Supreme Ruler 2020: Global Crisis PC
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: BattleGoat Studios
Supreme Ruler 2020 was a game for the hardcore strategy gamer/armchair general. Just getting to grips with the game and how it played required a great deal of effort and it certainly wasn't a game you could simply jump in and play and figure things out as you go along. That said, the Geo-Political, Military strategy title was a solid enough title and obviously sold well enough to warrant an expansion. Supreme Ruler 2020: Global Crisis is that expansion and it's one that fans of the Supreme Ruler 2020 will certainly appreciate.
So what's Global Crisis giving you for your €19.99 (£17.88 at time of writing)? Well it's certainly not light on content. You're getting 20 new scenarios (which now feature random and scripted events which means that you'll never get the same experience twice from a scenario and therefore the replay value of these scenarios is good), additional multiplayer scenarios, a new campaign, an expanded tech tree, improved AI, new units, improved interface and interestingly for newcomers, some tutorials and in-game tips amongst other things. On the whole then, there's certainly a lot of content here and fans of the original game will certainly not be disappointed with what they are getting for their money.
One of the things I was really interested in is whether or not this expansion had made the game more approachable for beginners. Of course it's highly unlikely that someone who couldn't get into the original game would go out and buy an expansion but it's possible that someone would consider buying the original game and expansion together and benefit from the tutorials and improved interface. The tutorials are quite informative but they are very dry affairs. They do make you aware of what can be done in the game and they do lower the learning curve to some degree but it has to be said that they require a good deal of patience to work through (which is not usually a problem for fans of the genre) and there's still a detachment from learning certain concepts in isolation and putting them together when playing the game. Maybe it would have been better to have guided the newcomer through a short, scripted scenario to help them put everything together and make them aware of what can be done in the game.
Graphically Global Crisis doesn't improve upon the original Supreme Ruler 2020 which is to be expected given that it's an expansion. The difference being the improved interface which is slightly more user friendly and allows you to see more information at a glance whilst playing the game. On the whole the game has a rather basic look to it and it can come as quite a shock to those who are used to the big budget strategy titles with all of their graphical splendour. Despite the game's rather basic appearance however, it's still a game that can be quite demanding on your system and I certainly experience quite a bit of slowdown when large scale warfare broke out. The PC I played the game on was far in excess of the system requirements so this was both a little surprising and disappointing, especially when far better looking games have run smoother.
On the face of it you'd think that a game such as Supreme Ruler 2020 would be absolutely fine for deaf gamers. For the most part it is but there are a couple of problems. The game information is delivered via text, icons and numbers. All tutorial messages are in text so there are no accessibility issues in that respect. What I found was that sounds are used quite a lot to draw your attention to battles and important emails you'll receive from your cabinets ministers (AI personalities who handle the running of your numerous departments) and there are no visual clues for these sounds. If you're playing the game at a high enough screen resolution this isn't a problem. At a screen resolution of 1280x1024 you can see your email and inbox and your mini-map at the same time but at the default resolution of 1024x768 you have to switch between the two. At least you can set the game to pause when receiving specific message types which does help somewhat. I also noticed that when battles broke out (out of your line of sight) there was nothing visually displayed to draw your attention to it. Hearing gamers will be aware of the battles because of the sound effects but there's no such advantage for deaf gamers which is unfortunate.
For those who have already enjoyed or developed an appreciation for Supreme Ruler 2020, Global Crisis is certainly a welcome expansion that adds quite a lot to the original game. It's certainly not a game that will change the minds of those who weren't that keen on Supreme Ruler 2020 however and whilst you could argue that the game is a little more user friendly, it's still far from being an accessible title that will allow anyone new to the genre to fully get to grips with the game in under a couple of hours or so. In all fairness to the developers however, this isn't the genre for those who like games that are easy to pick up and play and neither Supreme Ruler 2020 nor Global Crisis are as complex as games of this kind can be. In short, what Global Crisis does it does well and it beefs up Supreme Ruler 2020 considerably.