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Supreme Commander Review Scandal!

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#1 Slayer6571


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Posted 18 March 2007 - 05:34 PM

->taken from supcomuniverse.com<-

The rumor is that Electronic Arts - whose Command and Conquer 3 ships at the end of the month - the competition of Supreme Commander developers Gas Powered Games, allegedly offered a large bribe to GamePro Australia in exchange for a low score for Supreme Commander. GamePro Australia's review gave the game a score of 5/10 with remarks like "virtually unplayable" and "saddest moment in history of the genre" found within the review.

it almost seems that EA knows that C&C 3 wont be as good as supcom and they are making Aus. GamePro give it a bad score while speaking less about the pros and much more about the cons of Supreme Commander.

Heres the review itself

For the strategy nuts among us who swear on their life that Total Annihilation has thus far been the best RTS of all time (and there are many of us), the wait for Supreme Commander has been an epic one. TA was released back in 1997, giving developers a long nine years to take away that crown - in game industry terms, nine years may as well be a millennium - and arguably (to say the least!) no-one has.

TA proved itself as *the* comprehensive strategic modern warfare experience and while other RTS titles have found their own style and methods, Supreme Commander would've successfully taken the original formula to brilliant new heights. Were it actually playable. That deserves a long explanation.

Is SupCom everything we've been waiting for? Yes - but to be a little more accurate, um, no. It's a complicated affair; because on the one hand, its ambitious approach and achievements need to be celebrated, and its shortcomings as a result of (perhaps) being over-ambitious need to be addressed.

Firstly, yes - SupCom is Total Annihilation times a thousand. Though size alone isn't exactly the point here, the scope and scalability of the game certainly is astounding, with the ability to zoom right in to view the battle damage of individual units, and then so far out that buildings and battlegroups had to be signified by icons. It's a feature that RTS hardcore fans have been waiting for and the freedom, now that it's (almost) in our grasp, is bliss.

What this lends itself to is much larger-scale battles than we've ever seen, not necessarily as far as units are concerned, as SupCom is limited to around 500 (Medieval 2: Total War claims it can handle 10,000 units - though did anyone count to make sure?) because of the huge maps, the type of units and the type of warfare. The huge maps - though it is with the cumulative effect of many elements - allow you great freedoms in your strategy.

With all the hype, we were certainly expecting a higher unit count than 500. Though, for this type of warfare - with explosions, missiles, gunfire; land, sea and air variables - and to top it off, accurate physics controlling it all in a fully 3D environment - SupCom is quite an ambitious technical feat nonetheless.

Only, they didn't pull it off.

The game simply chugs. It's seconds into a mission that the fantasy of what appeared to be a flawless RTS slowly unravels. Hitting the Shift key, one of the most important keys in the game, instantly makes the game run at five frames per second. Like a sweet dream that turns gradually into a nightmare, SupCom's "un-Shifted" frame-rate eventually follows, turning gameplay into a slideshow of slow-motion horror. Ok, maybe that's a bit melodramatic but you get the idea - your heart can only sink at the sight of a truly brilliant game become virtually unplayable. And high-end killer systems aren't the cure either - no, we put this up against the kind of hardware most of you poor bastards will only ever dream about. We turned settings off, down, up; switched off background applications; even installed it on different PCs with different graphics cards. Anything to wake up from this horrible, horrible dream.

Despite the agony of continuously declining game performance, we pushed on level after level - a testament to SupCom's potential greatness. The narrative style of TA was extremely basic, but highly effective at conveying the bleakness of a war that had so utterly consumed both sides. With SupCom, they've tried a more hands-on approach that, thanks to some amateur dialogue and voice acting, constantly threatens to make players blush with embarrassment for the people responsible. The saving grace of the new approach is that missions are more involved; while serving as a strategy tutorial of sorts it simultaneously keeps things interesting by introducing new challenges as objectives are achieved. But as far as criticisms of SupCom's game design goes, that's about it. In fact, the level of focus and refinement on top of what made TA so good is truly impressive.

One astonishingly good feature, for example, is the "ferry system" where you can automate continual delivery of your units hot off the production line and fly them straight to a location of your choice (e.g. the front lines). In this way, SupCom has retained its choice of micromanagement format, leaving the game dynamics as flexible (almost sandbox-like) as ever - but with the ability to give ongoing commands like that, what you get is the flexibility without the painstaking frustration.

But all this is for nil, simply due to performance issues. We're devastated. And it hurts more than seeing a guy get hit in the balls.

We Say
This could've been the greatest RTS of all time and maybe down the track after a patch it will be. But due to bizarre performance issues with the final release code, as of writing, the game is virtually unplayable. Truly, this is the saddest moment in the history of the genre.

Score = 5/10

The Supreme Commander review was an unusual situation. We received review code of the game three weeks out from deadline and found it to have major performance issues, regardless of the three machines we installed it across each with differing configurations, the beast of which clocked in with a 4800+ Dual Core with 2GB of dual-channel RAM and a Radeon 1900XTX ... far beyond the specs of a regular consumer machine.

However, our reviewer recognized that the game beneath was quite awesome and with THQ promising the final version of the game would fix our issues we contemplated the idea of giving the game a high score on the basis of its potential. But this would not be the truth of our experience, so we held out until the final few days before deadline to make sure we got our hands on the final gold build of the game: that is, the product that would be opened up by consumers.

To our dismay, this also suffered from performance issues that we felt made a great game too frustrating to be enjoyed and we scored the game in a manner that would encapsulate this frustration. We poured through the web to find out if somehow our problem was unique, but at the time the game had not been reviewed elsewhere, and beta testers were split down the middle, some complaining about performance issues, others having no issues at all.

It seemed that there were a range of hardware conflicts going down and that for many consumers buying the game would be pot luck. For those who actually read the review, you would have seen we went to great pains to point this out and encouraged potential buyers to get amongst forums once the game was released to see if their hardware configuration was functional and to keep a keen eye out for patches. What we decided not to do, was score the game based on an experience we didn't have with (not code, but) the final version of the game.

Once the game was released we kept an eye on key forums and found that many consumers were having the same issues we suffered. We made a conscious call that if a patch was released down the track that fixed our experience we would have made a big splash about it.... after all we were fans of what the game was attempting to do, as stated in the text of the review. But we weren't about to be pressured into lying about our experience.

These in their entirety are the events that lead to Supreme Commander getting its score, anything else you have heard or read are false and defamatory accusations by individuals who feel threatened by a voice that doesn't tow the line.

:thumbsup: :flowers: :trumpet:

Edited by Slayer6571, 18 March 2007 - 05:48 PM.

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