A couple things escaped my notice when I first got SupCom2 and wrote up my initial impressions. In SupCom2, as in life, you learn to appreciate the little things, the things that SupCom2 quietly improved over its predecessor in ways that don’t leap out at first but that make measurable strides towards greater enjoyability.
I love how engineers have been upgraded with initiative chips. Like Chuck Norris, an “idle” engineer is never actually idle — he merely lies in wait. Whenever an enemy dies close by and leaves a reclaimable hulk, or a nearby friendly building receives damage, the engineer instantly swings into action, doing what he does best. Thus, engineers effectively have patrol functionality even while stationary. Now you don’t have to go to the added trouble of setting up a pointless patrol route; just send the engineer into the middle of a cluster of your buildings and he’s on the job. And this also leaves the engineer less vulnerable. Park him inside the small confines of a factory’s shield and he won’t ever step outside of it to risk personal danger as he fulfills his duties. Patrolling engineers, on the other hand, seem to have a kamikaze death wish.
I also really like the factory upgrades. At first I derided them for adding yet more pointless micromanagement, but in hindsight, that’s not true at all. They don’t add any more micromanagement than the construction of any other building (actually they add less, because you don’t need to worry about sending an engineer to the site to start the construction of upgrades). Combining anti-air, tactical missiles, shields, and radar into one building, all of which would otherwise be separate utility buildings, was a really smart move.
I like how the factory upgrades are cheaper than their stand-alone counter-parts. That gives a good incentive to build more factories, especially front-line factories. A factory built on the front lines in the early part of the game (before the research points accumulate for actual TML unlocks) is the only way to get tactical missiles within range of the enemy early on. And likewise, the factory shield is the only way to get access to early game shielding. Combine that with the anti-air upgrade on the factory itself and some point defense buildings within the shield radius and you have some pretty potent early-game forward base defense.
And despite the protestations of some people that SupCom2 has added a lot of micromanagement over its predecessor, it has removed some as well. I love how tactical missile launchers no longer need to have each missile built individually and launched manually (granted, in the previous game, you could have it build/launch automatically, but that was a huge waste of resources, since target selection was not very intelligent). Actually, I never built TMLs in SupCom1 because I didn’t enjoy all the extra micromanagement. I preferred artillery for that reason. But in SupCom2, I can build TMLs all I want and not have to worry about any added aggravation from micromanaging them.
Perhaps my favorite concession to greater enjoyability, strangely enough, is the removal of Support Commanders. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the power and rapid-buildability of Support Commanders, but they were such a huge hassle. Each one had to be upgraded individually, and getting a large number of them required the thoroughly annoying many-assisting of your Quantum Gateway with all of the SCUs you had already built up to that point (each one first upgraded with the resource upgrade, of course, so that they would only be using resources they themselves made). Don’t even get me started about how much fun having to manage an SCU farm sapped out of the game.
Now it’s your turn — what’d I miss?