|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hellbent Games / Gas Powered Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Aspyr Media||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (1-4 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Since scale is a big part of the game (you'll literally see hundreds of units on-screen), a strategic camera is a must. It's too bad it works so poorly. You can zoom in and out to varying degrees, but there never seems to be a happy medium. If you zoom in too close, you can't get a proper read on the action; if you zoom way out to the satellite-like view, you can see all the units, but then they all look like colored blocks moving around the screen. Trying to rotate the camera is also a frustrating process. Yes, it can be spun around a full 360 degrees, but it always snaps back to its original location.
Scale manifests itself in one other way: the game's overall strategy. In the first mission for the United Earth Federation campaign this becomes clear. All you have to do is take out a series of enemy base structures and a mechanized robot. However, the only way to do it is to build a ridiculous number of units. For the overall mission, you probably need over 100 tanks. Sure, it looks impressive scrolling across the screen, but does it really emphasize strategy? It almost feels like the developers spent so much time hyping up the scale of battle that they forgot to fine tune the overall balance.
Supreme Commander may have heavily taxed PCs, but it was worth the price of admission: the game looked fantastic (especially considering the size of the maps and number of units it was rendering). However, the Xbox 360 doesn't seem made for this game. Textures look blurry and most on-screen objects suffer from an extreme lack of detail. Even when zoomed in, it's hard to tell what units your cursor is hovering over until the text box explicitly tells you. Perhaps the biggest culprit is the terribly inconsistent framerate. At no point does the game approach a solid clip. In fact, even with just one unit on-screen the game seems to jitter back-and-forth. This never lets up. While this may be passable in, say an RPG, for an RTS - where timing is everything - it's unacceptable. The lag-like qualities don't stop there. Just saving the game takes a half-minute. The audio department slips up as well. For some reason, the cinematics have decently mixed audio, but in-game effects like explosions and unit movement are harsh - they have an almost tin-like quality and sound like they've been so compressed they've lost their original fidelity.
Online play may be the game's saving grace. The Xbox LIVE matches tested for review connected quickly and exhibited no lag. However, the same framerate problems from single-player carry over, so serious competitors will probably opt for the smoother PC port.
Sometimes platform segregation is a good thing - it would have served Supreme Commander well. The game stood tall and proud on PC, but this port (with its underlying technical issues and wonky controls) doesn't translate the original's epic nature.
CCC Freelance Writer