Supreme Commander 2, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and others

Supreme Commander 2
Ah supreme commander what an odd duck that was enjoyable but quite different and as everyone remembers a game Rog completely thrashed me at several games in a row. It did a lot of things different to other rps's and in someways that put people off it also had a lot of nice touches the ability to churn out units straight into a transport ferry site that would automatically move them to your prefered staging point. The ability to chain up upgrades setting a factory upgrading and automatically queue up the new unit it would be able to build when it got there. It also had a great sense of scale with a great zoom from small units to massive experimental units and the ability to zoom smoothly from close up to tactical view and still have full control was nice.

Anyway last week the sequel came out and it's stripped a lot of what made the first game unique away for better and worse. Gone are the tech levels there is no tech 1 tech 2 tech 3 instead it now has a research tree that allows you to gain bonuses for existing unit/building/ACU and unlock new unit types. This gets rid of the multiple levels of engineers they now just come in one form and you don't need to have the latest and greatest engineer to build the new stuff. Engineers are a little more smart now if given nothing to do or set on a patrol they will automatically repair damage units/buildings or salvage resources. This means you can set a few to run around you base and they will fix things up and salvage any dead units for mass. You don't seem to be able to chain up multiple engineers to speed production anymore though you can assign one to help a factory.

The economy is similar to the previous game you have mass and electricity you get mass form mass extractors (which can only be built on mass deposits) and electricity from power plants. Some of the higher tech levels allow you to build things like mass constructors or the like that will turn electricity directly into mass. You can also salavage dead units for mass. It's the typically ballancing act of ensuring you gain as much mass as possible to keep churning out the units.

They've also added a third resource called research points that you gain slowly by building research facilities (the more you have the faster you gain points) and by finding tech caches in the game. These points allow you to upgrade the five tech trees (air, land, sea, structures, and ACU) each tree has a few paths you can pick and it's up to you where you spend the points so you can focus on one area or spread the development out.

It's the same sort of mix of land, air, and sea with standard units all coming out of their respective factorys. Factories now have add ons which allow you to attach things like an anti air tower or a shield and so on. You can also loop production queues and set the rally points into a air transport ferry queue to just churn out units and have them shipped to the front lines.

The experimental units also return and they come as a mix of units and buildings. Each faction has it's own unique units usually a couple of air, land and sea experimental, all built from experimental factories then a few buildings. So the human faction has the awesome Noah unit cannon. It acts as a factory building units into a queue then when loaded you can select a spot and it will fire all the units across the map to rain down where you select.

The story is played out over a series of missions in three stages (each stage with a different faction) it's not especially well explained but it seems to be about the fall of an alliance between the humans,illuminate, and cybrans. It seems entertaining enough but given this is and rts they rarely have a lot of story involved.

The graphics are pretty good the units wonderfully detailed with moving parts and detailed textures. The effects of all the weapons are fun.

All in all this feels a bit like a simplified version of supreme commander it feels more like a run of the mill rts than something different and in someways that's a shame it has lost some of it's uniqueness. It's still good fun if you like RTS's and it keeps a lot of the refinements but it does usually devolve down to build a base build enough defences to protect it form the the waves of attack. Send wave after wave of your own men to their deaths. Or build a load of the experimental units (6-8 seems a good number) and roll them over the enemy base.

Battlefield Bad Company 2
I never played the first one of this it was a console fps and got a fairly mixed reception but the buzz around the sequel suggested they had put a lot of work into making the single player worth going for so I gave it a whirl. I've only played it enough for first impressions so maybe I'll say more later.

This is a very pretty game glorious foliage and snow levels I think one uping even Crysis for it's graphical fidelity. The environments are destructible and that of course comes into play in the game but it also adds realism. So far the story seems good starting in WW2 on a secret Japanese island a stealth mission to snatch a defecting Japanese scientist. It has a nice mix of stealth run and gun and vehicle sections that get's you into the grove fairly quickly. After that is over it moves to what I assume is present day or near future.

I've not looked into the multiplayer though it features one of the annoying modern trend unlocks which just cripple the game for anyone who didn't play it day one.

Anyway so far a very pretty shooter with some nice touches.

Mount and Blade
this has technically been out for ages indeed I got it for 4 quid in the steam christmas sale but I only recently got round to giving it a go. It's a sort of fanstasy medieval kingdom game (it has swords but no sorcery) where you play as a mercenary out to make your fortune. How you go about this is really up to you the scale is quite epic. You go from one bloke on a horse to commanding armys owning towns villages and even apointing yourself king and engaging in seige warfare.

