Supreme Commander was great but how well does Supreme Commander : Forged Alliance fare? Let’s find out!
The 3 conflicting factions, the UEF, the Cybran and the Aeon from Supreme Commander, are forced to unite when a new alien race called the Seraphims appear and threaten the existence of all.
The gameplay is no different from Supreme Commander. In fact I’ve decided to copy and paste the gameplay section from my review of Supreme Commander. 🙂 Just click on the link below if you wish to view the “repeated” gameplay portion. 😀
Just like Supreme Commander (SC), Supreme Commander : Forged Alliance (SC:FA) comes with campaign mode, skirmish mode and multi-player mode. For the campaign mode, you have a choice to play the campaign mode for any of the 3 factions . The story unfolds as you progress in the missions. Just like the missions in Supreme Commander, each mission comes with multiple objectives, the new objectives are added and operation areas are expanded upon completion of earlier objectives. So each mission is more like 4 missions crammed into 1.
SC:FA works just like SC, all factions play similarly while subtle differences among them calls for varying strategies for maximizing their effectiveness in combat. For example, the Cybrans do not have Tech 3 Shield Generators but they have great T2 Destroyers that could walk on land. 🙂
What I liked about SC:FA is that you’re allowed access even to Tech 4 units even in the first mission itself! Great huh? Unlike in SC where your first mission allowed you only a few miserable units and if I’m not mistaken, you’re stuck with Tech 1 for quite a while. 🙁
Besides having a new faction, SC also introduced quite a number of new unit and structures. These new additions are made available as you progress through the game. Furthermore, I notice that you could now build upon your destroyed structures and save 50% of the build time. Woohoo!
Now let’s have a look at a few things I didn’t like about SC:FA.
Unlike SC where all 3 factions come with a set of campaign of their own that sets them apart, SC:FA uses the same set of campaign for all 3 factions! This is a really disappointing move in my opinion. So it’s basically playing the campaign 3 times with different unit sets. 🙁
Another thing I hate about SC:FA is that the unrealistic “operation area expanded” way of mission-flow. Heck it’s not even logical. Now being a commander of a military force that’s out to save civilizations, it’s damn ridiculous to not being able to know the entire operation area isn’t it? Logically speaking, it doesn’t make sense for any commander to not have any details on the area of operation and the location of both allied and enemy military forces.
Quite often the “OPERATION AREA EXPANDED” also means “YOU’RE IN TROUBLE”. Woah, suddenly the black piece of covering was removed, lo and behold – a huge enemy base on the upper right corner with a bunch of units coming your way. “WTH!?!?!” would be the next reaction, followed by frantic pace of mass production, unit re-organization and of course – a prayer for survival. Does it make sense? Not at all! As a commander, should I not have complete details of what I’m up against? Apparently not, Chris Taylor and his crew really have to work on this part. Sure it adds to the surprise factor of the game but it sure isn’t logical in terms of engaging full-scale military operations. I’m far from being a SUPREME commander if I can’t have proper intel on what’s going on around the neighborhood!
And last but not least, the stupid bumper car issue. Units would knock each other like bumper cars when they lack space, for example a bunch of engineers trying to build something, or perhaps a group of Fatboys getting into formation. This lack of intelligence has cost me quite a bit in executing tactical moves.
Does the game have stability issues? I believe it does, I had a few crashes but it’s not something that happened often enough to the height of irritation.
Well, despite the above mentioned negative points, SC:FA is still a great game to play.
Graphics & Sound
The game looked a lot better than the original SC. Everything else comes in better detail. While the looks have improved, it’s not something you’ll spend time admiring. Quite often you’ll be zooming in and out between the battle scene to the tactical map.
Speaking of the tactical map, SC:FA has improved the interface greatly to maximize the view area. What caught my attention was the feature to play split screen and even to have cartographic view of the map.
As for the sound, it’s just a bunch of whoosh, bim, bang, boom. 🙂 The soundtrack of the game showed much improvement, unlike the original SC where the music is pretty repetitive, SC:FA offers more number of soundtrack and they don’t sound bad. The only issue I had was that the sound-effect practically drowned the soundtrack, I had to maximize the music volume and lowering the sound-effects volume to around 25% to get a decent balance.
I also did encounter stuttered execution of the cut-scenes, the scenes between the objectives in the missions. It happened on practically every cut. Looks like even the overclocked Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2140 has met its match because from what I gathered, users of the Intel Core2Quad Q6600 did not encounter this issue. I tried lowering graphic detail and resolution, it didn’t help so I really think it’s processor limitation.
Anyway other than that, a nice touch the developers did for the game would be a loading screen that’s tied to the faction of your choice, e.g. UEF’s loading screen is blue. Then there’s also the user interface that’s tied with the faction of your choice, e.g. green-themed interface for Aeon. That doesn’t mean the interface changes completely, it’s just a change of color.
Skirmish Mode & Online Gaming
Skirmish mode is more fun on SC:FA compared to SC. Not only do you have an additional faction to play, you now also have more units and structures to add to the tactical challenge.
As for the AI, there’s the normal AI which is as dumb as it could be, I had a game where I took down 2 bases with low-level air units as the AI had no anti-air turrets build throughout the entire course of the skirmish. Then there’s the CHEATING AI which obviously cheats and beats you hands down when it comes to resource gathering and unit building. Pretty much useless for 1 on 1 skirmish unless you love the challenge of beating your survival time. 🙂 On the other hand it can be really fun to play against a super AI, e.g. 3 humans vs 1 super AI.
SC:FA also comes with a set of new maps, which is a plus point!
Playing via GPGNet was trouble-free, the only annoyance is the SC:FA will only be launched when you’re about to engage in a game and you need to exit the game to return to GPGNet. So yeah, basically # of games means # of times you are needed to load SC:FA. Sure, it’ll launch the game for you automatically but man, it’s irritating! All the more reason to play via direct connection.
I’m most disappointed with the lack of variation when it comes to faction campaigns. Furthermore, the campaigns are in lack of logic when it comes to military operations.
Nevertheless I enjoy the game for its tactical flexibility which very few RTS provides.
PC Specifications Used
The computer setup used for this review.
|Processor||Intel E2140 Overclocked @ 3.2ghz|
|Graphic Card||Albatron 8800GT 512MB|
|RAM||2x 1GB Kingston DDR2 667 @ DDR2 800|
|Monitor||20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD|
|Operating System||Windows XP (SP2)|
|Driver Version||ForceWare 169.09|