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Supreme Commander vs C&C - PART 2

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Raven85 said...
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Okay, after a long break i finally found the time to write the second half of my rant :). After i got fed up with new C&C games i've been playing other RTS titles such as CoH, DOW and WIC. Then i remembered about Supreme Commander. Although i got the game way back during its release, i did not have a good enough computer which can handle the game smoothly. So after the first UEF mission i gave up. Recently i dusted off the copy and tried again after seeing a supcom 2 video on the net.

The first comparison i could make of Supcom with C&c was more or less the technologies (although chronologically the two universes are far apart) and resource gathering. Also at first glance you have the usual RTS setting with builder units, tanks, artillery , aircraft and a navy. As usual i started the games off with a tutorial and the campaigns. During the first mission i felt that this would be another game like C&C with much more large scale battles. In essence i thought a tank spam can do the trick. But i was in for a shock in second mission. The campaing sort of acts as a tutorial for the multiplayer games to get you familiar with units and tactics. And i learned my lessons the harsh way. This is where supcom excels over C&C. In C&C if you have a good economy, you can spam several dozen tanks and roll over your opponent no matter how good his defences are. But supcom forces you to use all your units. You need artillery to neutralize defences and AA, to penetrate a base and use air support. Ground foces would protect the artillery and take out AA units to cover you close air support units. It all fits in nicely. Sure you can do all these things in C&c, but C&C does not implement these as well as in supcom. Add to this the large scale battle capabilities of the supcom game design and you a get thrilling experience.

It is not just the intricate balance and reliance of different classes of units to get the job done that makes supreme commander stand out, there is also the unit design and lethality that matters. For example most naval units has several modes of attack. i.e They may have AA guns, torpedo launchers and depth charges and some may have depth charges and rail guns. Although all these units look pretty strong, they all have a single weakness which can be exploited. Some cannot defend against air attacks, some cannot defend against subs. This forces you to mix your units in attack or defence. The is something missing in C&C. Most C&C3 games are won my tank rushes and air units are hardly used.

Also the tiered system in supcom does not necessarily forces a player to abandon lower tier units late game. Pitting a quantitatively strong lower tier unit force against a more expensive tier 2 units force (i.e low numbers- high lethality) would not necessarily win the battle for T2 units. If you are cash strapped and need a force churned out quickly, Massing T1 units might win you the day.

Anothe aspect is the intelligence warfare in supcom. You get cloaking and Shielding as defensive tactics and various scouting tech including sonar, omni sensors and radar to do the surveillance. In C&C you would get a radar and to counter it some factions would get stealth. (in RA you have the gap generator). Bottom line is, in C&C intelligence warfare is pretty thin and does not have an impact as it does in supcom.

Another thing is the epic(Experimental) units. They are devastating but all have weaknesses but its fun to lay waste to your enemy with them and its fun to take them down as well. Kane's wrath tried something of the sort but again the execution is flawed in my mind. In supcom, you have different types of experimentla units. You get submersible aircraft carriers, mobile facotories, devastating assault bots, flying sauces etc. The variety of units open up lot of possibilies for the player.

Opening up possibilities is the main difference i see between supcom and late C&C games. In supcom the intel warfare, different units strengths and more importantly the variety and lethality of units allow players to come up with a huge number of different strategies. It is very difficult to master the game. But in C&C every NOOB can watch a video and become competitive in a matter of days. You have to have the same build order, churn out some tanks and level the enemy base (maybe with the support of few AA units). This is where supcom excels, you need to counter to enemy tactics to win the battle (as in C&C or any other RTS) but there are so many tactics that you won't be facing the same tactics over and over again as in C&C. You cannot spam a single unit and win in supcom. You need to be cunning and imaginative sometimes to win it. All of this is possible because of its better unit/faction design. Bottom line is that C&C games are lacking in depth and unit desing compared supcom.

As to end this rant, i should say that although C&C does not have the depth or the brilliance of supcom, it is still enjoyable to some. Especially for beginners of RTS because i feel it is a good stepping stone to get into the RTS genre. Also the tank rushing can also be fun and i still love the tank rushes in Generals. But when a game does not have lot of possibilies and all the games that come up like mushroom from a single franchise behaves the same, you simply get fed up with it. Thats the main reason why C&C is declining. If EA wanted to make C&C games as frequently as they have been, they better do that with a bit of variety by keeping the essence of C&C gameplay intact. Regarding supcom, it is a brilliant game in terms of game design in my opinion, which allows players to come up with countless number of tactics thanks to its wide variety of units and different facets of warfare.
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Release Date: 20/FEB/07
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15
Comments
Never played SupCom. Might have to locate a copy somewhere...
try it. I don't think you'd regret it.
Assuming I can locate a copy of it, I will. :o
nzone would have digital downloads i think. Also check d2d
DRM2D is not high on my favourites list right now. NZone... never heard of those guys.
NZONE is run by NVIDIA
First off, Great Post!

Supreme Commander, and its Predecessor, Total Annihilation, are among the best RTSs ever made IMHO. I also count Company of Heroes in that group. All of them had a level of DEEP strategy that went so far beyond simply point n click with a bunch of units (C&C). And while I love the flavor and fun of a C&C or a Red Alert, you just cannot beat the strategic depth, and the amazing design of those others.

If you haven't played it, I also highly recommend the Total War games. Start with Rome: Total War, and then try Empire: Total War. They add in the truly strategic side with the world map level game, but the RTS is also extremely well done. Combat will obviously slow down as compared to a standard RTS, but your decisions about tactics, formations, and what units to bring to bear when are truly fantastic. You can read some of my Empire: Total War Adventures here to get a flavor of the game: http://wormy.gamerdna.com/game/empire-total-war-ibm-pc-compatible
Well, i have played CoH and DOW games and i think both those series have something unique that we all love. I did not consider them in my post because they are different from either C&C or supcom games.

I heard total war is good. I played it once but i found it too slow for my liking. But i know lot of people who love it :).
CnC forever !
but i dont think that SC is crap just in my top list CnC is on 4th but SC is on 8th
You mean starcraft or supcom by referring as SC?
@Raven85 or supreme commander, wow acronyms just aren't going to work in the future are they? xD gonna be like 5 different WoW's and whatnot eventually.
yep...too many games now :D
Infantry RULES
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