It seems a lifetime ago we were first shipped over to Seattle to see an unknown RTS title from gaming legend Chris Taylor. Since then we've followed Gas Powered Games' epic RTS from first hands-on all the way to the understated review disc plonked on the desk next to us. Has Supreme Commander changed much since we first saw it? Not really. Has it delivered on its ambitious promises? Absolutely.
But then we never did need much convincing; it's always been clear that GPG knows its stuff and its talent is unquestioned - after all Taylor did have a hand in creating Total Annihilation, one of the greatest PC strategy games ever conceived. After almost ten years in the think tank then, just how good is Supreme Commander?
TA was a revolution in how we perceived a real-time strategy game's make-up. Gone were the rock-paper-scissor unit structures of Command & Conquer and Age of Empires, swept aside too were genre-wide conventions of hero units and manual build queues.
Perhaps most importantly though was how TA threw the limited build counts of its rivals to the curb, allowing you to fill battlefields with armies dwarfing those of Red Alert and StarCraft.
It's 2007 and Supreme Commander has upped the ante again; it is, easily, the most epic RTS we've ever played. Zooming in from the galactic full-command view to a wide-open grassy meadow, each tree blowing in the wind with amazingly lifelike realism for an RTS, you already get a grasp of the stupidly-massive sense of scale GPG is shooting for.
But fill that meadow with literally hundreds of gigantic siege assault bots, each with twin 6ft-long turrets, missile launchers and feet that shake the earth with every stomp, and we guarantee you'll go weak at the knees.
Back them up with a simulated attack bombers diving through the skies, and a truly massive experimental unit that requires a plasma screen nicked from the side of the Glastonbury stage to fully uncover, and you'll pass out in awe.
If that doesn't do the trick you could also drop a nuclear bomb into the mix as well, filling half of the already-gigantic map with blinding fire and destruction, with not much other than black debris left behind.
Slap bang in the middle of the FMV-powered plot are the Supreme Commanders themselves; men in towering Armoured Command suits used to warp straight to the battlefield and construct an army all by themselves - and this is just how a skirmish or single-player campaign starts out.
What's interesting about Supreme Commander's solo offering is how its missions seamlessly merge, dealing out whole new missions and objectives while avoiding tedious base-rebuilding and keeping hold of your hard-earned armies.
This is done by simply expanding the playfield after every job well done. For example a rookie commander landing at ground zero will have only a simple island to explore. Complete the first building objectives and the map will expand again to reveal the shore. Fight-out a small naval battle and the map will expand once more to reveal a second island and more objectives, then again after to that to uncover an entire chain of islands and so on.
This structure works very well, keeping your head in the midst of battle and throwing new challenges your way without having to brave the early stages of battle more than once.
With thousands of units and structures on screen, Supreme Commander would fail without a top-notch interface.