Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance Review
The AI in the game can be challenging, effectively using combined arms and exploiting weaknesses in your arsenal. It does have a bit of tendency to rely on the basic rush or turtle strategies, though (in skirmish mode you can now even customize the AI to emphasize these tendencies). Pathfinding is still a bit of an issue in Forged Alliance. Large forces tend to get really strung out when moving across the map and units sometimes decide to take the scenic route to their destinations.
Supreme Commander was filled with graphical details that made the battles fun to watch and Forged Alliance improves on this. The units are now more detailed and the special effects such as explosions and weapons fire have been notched up a bit. You'll need a good system to take advantage of all of the enhancements, but if you don't have a top of the line gaming rig you can cut back on some of the bells and whistles. You won't find yourself with a computer that can run Supreme Commander but that can't handle Forged Alliance as long as you're willing to cut back a bit on the new eye candy.
Multiplayer play is supported through the developer's GPG.Net service, which could still use a bit of work from the interface perspective. The games themselves run pretty smoothly, although I have heard of complaints that one player with a slow system can be a serious drag on the game. Multiplayer play is fun and challenging, but a greater difference between the factions would really go a long way towards making it even more compelling.
Overall Forged Alliance is a worthy successor to Supreme Commander. I really enjoyed the new campaign, and it felt like it provided more overall gameplay since it hit the ground running. The new interface is nice and leaves more screen real estate to the action than before, but it does not add a lot in terms of managing your forces. I think that it is pretty safe to say that if you enjoyed Supreme Commander you'll really like Forged Alliance. If the first game overwhelmed you or the thought of managing large numbers of units in a very dynamic battlefield makes your head spin, then Forged Alliance will be too much for you. Making the game a standalone product was a nice idea, but the game is not very friendly to newbies and makes the purchase of Supreme Commander a de facto necessity anyway.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 86%. Supreme Commander veterans will love the new challenges in Forged Alliance, but newbies should get their feet wet with the original game first.