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SuperPower 2 Review
PIII 933, 256MB RAM, 64MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 11, 04 (released)
|» All About SuperPower 2 on ActionTrip|
I like to play video games for two reasons:
First, I like that games allow me the short flights of fantasy to do things I could not do in real life. Things like pick up a crowbar and bash some aliens' heads in or race a $250,000 high performance car through downtown Tokyo. I even like to strut my stuff to the funky beat as I take on the role of Miss Britney Spears (you know damn well you played that game and loved it as much as I did, so stop pointing and laughing, Cubby).
We need raw materials... like strap-ons.
Those planes are flying pretty low to the ground. Duck, guys!
And second, the feeling I get from being able to control things like entire armies is a megalomaniacal rush real life seldom offers. Ahhh! Tingly!!
If you are like me, you should be ashamed of yourselves! Stop doing that immediately and make an appointment to see a doctor.
However, I would wager you are going to be at least a little bit curious by the new title from GolemLabs, and published by DreamCatcher. Superpower 2 is hailed as the 'only global geopolitical simulation' game. Players get to control entire countries, as you try to claw your way to the top in single or multiplayer matches.
In single player mode, you can try your hand in the freeform sandbox mode where you have no real goals set by the computer, just the pleasure of seeing how your decisions affect your country and the rest of the world. So if you have always wanted to take Puerto Rico and build it into the next economic superpower, you are free to do so. Or at least try. Alternatively, you can try to tackle the pre-set scenarios that allow you to concentrate and gain play experience in the three areas of the game: military, political or economic. No one area is more important than the other is, so you must not concentrate solely on your military goals while your economy is falling apart.
If it sounds like this game has a lot going on, it's because it does. Thankfully, GolemLabs has included advisors that can help you make decisions. You also will notice when starting a game that there are no difficulty levels. The robust AI included with the game is always trying to achieve the goals specific for each country and its current place in the world. How you exploit or work with those country's strengths, weaknesses and goals is up to you.
While managing your country you can change your political system, set your tax rate, create or break treaties with other countries, create new military units, manage build lists and decide where units are placed. The only area that you do not have total control over is in conventional warfare itself. While you select the number and type of units that will attack, once combat begins, you sit back and watch as your army slugs it out with the enemy. Once one side is out of units, combat is over. If things do not go your way in conventional warfare, you could always build up your nuclear arsenal and let a few missiles do what your troops couldn't, but be warned: the world community and your citizens don't respond well to a power-mad dictator who drops nukes. (Kill a few of the loudest ones in the opposition and try it then. It should work. - Ed.)
You may prefer to play nice and try to create treaties with other countries instead of turning them into 2000 square mile sheets of radioactive glass (if you must). All of the information for the 193 countries in SuperPower 2 comes from real world data complied by the U.S Military, U.N. and C.I.A. fact book. Each country has its own political system, military strength and economic goals that mirror its counterpart in the real world. Part of the fun is trying to create treaties that bring these different countries together for the good of all. Trying to create that perfect balance where everyone is happy and walks away a winner. Of course, if that proves to be too hard, you always have those missiles to fall back on. (NUKE 'EM!!!)
Believe it or not, all the lines you see are nuclear missile trajectories.
I knew that one day the US would become just another republic in the USSR.
SuperPower 2 features multiplayer support for up to 32 players. As you play, the clock is running all the time so there is no sitting and twiddling your thumbs while waiting for the other guys to move. That means treaties could be made and broken, tanks rolling towards your border and spies could be stirring your public into revolt while you are deciding on a state religion. When creating a multiplayer game you can choose a different set of goals like nation improvement or world peace if you are tired of the usual multiplayer world domination slugfest.
The game does have a few things that may prevent it from being loved by all. First, the game has so much detail; it may scare off many gamers. The management options available in SuperPower 2 can be overwhelming, even with the aid of the AI advisors. Also, the graphics are not the bump-mapped, 32-bit texture pigs we are so used to in FPS' today. While I know that is not a fair comparison, who ever said gamers were fair? The game looks good for the format and type of game that it is. But in this age of 256MB video cards running billions of polygons a second, people tend to expect more from a game, regardless of the core game design.
Finally while the freeform 'set your own goals' game play is nice, sometimes too much freedom is limiting in itself. Case in point: Morrowind. Some players who did not follow the main storyline (or after completing it), felt that the game was too open-ended.
Ability to wage war in real world simulation, control your county's economic, political and military forces, 32-player multiplayer support;
Game could be viewed as having too much freedom after scenarios are, completed, and it doesn't take too long to complete them, not enough graphical 'flash' for jaded gamers, players feel stupid when they cannot find Greece on the world map.