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Supreme Commander 2 Demo Impressions

Supreme Commander 2 Demo Impressions

Publisher: Square ENIX
Platform: PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: March 5th, 2010

The imminent arrival of Supreme Commander 2 might come as a surprise to some – it’s certainly managed to skip must of the pre-release hype and pomp you’d usually associate with a high profile release, and after a few brief glimpses of some new units we’re now treated to a full demo before the games release next week. Is it just us, or does it feel like this release has come in very much under the radar?

The lack of hype surrounding the game is especially baffling considering the overwhelmingly positive consensus on the original SupCom. Here was a game that was genuinely made for the PC (before being ported to the Xbox 360), with some suitably merciless system requirements and battles the scale of which haven’t been matched since.

Huge maps, eight player multiplayer with literally thousands of units on screen at once and frankly epic “experimental” units that were as much a joy to behold as they were to crush the pathetic forces of your enemies – who doesn’t love the giant laser wielding metal spiders after all?

Supreme Commander 2 Demo Impressions
Optimus Prime would be proud

The sequel then has a lot to live up to, with lead designer Chris Taylor and his studio, Gas Powered Games, inviting us all to try before we buy with a playable demo. Encompassing two missions from the single player UEF campaign, it’s given us a taste for some of the changes that have been made and what to look forward to in SupCom2. Or not.

One thing that’s immediately obvious though is how little has changed visually from the original SupCom – in fact, SupCom 2 runs on a largely unchanged version of the original’s engine. This is likely due to the choice to release the game simultaneously on both Xbox 360 and PC, and we have to admit that SupCom 2 lacks some of the visual “wow” factor of its predecessor.

Supreme Commander 2 Demo Impressions
Fire all lasers!

Of course, we appreciate that developers want their games to be playable on the maximum amount of hardware and that the original SupCom doubtlessly alienated some of its audience due to the high system requirements, but it’s a shame to see such little improvement over the three year old original’s visuals.

The huge scale of the game has also been toned down to some degree, with the two levels available in the demo not only smaller than those SupCom veterans will be familiar with, but much more linear as well. There’s still a feeling of large scale strategy, no doubt, but the sprawling levels that had to be zoomed out all the way seem to have been put to one side in favour of a more scripted gameplay experience, in the single player segment of the game at least.