Video Game / Supreme Commander 2
Supreme Commander 2
is the 2010 sequel to the Real-Time Strategy
game Supreme Commander
. The game takes place twenty five years after the events of Forged Alliance
, during which time the Seraphim have been destroyed and humanity has come together in a utopian peace. All is thrown into jeopardy, however, when the president of the coalition is murdered by an unknown party, with the leaders of the United Earth Federation, the Cybran Nation and the Order of the Illuminate blaming each other for the president's murder and taking up arms again.Supreme Commander 2
is notable for having a distinctly less hardcore tone than its predecessors. The story is much more light-hearted than in the previous two games, and contains a great amount of humour. Despite the seeming gravity of the premise, the scale of the story never escalates much, and is mostly a character-driven romp. The game is designed around the idea that the economic crash of 2009 would affect the gaming market—graphics were scaled down to allow the game to work on the Xbox 360, as well as on lower-end PCs, as it was assumed that people would not be able to afford expensive gaming rigs. The maximum map size was reduced and much of the game streamlined and simplified to allow for quicker matches, fitting the controls on a gamepad, a lower entry threshold and to remove focus from the economical micromanagement aspects.
Reception of the game at the time was mixed; although Supreme Commander 2
was popular with critics, the game was controversial amongst hardcore fans for its gameplay streamlining, and ultimately the game failed to make the same splash as its predecessors.
This game contains examples of:
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: UEF experimental Flying Air Factory, which is pretty much what it sounds like.
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- The Illuminate "Pullinsmash" (a huge tank that creates a singularity above itself, sucking in nearby units) seems to play this one straight. For the research, mass and energy costs, it destructive power relative to other experimentals as well as conventional units is quite poor. Stick it in the water, though, and it becomes a killing machine.
- The Cybran Bomb-Bouncer's shield only barely extends beyond its own body. Its Megablast, however, is one-button death.
- The original Cybran Monkeylord from the first game was brought over and it retains the larger scale of everything. Cost included.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Your ACU is slow-moving but outclasses most starting units and, once fully upgraded, can even give some of the Experimentals a run for their money.
- Boring but Practical: This is the UEF's aesthetic (though not their gameplay mode, see Faction Calculus below). When they build a building, it looks like it's being constructed by a modern robotic assembly line, most of their units use kinetic weapons like slug-throwers and physical missiles, and they don't have too many fancy tricks up their sleeve. The Cybrans go for a Technology Porn aesthetic, and the Illuminate go for a sort of Crystal Spires and Togas look.
- Brain in a Jar: Gustav Brackman. Also, humorously, Cybran experimental research building has a detachable giant brain that can be used to fight. Power of mind?
- Bittersweet Ending: Shiva is destroyed, the war is averted, Ivan is a well-respected leader in the alliance, Maddox was discharged but gets to be with his family, and Thalia... is arrested and doesn't even get the chance to see her brother before he dies.
- But Thou Must: In the final mission, you have to destroy four shield generators to get to the commander. Brackman asks you to find another way, but there is none.
- Captain Obvious: Ivan and Gustaf Brackman. Admittedly, Ivan may be describing things to his father that his father cannot see himself, but Gustaf has no such excuse.
Ivan: It breathes fire.
Gustaf: It may be necessary to subdue the creature before gathering the sample.
Gustaf: It appears I greatly underestimated Gauge's ability to get the ectosynthesiser online
- Catapult to Glory: One of the UEF's experimental buildings is a giant factory/cannon that builds robots quickly and cheaply, then launches them all the way across the map—possibly right inside or behind the enemy base.
- Civil Warcraft: Happens midway through the first campaign and continues on later campaigns.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: William Gauge swaps between villanous gloating and childlike chatter with no pause in between.
Gauge: Dominic, what have you heard about the invasion?
Maddox: Just rumours.
Gauge: Ooh, I love rumours!
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In skirmish games, you can pick if an AI will explicitly cheat or not. This results in a significant Difficulty Spike. If you want to lose, look no further.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Although most units start out heavily specialized, they generally have researchable upgrades that allow them to fill multiple roles. For instance, certain factions can upgrade their tanks and assault bots with anti-air guns, obviating the need to build AA-only units. The Cybrans can even mount a gun on their otherwise-helpless Engineers. Some units are still overspecialized, however; the UEF has an anti-air fighter jet and a bomber jet, but no fighter-bombers like the other two sides.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: The general feel of the Illuminate side. All land units are hover units, and they've got teleporters a-plenty. They've also got the largest number of giant land-bound Experimentals.
- Escape Pod: You can research the ability to make your ACU's head pop off and eject to safety. Very handy in Assassination skirmishes, where the destruction of your ACU means game over. You have to have the head reconstruct a body for itself, but that's better than losing the game.
- Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: Can't really blame Maddox for going against his faction, considering they were going to kill his wife and son.
- Everything Fades: Averted. And now you can reclaim lost ocean units this time, whereas you couldn't in the first.
- Everyone Went to School Together: The three protagonists of Supreme Commander 2 apparently did go to school together.
- Expy: The Cybran's Command-class Carrier is a dead ringer for the Antaeus Adaptive Cruiser, albiet without the ludicrously powerful deck guns.
- Faction Calculus:
- The UEF is the Powerhouse. They have a lot of artillery (more than any other faction), strong defense towers, and hard-hitting units. They suffer in production, having the most costly mass converter research (five slots down the tree and nearly twice the research points of others) and generally slightly more expensive toys.
- The Aeon are Subversive. Their defense towers get dedicated shields, which no other faction has, their high-end experimentals are hard to kill, and their units are multi-purposed so they don't need a navy. They even get teleporters to bypass defenses. This is countered by their regular units not being quite as tough.
- The Cybran end up being the Balanced in this game. They actually have the crappiest defense towers, but this is made up with their mass conversion being tied to their energy generators, which are also more efficient than the other factions. Short version: their production never stops with enough energy on hand. They have one of the quickest-building and most balanced experimentals in the game, which are easily unlocked. They also have the best research centers, meaning they get to top form very fast. Their best experimentals, however, take much longer to build than others, and in the short game can be taken out fairly easily.
- Fastball Special: An RTS equivalent of it, anyhow. One of the UEF Experimental buildings is a cheaper-and-faster factory that stores the units it makes and launches them across the map as artillery shells, whereupon they deploy at the target area.
- Faux Affably Evil: Gauge is a monster, but he's so fun to listen to!
- General Ripper: Colonel Rodgers, the UEF commander.
- Glass Cannon: Surprisingly, the assault bots fall under this trope, despite being amongst the toughest units in the previous game. They can still dish out significant damage, though.
- Grey Goo: An early Cybran mission involves you attempting to fight this. A base on a planet has gone haywire and is pumping out tons of mechanized engineers who are themselves constructing ludicrous numbers of anti-air and anti-ground turrets. The surplus engineers attack by capturing and converting your units to their side. The simplest method of dealing with this, though somewhat time-consuming, is to turtle with a wall of turrets until you can build Megaliths or a Navy with long-range bombardment capacity. Once you have units with better attack range than the basic defenses the Engineers construct, winning is inevitable.
- The Hero: Ivan becomes this, logically because his third of the campaign is the last and thus he's had time to see the mistakes the others made. In spite of that, though, he is wholly heroic, even refusing some of his father's orders for the greater good.
- Humongous Mecha: The ACU beats all sides. KING KRYPTOR. The Illuminate Universal Collosus is right up there with it, but not quite as heavy. Never before have units the size of a fully-grown pine tree seemed so dwarfed in comparison. One could say that the majority of experimental units, in fact, are HUMONGOUS Humongous Mechas.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: While not quite punny, the names of a fair number of Illuminate units are downright painful when said out loud. Some of the worst offenders are the Airnomo (Air no more), a walking AA battery, the Willfindja (We'll find ya), a massive floating tank that specializes in dispatching submarines, and the Fistoosh (the sound a missile launch makes), a mobile missile launcher.
- Instant-Win Condition: Assassination game mode. Justified as units are robots and the commander usually takes a nice piece of his base with him, unless you have done some research. Justified in that the ACU is technically the only manned unit in your army, from which you are commanding (hence Armored Command Unit)—if you die, everything else has nothing to control it.
- Ironic Echo: Colonel Rodgers tells Maddox that "Speeches will get you nowhere" when the latter is trying to stop the attack on New Cathedral. Maddox throws it back at Rodgers before blowing up his command post.
- Ironic Name: A very minor example in the final mission of the Illuminate campaign. One of the commanders you're tasked with eliminating never says a word even when he's killed, which is somewhat unusual since almost every other commander has a line or two. His name? Commander Teller (which may or may not be an unintentional reference).
- Leitmotif: Whenever Gauge shows up (especially if it involves nukes) for a Cybran Surprise Attack, you'll be hearing discordant, manic music.
- Lighter and Softer: The game takes itself a lot less seriously than its predecessors. The colors are brighter, unit designs lean more towards novelty and the Rule of Cool and there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments in the campaigns, especially for the Cybran side. There are still darker moments, but even then, the story never threatens to expand its scope to that of the total galactic war of the previous games.
- Meaningful Name: Gauge might be a reference to Hilary Gage, a man who suffered brain damage that caused him to be uncontrollably emotional.