Genre : Strategy
Developer: BattleGoat Studios
Publisher: Strategy First
Release Date: Q2 , 2004
Strategy First has brought out one stellar strategy game after another. It looks as if Strategy First is going to extend this critically acclaimed (yet commercially unknown) hitting streak with its upcoming title Supreme Ruler: 2010. Whether it is Celtic Kings, Cossacks: Art of War or the vaunted Disciples Series, Strategy First has developed a stable of war games ranging from mythical to history to science fiction that offer a wide range of deep game play and a pleasing eye towards the aesthetic.
To give Supreme Ruler: 2010 some context I will remind you of a veritable cult classic of the name Kohan: The Immortal Sovereigns. For those of you who remember this game, you need no other prompt. For those of you who missed it, here’s a refresher. Kohan is a real time strategy game unlike any other. Kohan revolutionized RTS games in a way so subtle that the mainstream gaming public missed the boat completely, which was truly a shame. You see, whereas most RTS games devolve into a micromanaging click-fest, Kohan was elegant in its execution simply by organizing your troops into coherent units and effective deployment via formation orders. Kohan injected a true sense of strategy to an otherwise flagging genre. As commander it was up to you to organize units around a hero to be most effective and complimentary of each other’s abilities. You then stationed troops in ranks and ordered them to take formations in different circumstances. A poorly balanced unit was neatly slaughtered or one that was not given the appropriate formation orders found itself routed by lesser units. This refined sense of game play transformed Kohan into something more than simply “another RTS”. Now, here is where Supreme Ruler: 2010 fits in.
Supreme Ruler: 2010 (herein referred to as SR) takes place in a world you and I live in, only a few years in the future. Nothing horribly catastrophic has happened…yet. What has happened is the balkanization of most international powers. The beta version I played allowed me to take on North America as a fledging nation of Michigan. I was also allowed to fulfill my dreams of conquest as the rampaging Portuguese on my way to Paris. What SR promises to allow you is to not only dominate the world militarily, but dominate the world in every sense of the word.
You see, SR breaks the mold by attempting to make a truly real time strategy game. Most games that we attach the word strategy to are really tactical war games. Sure you build a very basic infrastructure, but in the end you’re ordering soldiers to go here and blow up that. What SR allows for is so much more. Battle Goat Studios, the developer, is hard at work on economic modeling and diplomatic modeling. To further enhance the game play around these two other aspects of world domination is that each of these parts of the game are one step removed from you in the form of an adviser. This person, who has a name, face and personality, determines your economic and diplomatic maneuvers in accord to the policies you set forth. It is like having your own mini-cabinet, complete with popular approval ratings. What makes things even more interesting is that you can sack your advisers if you feel the need to, for you wannabe Stalin’s, Hitler’s and Bush’s out there you can think of these sackings as public executions or the like.
These advisers get broken down into several departments. You have your Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Department of Interior and Department of Treasury. What makes this so cool is that you can order your department heads to prioritize different things. Want to gear up for war? Fine, align your priorities in accordance. Want to develop an international trade empire? Go ahead and begin building trade negotiations and the like. To make matters even more interesting with each of your cabinet positions you can appoint a person who is Liberal, Moderate or Conservative and each person is rated in different categories. So maybe you want to put a tried and true war veteran uber-hawk in as your Department of defense adviser. Temper that dude with a bleeding heart Liberal for your social services in the Department of Interior. Otto von Bismarck once said, “Guns or butter.” Looks like you’ll get to see if you can have both with the way Battle Goat is developing this game.
One must hand it to Strategy First and Battle Goat Studios. Games like this are exactly the games that EA and Microsoft are incapable of pulling off because they lack the guts. SR is not based around “holy cow” graphics and a “you are there” point of view with thirty two weapons to choose from and spectacular lighting. Supreme Ruler: 2010 is a game built around computer algorithms that are designed to not only beat you, but make you feel stupid in the process.
For the dedicated niche this game is designed towards, you need no reminder. For those of you who don’t know but are willing to try, keep an eye out for Supreme Ruler: 2010. If you think you can handle the micromanaging challenge this game poses to be and hold the creative stamina to last out to the bitter end then Supreme Ruler: 2010 just might be for you. For those of you who look to have your gaming watered down and delivered to you in a glittering package, well, you might just want to give this game a try too. It may just be what you need to shake up your digital addiction.
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