This is what’s great about SupCom 2: very different units, eating each other. In SupCom 1, if we got a Tech 3 factory up before you, we could produce a unit to deal with anything you threw at us. In SupCom 2, if you come at us with nanoshielded gunships and we’ve spent all our Research Points unlocking the Fatboy experimental mega-tank, we’re boned. Your decision about what to spend resources on is now more important than how efficiently you produce them.
Rather than hiding these options away in icons that only pop up once you’ve built a certain factory, everything you can construct and upgrade is laid out on a Research screen. Land units, air units, naval units, your structures and your commander each have a separate tech-tree of upgrades and unlockable units, including huge Experimentals.
The Research Points you spend on this stuff accumulate over time – faster when you kill things, and faster still once you’ve built some labs. Because they’re scarce early on, your strategy almost always revolves around the shortest possible route to unlocking something major.
By the time you’ve got it, of course, Research Points are coming thick and fast, so good strategies tend to have a phase two. That’s how the Cybrannosaurus Bubblebath came about: the dino takes a long time to earn and is very slow. By the time we’ve built him, we’re earning Research Points fast enough to quickly unlock the Experimental Air Transport and give him a ride to the enemy base.
Another strategy we like is Fire a Nuclear Warhead at Them, Killing Them. It doesn’t always work. If the enemy knows what you’re up to, they can build counter-nukes to intercept. That’s why you should back it up with the Illuminate Space Temple: it lets you teleport a strike force inside your enemy’s shields, destroy their nuclear defence silo, and teleport back just in time to see your warhead launch. Be careful not to play in the same room as someone you’re going to do this to, though, as it could easily trigger a counter-attack of Being Punched in the Face.
So the biggest change in SupCom 2 is a positive one: a clear and fun tech system that gets you coming up with two-phase plans and counter-strategies involving robots, magnets, nukes and bubblebath.
It also scores points for running faster than its predecessor: we get 40fps when zoomed-in during a six-player match of the first game, 80 when zoomed out. In the same sized conflict, SupCom 2 glides along at 90fps zoomed in, 70 zoomed out.