It has no story just a load of probably auto generated areas you are just dumped there and you can get on with it recruiting followers gaining experience and money through what ever means you feel like. You can trade you can do missions you can just roam the countryside battling theives or you can become a theif yourself. The world has an economy and each town village and castle a like or dislike level. The also have lords who rule over the various provinces who also either like or dislike you (you cna change this by preforming missions which vary from simple courier missions to collecting taxes, assasinations, war or even spying.

The combat engine is quite fun, there are a variety of weapons One handed, two handed, archery, crossbows, polearms, and thrown weapons. Using them successfully levels up your skill with them allowing you to do more damage or be more accurate. The attacking and defending on melee is a fairly standard direction system with swipes on either side or thrusts or overhead attack blocking is just a matter of anticipating which direction the attack is coming from and matching it. There is also the mount aspect of Mount and blade you get a horse and can attack from it the additional speed from the horse adds to the damage done on a successful hit. You can hire companions and troops. Troops typically come from villages they start as little more than farmers with pitch forks but as they gain experience become more formidable and ride horses their equipment and stats leveling up. With companions you have more control they cost more to hire but they add to your parties skills like a surgeon will fix up wounded troops in between battles. You can also outfit them with better equipment and select how they level up.

So far I've barely scratched the skin of the game, I got on fairly well till my 20 troops took on an army of 85 and lost badly since then I've spent a lot of time as a prisoner and only recently rebuilt my army. Thundering across the planes with 20 other troops all on horse back is quite a laugh and the army sizes I've seen wandering about the map go up to the hundreds so I can't wait to see that.

The graphics may put a lot of people off they are somewhat simplistic (though I have heard there are mod that improve them) nice enough just not exactly cutting edge.

The game also has a very strong mod community with new versions set in space with fire arms with new campaigns a multitude of additional things to do and see.

Anyway I'd recommend picking it up if you fancy a bit of open world fun


Gamers gate have Mount and Blade on special for a fiver

Evilmatt's picture

SC1 was mind boggling. I am not sure I really got into it that much. Having played DoW a bit, I think I prefer squad-level RTS. Even thought the DoW cut scenes put me to sleep.

BC2 is something I'm keeping an eye on. I like my WW2 shooters. I like them a lot, although I prefer the campaigns set in Europe.

Mount and Blade isn't normally my cup of tea but for a fiver, I'm going to give it a punt! Thanks for the top tip!

brainwipe's picture

I've found a couple of graphics enhancement add ons for mount and blade that I'm going to give a whirl tonight so I'll post up if they are any good

Evilmatt's picture

If you liked squad based RTS's with some pseudo RPG leanings then the new expansion to dawn of war 2 is out Chaos Rising which sounds pretty good I had a go on it last night but only did the first mission so bit early to tell.

Evilmatt's picture

I have DoW2, of course. Bought it in the pack of all the other stuff. Chaos Rising does look excellent!

brainwipe's picture

Hm. Supreme Commander 2 is £2.50 on Steam today. For that price I'd recommend it to anyone. It's really got very little in common with SC1; it's more fast paced, smaller in scale and is basically about building hilarious experimental units and then squashing the enemy with them. It's something I'd thought about suggesting for cons (I'd say it's got more in common with DoW than SC1,) but didn't want to suggest people risk a full-price game.

AggroBoy's picture

Purchased! Will let you know my thoughts.

Nibbles's picture

Bought! Thanks for the tip.

brainwipe's picture

So far I have a achieved a good squashing at the hands of enemy experimental units. The compulsion to build my own is a strong one tho...

Nibbles's picture

Oh, I forgot to mention; the campaign is pretty pants by all accounts. I never actually bothered with it; I went straight for skirmish games.

AggroBoy's picture

I do seem to be awfully talkative for a futuristic killing machine... I'm sucking at it majorly atm. Intend on sticking with it until I can build some half decent Experimentals and have the first buggering clue about what I'm doing at any one time. On that note...

How do you upgrade units?

Nibbles's picture

It works a bit different than in SC1. You accumulate "research points" which are (I think) displayed at the top left of the screen. Clicking on that number should pull down a what do you want to research window. Once you have the points, spending them is instant, and will immediately upgrade all appropriate units in the field, as well as the ones you build from that point on. The tech-tree is only moderately deep, but each upgrade makes a pretty significant difference to your units' effectiveness (or makes whole new units available.)

Edit: Should add that you accrue research points at a basic rate regardless, but it's a good idea to build research buildings to speed that up.

AggroBoy's picture

Cheers, I've been upgrading various buildings through the tree so will suss out where the units are... I think as I'm in campaign mode various bits of it are hidden as I can't seem to unlock half of it.

First impressions are good tho, I like having a proper strategic view of the field and the joy involved in sending 30 odd bombers to their doom was significant. :)

Nibbles's picture