|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gas Powered Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
As the stand-alone expansion pack to Supreme Commander, this title unites all previously warring factions against a common alien threat in a game called Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. As far as an expansion pack goes, this is a shining example of what one should be. Not only is it a stand-alone, which means you don't have to have the original to play it, but it improves on the original in virtually every aspect, from the gameplay to the graphics. If you like the original, you're simply going to love Forged Alliance.
Comparisons are inevitable. But if you haven't played the original game, making comparisons is like explaining color to a blind man. Just bear with me a moment, and let me do some explaining. The original game was a little heavy on the nerd factor. There was an awful lot of fussing going on, making this one of the more unnecessary complicated RTS games. Fortunately, I didn't have to review the original game. I tried playing it, but after a couple of hours I just didn't have the patience to deal with all of the micromanagement issues. It seemed like too much work for such little payback.
Forged Alliance isn't necessarily more accessible; it's just arranged more intuitively. Interface commands have been simplified, but not at the expense of depth. It will take some time investment, but the interface makes things a little easier, not only for programming commands, but it's more compact making the battlefield easier to see. It's my opinion that the gameplay that should be challenging, not the rules. With more emphasis on action, the game has really been kicked into high gear and seems to make the payback worth the commitment. Once the theory class is over, it's time for the practical exam. Time to kick some ass. The only real downside to this expansion pack is that you can only play as the Seraphim online if you don't have the original game.
A new alien threat known as the Seraphim has caused former enemies, The Cybran, Aeon, and UEF, to band together, or be forced to forge alliances, as the title suggests. New weapons, units, crafts, strategies, and a more user-friendly interface keep the series alive and kicking. The graphics are more impressive, with larger draw distances that help you keep track of events on the battlefield more precisely. Zooming in on areas reveals great attention to detail regarding army units, buildings, and terrain.
There's no getting away from exploiting resources. They must be collected, processed, and the resulting products distributed. It's all a matter of careful balancing, as you attempt to stabilize your economy as a society. In order to produce more technical components, you have to increase your general level of sophistication in the production department. There are a number of technical levels you have to reach, with one being the lowest and most basic. In order to increase your technical levels, you'll have to successfully deal with each subsequent tech level. That means learning how to manage your resources for the best possible results regarding your units. As any good RTS fan will tell you, it really boils down to not putting all your eggs in one basket. You have to identify the enemy's weakness, and attempt to exploit them while at the same time assessing and addressing your own vulnerability.