Flash of Steel header image 2

Three Moves Ahead Episode 57: Supreme Commander and Command & Conquer 4

March 23rd, 2010 by Troy Goodfellow · 9 Comments · Electronic Arts, Gas Powered Games, Podcast, RTS, Three Moves Ahead


Troy, Tom and Julian devote the hour to dissecting the surprisingly good Supreme Commander 2 and the disappointing Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight.

Why does SupCom 2’s deviation from the franchise formula make the game better? Why is it like Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod? Do we want to gain experience points in our RTSes? When good design meets bad design in the same package, what wins?

And come hear how disorganized we are for PAX!

Listen here.
RSS here.
Subscribe on iTunes.

Tom Chick’s review of SupCom 2
Tom Chick’s review of C&C 4
Troy Goodfellow’s review of SupCom 2
Quarter to Three Community podcast on SupCom 2
The Flash of Steel Store


9 Comments so far ↓

  • Abilio Carvalho

    The store must have a Troy plushie, also 3MA berets.

    The only reason Tom thinks Mass Converters aren’t a problem is because I failed to beat him with them. That is a wrong conclusion. Evidence supports merely that *I* am not a problem in RTSs

  • Rythe

    I managed to play through the Nod C&C 4 Campaign in a single run. The things they tried to do with the story and direction they took it did not work for me either. I also guesstimate it took about 5 hours to reach level 10 and that campaign mode is the only good way to level.

    That said, I do think there’s a good game underneath all the crap that EA makes you go through to get to it. I won’t blame anyone for not trying, and I’d also recommend avoiding C&C 4 entirely if time is at a premium for you. It’s only a good game, not a stellar one.

    I have no idea how EA still gets away with these crazy money and DRM schemes. C&C 4 is basically just another reason not to buy their games. The developing house may have done some great work, but EA keeps coming in to make sure that it’s horribly flawed for the customer one way or another.

    Still don’t think that Supreme Commander 2 has any real staying power as a RTS. It did some good to great things, but the core gameplay is nothing special once you get past the unit cap.

  • James Allen

    The level of disgust amongst the panel while discussing C&C4 is hilarious.

  • Quinten

    I was a big fan of the C&C games, and I loved Red Alert 3. Was it fast? Yes, and I enjoyed mastering how fast it was. I have absolutely no interest in playing C&C 4. I would much rather watch the cut scenes on youtube then have to deal with a game where if my crappy college wifi connection goes out, then I can’t play it till it comes back up. I am also afraid of the grinding for tech/units aspect. I took a survey about a year ago or more where I said I would like that (I was in the closed Beta for Red Alert 3, and would get surveys and newsletters from EA). But in the past year my tastes have changed, partially thanks to this podcast. Now I look at the reviews and see everything I like about Red Alert 3 dumped in favor of a business model. The fact that the armies are split into three different sub groups in multiplayer, denying me access to tanks or turrets depending on who I play, is the main reason I am not buying this game till it is twenty bucks. I may not even buy it then.

    I would like a Three Moves Ahead shirt that has the slogan: “Is it Historically Accurate?” or some variation on Bruce’s little joke.

  • Joseph Crook

    I’m gonna order a mug so Tom can get me some coffee! Man oh man, it is such a gloomy time to be a C&C fan. I was going to get C&C 4, but after seeing the universally mediocre reviews it has received and learning about the DRM, I think I’ll pass. And I never pass. Sigh……

  • rsm

    All I have to say is that if a game can’t be played in single player without being connected to the net it’s a deal breaker. I might possibly under extreme pressure cave if Bioware did it, but since they don’t generally have any significant mplayer components I don’t think it’ll be an issue. Seriously, I want to be playing my games on a laptop on a road trip without having to scrounge up a Starbucks, and good luck with that in rural Japan. Or, if my internet is down, or heck when I can’t access the net outside of Japan (has happened before). Deal breaker. Won’t buy, end of argument.

    This makes for hmm… two companies I won’t buy from any more:

    E.A. (other than Bioware)

    I guess I should take the money and go buy stuff from Troy, but if he’s buying from Ubisoft or E.A. I’d be indirectly subsidizing them, I don’t know if I can do that…

  • Jorune

    I hope you guys tackle Settlers 7 next, and the problems that DRM faces. I too play games on a laptop in places where I have no internet connection, so the idea that I need to be connected to the net to play singleplayer is absolutely ludicrous.

    I must say that your take on Sup Com 2 has changed my mind on the game. I tried the first one and got turned off the complexity, but the new one seems more my mode. I like my pc games to be like my boardgames, simple rules and deep complexity (Demigod does this well). I don’t need finicky stuff.


  • Ian Bowes (spelk)

    Well, after a podcast where mud is flung at C&C4, a game I wasn’t going to delve into. I decided I’d give it a go.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the game, even though I don’t agree with their DRM mechanics – theres not a great deal of difference between this and an MMO, no connection, no game. So, I can stomach it, if theres something worth playing underneath it all.

    I’ve almost finished the GDI campaign, and I must say, I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’m not one for multiplayer skirmish and the competitive rah-rah that is associated with that. The scope of the game seems really close, almost squad level like Dawn of War II. Theres no real base management, just a decision on which type of crawler to bring to the party. The crawler type (offensive/Defensive/Support) can really make a difference to the outcome – I liked that. Plus you can move the crawler tactically also, and it can be building units on the move, land down and roll them out. I’m one of those light weights who becomes easily overwhelmed by myriads of options, so the softly softly gently does it approach of unlocking tech and then deploying them and seeing how to use them effectively by actually practicing with them was beneficial. I also like the approach they took with the cutscenes, making them more “believable” and less tongue-in-cheek comedic.

    I think the only downer for me so far was the fact that you had to play through a mission and lose a few times, to be able to forumlate a strategy to use to be successful at it. If you delay in the progress of the mission, you’ll face heavy odds against you. So it pays to play fast and loose with the tactics until you find something that works. I’d rather it allow you adapt your tactics more on the fly to make progress, than force you to a fail position and a retry. Also, why can’t production queues in RTS’es auto add unit types to your control groups. The biggest pain was having to top up my Hunter tank group manually, why not have predefined groups and select the queue to pump the unit into those? Still, thats probably just pandering to my lack of “micro” skills.

    As an introduction RTS I think C&C4 would be very good, to lead someone into the hidden depths of the genre, without overpowering them from the off. Obviously die-hard RTS fans will want all the options at the beginning – so they can choose. I guess I might be an RPG’er who likes RTS’es that pretend to be RPG’s in places. Spellforce, Savage etc.