Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tech & U: Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance


On Saturday, I received a courier. Not knowing who or what, I open it to feast my eyes on one my favourite RTS franchises. That's right, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.

Forged Alliance is a stand alone expansion of the Supreme Commander. It continuous off the story where use of the Black Sun brought the Seraphim which if you remember were the space hippies that thought the Aeon the peace loving 'Way'.

Well, this must be another bunch of Seraphim because they came to wipe out the human parasite once and for all. Which leaves all of humanity to join forces and fight against the Red, eh I mean Alien Threat.

Now, you I know some of you are nodding your heads and are drooling for what new units each side has not to mention how powerful the Seraphim are? Well, you got to wait for a bit because the reason why Forged Alliance was a stand alone expansion and not an addon is that Gas Powered tweaked the hell out of the original Supreme Commander.

So, whatever you have gained in tactics and skillz is SupCom forget it. Throw it out. Cause Forged Alliance has brought a whole new gameplay to the table. In the orginial SupCom all you needed to win most games was to get a huge amount of power going, build tons of Mass Fabs then turtle up in your base while your 10 to 20 engineers assist your factories building bots. Then in hour 3 of the game mass rush each other.

It ain't gonna happen in Forged Alliances. First off, Mass Fabs are now moves up a tech level. They cost more to build. Instead, like a real war you gonna have to grab land and hold it so your Mass Extractors can dig up the ores. Not only that, assisting factories to build to units is not longer 'effective'. Instead, you are better off building more factories and having them churn out units and have your engineers go around strengthening your defences.

And if that was not enough, all buildings and units have been tweaked a lot for balance. So, what you know what your unit can do have been changed to it can do better or worse. Take for instance the Cybran Destroyer. It now can waddle at nearly the same speed as any Tier 3 assault unit instead of doing its impersonation of a chewed bubble gum sliding down the side of a wall.

Then you have the AI. The AI now has a few new moves in its hat that ever before. Note: that I am talking about the Skirmish AI not the Campaign AI which is still as dumb as ever. The AI comes in three flavours; easy, normal and cheating. We can skip easy and go straight to normal. First, you got 'normal' normal then you got Adaptive, Rush, Turtle and Tech. Adaptive means the AI will change its attack type according to the situation meaning it will air raid your extractors, anti-air and point defence. While attacking with land or sea units at the same time. A little later it will use its Experimental units and Nukes. By the way, Strategic Defence is faster to build than Nukes so I suggest when you get a Tier 3 engineer out to build that first. Rushers, will air raid you non-stop and tech up to nuke bombers. While, turtles will concentrate on artillery units and defence. Then you got the techer that just techs until tier 3 then lets you have it.

Cheating AI will have double building speed and double resources. This is for you extreme players that get bored pounding the normal AI.

Graphics for the game has been spruced up and more effects has been added. The game engine also has been tweaked to give better performance on lower end machines. And the HUD is been uncluttered a bit.

Music for the game is still the same high standard and the voice acting is professional still, none of that C&C performances you see.

If you are an extreme player that really wants to fight wars not battles than Forged Alliance is for you. Although, Supreme Commander has been given a huge boost in gameplay I won't recommend this to first timers to RTS or players that can't stand high learning curves. Because not matter how badly SupCom chewed you up and spit you out, Forged Alliance will do a lot worse.

Title: Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Gas Powered
Availability: New Era Interactive Software Sdn Bhd
Suite 27-02B, 27th Floor Menara Keck Seng 203 Jalan Bukit Bintang55100 Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaTel: (603) 2143 1332 Fax: (603) 2143 1330

Package: 1 Manual, Game DVD.


Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 2, Vista
1.8 GHz processor
512 MB RAM
8 GB available hard-drive space
128 MB video RAM or greater, with DirectX 9 Vertex Shader / Pixel Shader 2.0 support (Nvidia 6x00/ATI 9600 or better)
Sound card, instancing required

3.0 GHz Intel or equivalent AMD processor or better
1 GB RAM or better
8 GB available hard-drive space
256 MB video RAM, with DirectX 9 Vertex Shader / Pixel Shader 2.0 support (Nvidia 6800 or better)
Sound card, instancing required

Note: recommended specifications provide optimal experience for single player and up to four players/medium-size map multiplayer

Our Verdict: 5
Documentation: 2
Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Replay Value: 5
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