Having just played supreme commander 2, I took a look back at the franchise at a whole.
I first looked at the game styles of Total Annihilation compared to Supreme Commander and remembered the uproar some people made about the game being "Too Simplified" in the forums.
Although I loved Sup Com1 I always find myself being dragged back to the origional Total Annihilation... It's just that damn good!
If you don't take it too seriously... i.e. a lot of tactics in competitive play seem to build as many flash tanks as you can in the earliest portion of the game.. but if you can counter this initial tactic and achieve a competitive game into midgame, the tactical opportunities that open up are just staggering!
Ive never seen so many missiles all visible from a map hitting strategic locations, crazy groups of units harrasing, Air forces destroying and getting destroyed, huge sea battleships firing at mad ranges with lazers.. it's hard to describe how playable this one is! Nukes being fired, and defenders intercepting... and If you manage to build the Big bertha or Heavy vulcan cannon which can fire 5 rounds per second of devastation and cover the entire map distance.. wathcing the realtime bullets fly on the radar and hearing that sound of it pumping is just a joy!
Seeing the scrapped metal of all your mechs dead on the battlefield is also a nice touch, and can provide valuable reasources especially from some of the larger units as you can queue up commands in game... so you can plan a huge salvage operation out for one of your workers and then just leave him to go and get on with it.
The queue'ing system is also used for all units such as builders and your commander (Initial unit) so at the beginning of the game I usually build my commander 20 mins worth of work to accomplish.. and if I dont need him just leave him to get on with construction work while I worry about other matters.
The game is resource based, which concerns Metal and Energy. The metal is harvested from metal deposits on the terrain or you can Mass fabricate metal which consumes energy. Energy can be gathered in different ways such as Solar, hydrothermal, wind and fusion methods. Other than other RTS the resource in early games tends to be around mainly flag objectives where u can mine the terrain for your early metal. There will always be enough close by to your commanders start position to start off but you will find yourself soon defending or destroying these locations.
Later in the game when you can get enough energy consistantly from building a fusion generators.. you will probibly build Large scale mass fabricators in your main base so resoucing becomes entirely contained in your main base with more focus on the war at hand.
There is still no other RTS out there that has the sheer diversity of units available, I still havn't built all the units and I have played the game for over 10 years.. so I guess i'm still learning. Players tend to get a feel in game of what combination of there favourate units will be most effective in a gameplay situation which usually depends on the opponent(s) or situation.
The Single player campaign is lengthy, you play as Core or Arm which are the 2 ingame factions. The campaign starts off as you would expect with a limited tech tree which as the campagins progress get more complex. The missions are pretty standard such as... Defend your base for a time period, Destroy all enemies, resource to a certain amount, destroy target building. Some of the triggers that are designed on the map are quite clever and provide the illusion of a sophisticated AI, although the real AI primarily revolves around spamming your defences with units.
I still have the manual from the original game and must have read it about 10 times. The description of the Infinite war is just awesome, and really puts it in your head that this conflict is alive and kicking!
Taking this back to my original thoughts in relation to Suprememe commander 2, And It just makes me think that after the triumph of the first supreme commander that Gas Powered games have bottled it, either through pressure from SquareEnix or shareholders to release a game that has an increased target market. It's just horrible in comparison, and anyone who asks me why I dont like it I just would say that the game has no relevence to the brilliant Supreme commander or the Total Annihilation legacy.
It seems that everything that made Total Annihilation great, was remembered in the first Supreme Commander but now has compleatly forgotten for matters of greed and selling more copies on the "Back" of a franchise that has always pushed the bounderies of whats possible in terms of Largescale/economic/warefare simulation, and instead churned out an attempt to tap into the Starcraft/console quickfire RTS market when instead the game should have been realised as being were it should be - a simelar place to the Total War simulation category of RTS.