Supreme Commander 2 review

  • Badass experimental units
  • Much more newbie friendly
  • Emphasizes strategy over clicking
  • Battles are scaled down
  • Skirmish AI is limp
  • Multiplayer seems to have uncounterable strategies

The rest of the changes are bad, but not disastrous. The worst is that the AI this time is just limp. It puts up a decent fight in the campaign, where missions stack the odds hugely in its favour, but in Skirmish it can’t match even an average player like us. We could only take on the smartest AIs in SupCom by making them fight each other: here, we can reliably beat a team of four. The only tougher setting is Cheating, which nukes you in a few minutes. We’re not looking to get obliterated; we’d just like an AI that can navigate the tech tree well enough to build an Experimental when we do. Currently, the only way to see a clash of the titans is to make a cup of tea after building yours.

It’s also smaller game. There’s only one eight-player map here, and it’s a drab, shrunk rehash of one from the first game: Seton’s Clutch. It’s still great, but that makes it all the more maddening: there should be dozens like this, and bigger still, because the tech system works even better for large-scale war. It’s only on a huge battleground that strategies of position, timing and logistics come into play: SupCom 1 was a deliberate demonstration of that.

Despite the AI and map size, Skirmish is still the best way to play. The other two modes, Multiplayer and Campaign, each have their own trouble with the new Research Trees. In multiplayer, some strategies just seem uncounterable. Most of your time-investment in a strategy – spending Research Points – happens in secret.

So by the time we see you start to build a nuke silo, it’s too late for us to earn enough Research Points to unlock nuke defence before you obliterate us. Similarly, if we research a Cybran Soul Ripper gunship, by the time you see us building one it’s too late to get up enough anti-air to destroy it.

The campaign is surprisingly worthwhile. You have to play as each of the three factions in turn, but the UEF commander you start as is an unusually likeable chap. When an early villain laughs, “You really think those Fatboys will stop me?” Maddox says exactly what we would have: “Honestly? Yeah.”

There are still way too many missions where your objective is "Defend this shitty base I shittily made for you against an unknown number of unknown enemies from an unknown direction until - too late! they got past the turrets I pointlessly placed miles from the base by coming from an angle I forgot to say they might come from."

The bigger problem is that each faction’s tech-trees are restricted until the final mission, so you get one chance per race to try all of the most interesting stuff in the game. SupCom 2 is all about the tech trees: locking bits of them off reduces the campaign to a 12-hour tutorial.

So SupCom 2 is a great game struggling to find the right format. Skirmish is as close as it gets: it’s enormous fun despite the toothless AI, particularly if you play with a friend and stack the bots against you. We play every lunchtime now, and talk constantly about what strategy we’re going to try next.

What makes it so infectious is partly the diverse and ridiculous units, partly the way their specialised weaponry tesselates, and partly the system for unlocking them. It keeps you thinking about the roads not taken, the pairings not combined, and the hyperdeathbots unbuilt.

Mar 2, 2010

More Info

Release date: Mar 02 2010 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Gas Powered Games
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • Jospan - September 3, 2010 11:09 p.m.

    I had bought Dawn of War Soulstorm a few years back and was blown away with it. Just last week I took a look at the demo disk that had been included. On that disk was SupCom FA, I was blown away!!! Finally a RTS that actually required strategy to play efectivly. I loved the fact that air units had a fuel limit and didn't just hover around, it really added a sense of realism to the game. (Sorry to dissapoint but real things don't just float.) Second the economic emphasis was amazing, and added another level of strategy. It made it of prime importance that you target economic structures to soften up your enemy and bring down things like shields, radar, sonar, ect... Two days ago I bought SupCom2... This game is a flop! Completly dumbed down. I can not say enough to say how this game has become just another rts, so I won't. I can only say that if you want "just another rts" get it and continue doing the same lame stuff that you always have (rushing and other noobish things) or get SupCom1 or SupCom FA and be mind boggled by it's intricacies and various lovely bits. And to the developers, Be ashamed! and I see now why this game is a flop, you let SquarEnix ruin it just like FF 13
  • HateCrapWare - March 9, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    To bad the review doesn't mention the fact that the game doesn't allow you to save when playing skirmish. Not sure if that's a bug or intentional, either way it sucks
  • drizztmainsword - March 6, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    This game should shame the developers. There feel of this game is nothing like the first one. The scale? Smaller. The number of available units? Smaller. The number of units in a given game? Smaller. The resource system? Completely lackluster and derivative. The pacing? Exceptionally fast. It feels like Starcraft, it looks like a candy shop, and the "maps" are effectively a web of hallways. What I wanted from the sequel to my favorite RTS of all times was a game that could handle upwards of 4000 units in the game at once without choking on itself. I wanted a game that took the epic scale of the first and said "let's do that again, but BIGGER." I'll be sticking to Supreme Commander 1 thank you very much. Please go and make a true sequel without dumbing it down for the console crowd.
  • psycros - March 4, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    Sigh..."Supreme Disappointment" would've been a better title, judging by this review. So they basically turned it into a cross between Warzone 2100 and Beast Wars. Nice going, Chris - what you got planned next, Demigod II: Electric Boogaloo? Oh well, back to TA for another decade..
  • - March 3, 2010 4:44 a.m.

    Loved the first =D we shall see on this one...
  • KevIrl92 - March 2, 2010 6:29 p.m.

    I loved the first game and still play it to this day, but when i read some of the previews and played the demo for myself i knew i was not going to be getting this game. HeavyTank's points are valid and i agree with him completely because it feels nothing like the original game. I like the resources in vs. resources out economy system of the first game. It was one of the main reasons i still play the first over other rts's i own like AOE. The game has been made the same as soooo many other RTS games and with the economy system gone it only has one of the two things left(the experimentals) that made it,IMO, stand out against the rest. (Phew first ever comment on the site and it was a wall of text. Lol)
  • Dirt5o8 - March 2, 2010 1:41 p.m.

    Ooooooh, I love rumors!
  • HeavyTank - March 2, 2010 12:05 p.m.

    Meh, the demo really wierded me out, why did they change all that stuff?The original was awesome, although yes, it was hard and yes, some units and structures were too expensive and took too much time to build. Still, they could've come up with something better than a dumbed-down game with units that look like goddamn plastic toys.. BTW, I'm still going to get it :P

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