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Hypocritical Hypothesis

Well, after taking all the time to talk it up, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite: I haven't played Vanguard much in days. It isn't really that I bored of Vanguard so much as I allowed it to be crowded out by what was, for me, more rewarding game experiences. I may yet return to Vanguard once I bore of my diversions.

Rogue Galaxy has revealed the kinds of features I'd expect from the same development company that made Dark Cloud 2. Excellent artistic direction, solid and reasonably deep game mechanics, a weapon upgrade system, a grid-based building system, an inventory that gets saturated with useful junk, memorable characters, and more. Games like this both make me glad I own a PS2 and resentful there's not enough of these kinds of games on the far more open-ended platform that a PC should be.

The Space Empires V demo (version 1.25) instilled in me cravings for strategy games I didn't know I had. Compared to the lead competitor in the genre (Galactic Civilizations), Space Empires V features in depth ship design, interactive tactical combat, sophisticated diplomacy options, and multiplayer support. Just as I bought Starfury, this indy developer might see me plopping down money in Space Empires V (although hopefully they'll keep up the rapid patching pace).

So it was that the Supreme Commander demo hits me just as I was gaining some appreciation towards strategy games. I've always preferred Total Annihilation over that vastly more successful and charismatic poser, Starcraft, and Supreme Commander takes Total Annihilation into the 22nd century. The retail versions will include a three-faction campaign, but the Total Annihilation fans know that the real fun is to be found in the Skirmish mode.

I can see two big things that set the Total Annihilation/Supreme Commander balance apart from other RTS:
  1. A simple economic focus that allows for massive amounts of units to be constructed, lost, and reconstructed.
  2. Stacked building commands that allow whole bases to be planned to be built ahead of time.
I've only a couple complaints. First, the system requirements are pretty hefty and make me want to rush out and buy expensive hardware I can't afford. Second, there's no multiplayer support in the demo.


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