Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance (PC)

THQ and Gas Powered Games have released an impressive expansion pack for their popular real-time strategy series Supreme Commander with Forged Alliance for the PC. The new iteration doesn’t require gamers to own the original but adds a ton of new content to the franchise. Multiplayer gamers will be happy to learn that the new edition includes ten new maps, several new game types and characters for use in the game. Those new to the series will be happy to know that the same solid gameplay that made the original so popular remains in this edition as well. Look inside for more details on this excellent new expansion pack.

Developed by legendary designer Chris Taylor, Supreme Commander became a runaway hit upon release last year with its deep storyline featuring rival factions. This RTS featured massively scaled levels and an excellent mix of futuristic weaponry, ships and structures that allowed for an unprecented sense of scale that really made the game stand out from the pack. The cool zoom in feature and intuitive interface combined for an excellent title that became one of the best-selling PC strategy titles on the market. While the gameplay in Supreme Commander was immediately popular with players, so its no surprise that THQ has decided to stick with a winning formula for the series and commissioned this outstanding expansion pack, Forged Alliances, which is an appropriate moniker considering the circumstances of its release. This expansion includes more than 100 new vehicles and items to use, dozens of new multiplayer maps and an expanded faction system that includes an entirely new faction that enhances the play mechanics and strategies that made the original title so appealing.

Even with all these new additions and enhancements, Forged Alliance doesn't change the basic formula too much, and the new game's structure and feel operates much like the original, though the new graphics engine feels sharper and better focused this time around. The gameplay worlds are much larger as well, giving players much greater flexibility when planning and implementing their attacks. Forged Alliance offers players dozens of options and items, each of which can serve a distinct purpose. For example, while the navy ships were a bit of an add-on in the original game, they've been beefed up this time and now play an integral role in the action. Making this even better, all of the units at your disposal can now be customized and tweaked on the fly in an easy, intuitive system that makes it much easier to control your forces. Like the original Supreme Commander, one of the most impressive aspects of the new game is the sheer scale of things, where you can view a battle consisting of dozens of units simultaneously, with all the action visibile on screen at once. This makes the battles much more intense and visceral than in many of the more clinical strategy games on the market, and the impressive animations make the game even more dynamic and exciting than before. This is definitely one of those games where you'll find yourself slowly getting into things and before you know it, you find yourself hopelessly engrossed in the action.

Supreme Commander's back story is fairly interesting as well. The game begins with the existing three factions, Aeon Illuminate, Cybran Nation and United Earth Federation battling it out for control in a planet-wide battle. Suddenly, a new alien faction called the Seraphim appear and unleash a new wave of alien technology on their opponents, which dramatically changes the feel of the game. This adds many new weapons, items and experimental technology onto the battlefield which gives the game even more added depth. In addition to standard tech like mechs, tanks, jets and gun turrets, players will be able to use torpedo launchers, aircraft carriers, orbital satellites and quantum generators to unleash attacks. In order to use these items, players first need to place and create various factories to produce these items but your production is limited by the factory type and level you build, so you need to be smart about what you choose. Each faction in the game brings a number of unique items and tools to the table, which makes the strategy for each side very different. Because the game takes place in real time, the effects of each decision are immediate so you need to make sure your actions are both accurate and decisive.

While the gameplay is quite addictive throughout, Supreme Commander's single player mission is the main thrust of the game and this makes for an engaging and challenging experience that requires many hours to complete and defeat. However, the new Forged Alliance hasn't forgotten the online component, and this new installment features enhanced support for up to 16 players at the same time. Most of the commands use a good combination of mouse and keyboard to perform, and these are mapped out effectively to make for an easy to learn interface. From a visual standpoint, the game looks razor sharp with an excellent, coherent design that creates a consistent, believable world throughout. This is one of the deepest and most enjoyable RTS titles on the market because it gives players an almost unlimited set of options on an expansive battlefield. The gameplay itself is smartly balanced, with each faction offering an excellent mix of defensive and attacking units and systems, to make every move count towards your ultimate victory or defeat. While it doesn't change much about the formula, it expands it effectively, which makes for an even deeper and more satisfying experience overall. Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance's impressive array of new features and additions makes it a superb expansion that brings everything PC owners enjoyed about the original game and adds more than enough content to make its purchase an excellent bargain for RTS players.

- Michael Palisano

Grade: C+

Related Reviews

Half Life 2 (Xbox)
Half Life 2: Episode 1 (PC)