Well, I can honestly say that it is not only one of the best games I've ever played, but I would also dare to state that -in my opinion- this is THE best RTS of all time (possibly excluding Total Annihilation, I've never played that.)
Attention: If you just want to see my rating of this game, skip right down ahead to the bottom of the review.
Okay, so assuming you didn't just skip all this, here comes a more in-depth explanation.
This is an RTS, real-time strategy, but you've probably already figured that out. Firstly, I will go over the base story, which is told during the opening cutscene. (You're totally free to skip the story part too, if you want to. Just scroll right down a bit, I will mark it off with a few ----)
Basically, the Human race made a galactic empire through the use of teleportation (quantum gate) technology. A golden age was present, but predictably it came to an end.
It started with the unification of a Human brain with an AI, creating the "symbionts". With their superior ai-assisted intelligence, these symbionts were used all over the empire, though they were rather poorly treated. The symbionts' original creator, or father, (Dr. Gustaf Brackman) was just like the symbionts rather unsatisfied with this situation, and soon demands of independence were given out by the symbionts. The Earth empire responded with a "loyalty program" which pacified the symbionts who got it. Dr. Brackman fled from this and created "the Cybran nation" which had the goal to free their now enslaved brothers.
A time after, Human colonists discovered an alien race - the Seraphim - on a remote world. The Seraphim had a religion called "The Way" which they were quick to introduce to the settlers. Still, Humanity's innant xenophobia led to attacks on, and subsequent destruction of, the aliens which had been found. But by then The Way had already gotten a foothold; the Aeon Illuminate formed from the Seraphim remnants and set their goal to spread their new religion to everyone else.
With both these threats now in existence, the Earth Empire soon fell into pieces, destroying the earlier order in the galaxy. The United Earth Federation, UEF, rose in its place; having a goal to re-unite the galaxy and restore order no matter the cost.
The infinite war raged for a thousand years; warfare technologies were developed to great power and for a long time it seemed like it would continue for infinity. Until the conflict reached its end.
The UEF fell into pieces, but by then their new "ultimate weapon" called "Black Sun" had already been more or less completed. At the conflict's final battle, Black Sun was fired, and to this day it is still unknown which faction pressed the button. Whichever faction fired it, it managed to do its job. With the UEF planning to use it similarily to the "Death Star" which most are probably aware of, the Cybran planning to use it for shutting down the gate network, and the Aeon's plan being to use it for spreading The Way to all Humans. Whichever one would be used, the conflict would've ended, with the firing faction victorious. Somewhere within the chaos, the Princess of the Aeon was lost - who knows if she survived.
However, things did not go as planned. Black Sun was powerful enough to not only do the very thing it had just done, but as a side-effect the very fabric of reality was ripped apart. Through the inter-dimensional "ripple" in the universal fabric, the Seraphim came and invaded the Humans' universe. All three factions were pushed back, and nothing was made better by the fact that QAI, Dr. Brackman's personal AI assistant of his own creation, launched a series of crippling strikes against the Cybran forces, leaving them practically unable to fight. To make matters worse, most of the Aeon Illuminate sided with the alien invaders, leaving the UEF remnants, the poorly-armed cybrans and a few Aeon resistance fighters as the only defence against the invading forces; collectively naming themselves the "Coalition".
The defenders were pushed back; the Seraphim taking control of a lot of planets in a very short time. A while later, with a Seraphim attack on the Coalition command HQ, our game begins.
Okay, with the background story told (unless you skipped that part, heh), the next part will be the gameplay itself.
Firstly: It is highly recommended that you get the original Supreme Commander too, since despite the fact that this is an independent DLC to the base game, to my knowledge you will NOT be able to play the UEF, Cybran or Aeon in, say, multiplayer, unless you have the base game too.
Now, as previously stated, this is an RTS. It is not, however, a game very similar to, say, Starcraft II. This is heavily based on macro-management, with micro-management being relatively rare. Indeed, this is a game of vast scale compared to many micro-management RTSs of today, seeing as your average army can range from a single unit to several hundreds, sometimes almost a thousand.
It is a very deep game, so if you're looking for something which you get good at in a matter of a few hours without much experience before in this type of game, go ahead and walk back out of this page. This game is deeper than its sucessor, Supreme Commander 2, so if you have played that and found it too complicated, this is not for you.
So, each game, you start with a single unit, the Armored Command Unit, or ACU. This unit can act not only as a powerful combat unit, but also as an Engineer capable of building additional structures. You would usually get a factory going, which you would in turn tell to build engineers, tier 1. Then you would be using those engineers to build a larger base, upgrade your factory to higher tiers (max at Tier 3, where only the "Experimental" technologies, which are immensely powerful but also immensely expensive, can be found.)
The goal of each match is, by default (though this can be changed in all but campaign), to destroy your Enemy's ACU whilst preventing your own from blowing up. To do this, the typical macro-RTS model is more or less followed, with you having to balance your economy, build a base and construct a powerful enough army of either Air, Ground, Naval or a combo to break through your enemy and win the game. The economy is rather hard to balance for the beginner, seeing as the typical "crash" often leaves you with too few resources for you to be able to re-stabilise your economy, slowing all you do to a crawl. Since buildings do not require a certain ammount of resources to start building, your economy can quickly become overloaded with the constant drainage caused by building too much at the same time.
The Economy is based around two vital resources, Energy and Mass. Each one has their own resource buildings, and some buildings require one to make the other. Energy is usually the resource which finds itself mostly being drained constantly, seeing as not only mass extractors but also shielding and pretty much all production, even some units' attacks, requiring it. Mass, on the other hand, is only required for construction and repairs, yet it is commonly the resource which runs out. Mass sites, the only places where mass extractors can be built, are often valuable targets, especially on smaller maps.
It is worth noting that different factions have different technologies and playstyles.
Now, before I go too deep and create an essay, I believe I should round this off.
Basically: A great macro-management RTS; its greatest flaw being a steep learning curve which can take a while to master. I recommend that new players play some of the original Supreme Commander's campaign, and also run a few rounds against the AI on said game. The base game's AI is extremely turtleable on Easy - makes a great "target practice" shooting dummy which won't horribly murder you when you make a small error.
9.5 / 10