Supreme Commander Review

Suffering the inherent disadvantage of being a classic top-down real-time strategy game on a platform with 100% less keyboard-and-mouse control, Supreme Commander on the Xbox 360 immediately has an uphill battle to fight. Hellbent Games has made a valiant effort to retool Gas Powered Games’ 2007 PC release for the home console, but in the end, this version is wholly inferior to the original.

Supreme Commander is a typical RTS for the most part, with three factions locked in bitter conflict for control of the galaxy. Players choose one of these groups and embark on a six-mission campaign, harvesting “mass” and building power generators to sustain their war machine, comprised of a variety of units and structures from an extensive tiered engineering system. The Xbox 360 version features a few units not seen in the original.

The major selling point of the title, though, is the epic scale of the battles that players will engage in, commanding massive armies over vast, expanding maps. The missions start small, but the battlefield grows with each successfully completed objective, leading to marathon engagements that can last 2-3 hours apiece. It isn’t uncommon to find yourself managing a handful of individual skirmishes at one time, each from a different point on the map.

The ability to zoom in and out to an incredible degree is nice, but in the heat of battle, it can be difficult to direct the camera to a position that is conducive to managing your troops efficiently. I often found myself switching between the minimum and maximum zoom levels to first evaluate the battlefield and then to command my army. The perfect balance between the two is elusive, to say the least.

The entire control scheme, by nature of the genre and the platform, is quite cumbersome. Players may find that navigating menus and issuing orders in a timely and effective manner is a battle in itself, thanks to the dual analog + d-pad control scheme and a curious lack of on-screen information to guide their actions. In addition, player-controlled troops are sometimes unresponsive, which can be frustrating, especially when there are a number of micro-tasks to carry out.

Besides the main campaign mode, Supreme Commander also includes an online multiplayer mode, as well as skirmish mode, which is essentially a single-player emulation of multiplayer matches where AI opponents take the place of their flesh-and-blood counterparts. The games are highly customizable, and the Xbox 360 version features two brand new game types: King of the Hill (hold “the hill” to earn points) and Command Point (control a number of key positions on the map). Unit caps have been reduced to accommodate the 360, thus reducing the scope of multiplayer games, but also preventing game-breaking lag.

Overall, Supreme Commander for the Xbox 360 is a passable RTS, but one can tell that there is something better hidden beneath the unintuitive gameplay that unfortunately mars the experience and detracts from the fun that players could have potentially had with the game.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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