I wanted so much to love this game. I'm a huge SupCom and TA fan, and this game looked like it was going to be the game that I was playing every day for the next couple of years. But after a while things were starting to look pretty bad, I came back online for the first time in a while to see if things have picked up. The game is still a very bland and repetetive experience. As an RTS all of the authentic strategy is in the first 5 minutes of each game, and then it's just who can push the most build capacity.
Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance is, in my opinion, the best RTS game ever made. It's basic mechanics are excellent, the need for map control, economy management, unit management, tech management and intel are all closely interdependent, meaning that you're always INVOLVED in the battlefield even during the "quiet" stretches of gameplay. The available maps are excellent, and if you play on Forged Alliance Forever, a community maintained lobby with a competetive 1v1 ladder and public match service for casual players, there are stacks more to download. The game was also beautiful, with a good spread of aesthetically and strategically unique factions from the bread and butter "space marines" UEF, the intel oriented guerillas Cybran, the overrun focussed Aeon, and the tech heavy Seraphim. The game progression from opening to endgame is multifaceted and calls for real-time responses to your opponenents activity. To this day after 5 years of playing Forged Alliance if anybody tells me they're looking to get into a new competetive game I tell them to get FA. Similar things can be said of Total Annihilation, PA's other direct predecessor.
PA takes the "massive-scale" RTS format, and turns the format into an (ironically) incredibly two-dimensional experience. The units are bland and there is no faction diversity, the game escalates quickly but when it gets to its peak it tends to degenerate into a massive drag, especially across multiple planets with player interaction at a minimum, with power plays limited to a very uninteresting blob vs blob. Defensive plays just don't mean much in this game after a point. Your point defence investments will be thrown out for the sake of producing ever more units in the ongoing drudgery that is the endless escalation in this game. It sounds and is pretty cool the first few times you play it, but then you have your 10th game, and you realise you're doing more or less the same thing you did in the last 9, except there's a lava planet in this system, cool! But aside from your units not being able to drive over lakes of lava, that means very little. it's just forced no mans land. Interplanetary warfare epitomizes this. Build lots of orbital defences, build lots of fighters and send them at your opponents defences, wait 5 minutes for the fleet to arrive, hope it works, maybe send some fabricators to teleport an army from your planet to that one. I've done it so many times and I just don't really want to any more.
Huge scope for escalation in an RTS is cool, but you can't build a game on sheer escalation, which is what this is. There is no nuance, deploying a small force well is almost never going to make a game-changing difference, to the point where it's not worth trying, better stick to what you know. The learning curve is too steep as it is to try subtle strategies as a new player, and once you get to grips with the game you realise that there is very little to be done outside of beating your opponent in an arms race.
The game was released unready, and is just generally a very poor execution of a great concept, centred around a gimmick which doesn't come into play that often. My one hope for the game is that some modders come along and take the good (but extremely temperamental) engine and inject some life into it, the elements are there, but Uber half ♥♥♥♥♥ it, and just made the most nondescript RTS they could, and then made it really big and really long... and really ♥♥♥♥ing boring.