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Five good things about Supreme Commander 2 you don't see in the demo

The demo is out on Steam, and it's not getting a good reaction. That has more to do with the demo than the game.

If you've played or are about to play the SupCom 2 demo, there are some things you need to know about the full game that just aren't shown in the demo. Don't cancel your pre-order just yet, there's much more to the game.

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1. It's all about skirmish mode.
Even if you never want to play multiplayer, setting up a custom game on a map of your choice is the way to play. This is a game about devoting your army to a few incredibly powerful technologies and units, then having it out with an enemy who's made a different choice. You don't get any sense of that when half the tech-tree is locked off, as it is for most of the campaign, and the enemy you're fighting isn't an independent, expanding threat.

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2. It's best in co-op.
Another reason the campaign isn't a good way to show it off: you can't play the story missions co-op, but you can set up a skirmish game with you and your friends against the AI.

The reason this works so well, even better than strategy games designed for co-op, is the Research trees. Because each of you specialises, even if you all play the same faction you can each contribute something different. There's nothing cooler than watching your Air Fortresses drift into combat over your friend's stomping King Kriptors.

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3. You can have epic games.
Nothing as big as Supreme Commander's biggest, which could last eight hours and take place on maps the size of a small country. But you can still have huge, CPU-crippling clashes on some decent sized maps. SupCom 2 is much more about huge armies than huge territories, and far more games result in forces of multiple experimental units smashing into each other. The biggest map is a remake of Seton's Clutch, for eight players - it's smaller, but still makes for some great games.

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4. It's hilarious.
The demo doesn't let you play with any of the really ridiculous stuff. You can't build a Magnetron and watch it suck enemy commander's out of their base, drag them across the map and mince them in its grinding gears. You can't build a Loyalty Gun outside the enemy base and start stealing his newly built Experimentals - and then all his buildings. You can't even build a bank of Noah Unit Cannons, load them with tanks, then fire them all in chorus to fling a robot monsoon across the length of the map to hammer the enemy base.

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5. It's really good.
Forum zeitgeist suggests most Supreme Commander fans probably don't believe this yet. I was really disappointed when I first played it: it felt limited, small, and somehow more fiddly than its much more complex predecessor. But once you get used to starting with a small base, and start thinking about the research tree rather than fussing over Mass Extractors, you realise this is just a new type of game. It's a slick, fast sport rather than a deep, slow simulation. The downside of this is a loss of scale, but the upside is that almost every match escalates to huge clashes of mega units and ridiculous strategies. Without full access to the tech trees, skirmish games or multiplayer, you can't really see this. But it is there, and I encourage waiting for the full thing - or at least our review - before you write it off.

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