliens were befriended, and then it all went horribly wrong. A short film explains all of the necessary back-story and catches the player up on events to date. A three faction war is being fought, with each faction firmly believing that their very survival is at stake. You are a new commander in this war, and your goal is to bring home victory for your side. These are the stakes in Supreme Commander.
Supreme Commander can either be played in single player or Xbox Live modes. Single player provides options for the Campaign or Skirmish mode. Like many other games of the genre, Skirmish mode is nearly identical to multiplayer, with the exception of AI opponents substituting for the real thing. An extensive tutorial gives a thorough explanation of the game’s mechanics and complex controls. There’s also a fairly hefty manual included that explains each technology in full detail.
Once you select your difficulty setting, you need to choose one of the three factions: Cybran, UEF or Aeon. When the UEF “enslaved” the Symbionts, Dr. Gustaf Breckman and a small band of Symbionts fled to the furthest reaches of space and formed the Symbiont nation (the Cybrans). From the tattered remains of the Earth Empire emerged the UEF, who seek to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity under a single banner, so that all of Earth’s children may live with order, justice and strength. The Aeon Illuminate are the human disciples of a now extinct alien race, whose legacy is one of lasting peace and universal harmony. The UEF might seem the moral bad guys in all of this, but I chose them first in order to start out with the same game basics as presented in the tutorial. Once you select your race the briefing starts.
Mission briefings are both thorough and interesting. Our forces are spread too thin, and attack is eminent. The President pshaws any suggestion of evacuation, and just like some presidents you might know, decides to simply throw more troops at the problem. You assume the role of a freshly made commander, and need to prepare to defend yourself against the Cybran attack. Once the briefing completes, you have the option of rewinding and fast forwarding it to make sure that you have all of the key information. Tips appear frequently at the top your screen, and there’s little independent thought required in the early going. You simply need to follow orders and do what you’re told. Build factories next to mass extractors or power generators to lower production costs. Mass and energy are the essential resources of the game and are required for building EVERYTHING. Mass is the more difficult resource to acquire, as you can initially only build mass extractors on top of mass deposits, which aren’t as plentiful as you would like.
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