Ambitious, that’s the least you can say about Superpower 2. Taking control over one of 193 existing nations and trying to take over the world by all political, economic and military means necessary sounds a bit too much for one game. Still, developer Golemlabs felt like they were up to the task of completing such a project.
Several options are available in the startmenu; you can try out a small number of preset scenarios with some easier goals than worldconquest, then there is custom scenario in which you can setup your own gameparameters and finally a multiplayer option is also present. A regular game of SP2 sets you in the seat of countryleader. As said before you can influence a lot of things through military, politic and economic possibilities. It surely can give some funny moments if you try to let Belgium invade the Netherlands f.e.. Though because of a serious lack of personality, this part loses much of its appeal.
These are all just states with a small flag and a whole bunch of stats which makes them different. No names or pictures of politicians, it’s just country vs country. Definitely in the diplomatic and economic parts does this simple representation take away from the immersion. The options are abundant though. The military section provides some ‘eyecandy’ as in combat (which I’ll explain later on) and in the research part. You can construct all kinds of army vehicles and try to find the best combination of their abilities. Still a bit more feedback would have been welcome when putting together the parts or choosing the camouflage color.
The statistics should be fine since Golem Labs has a man on the inside at the CIA and the US Army. At least they fixed one error at some Middle-East state which supposedly had some nukes. It means also that the timeline starts in 2001, as it was displayed in the introduction movie.
A lot of data means that you need a handy interface to control it all and even more important to have a good overview. The main interface is pretty compact and gives you a view on our globe, which could very much likely be the ‘beautiful real-time 3D environment’ they put on the box. They’re absolutely right about a globe being 3D, but I don’t find zooming in till the level of detail of a landchart that ‘beautiful’. So mostly you’ll be using the higher zoomlevels, for reasons of a clear overview too.
There are several menus to guide you but despite the tutorials it’s gonna take a while before you know what has an effect on what and since there is no way to control the size of these menus the screen will soon be flooded with them.
What about the combat? You can let the computer decide who’ll be the victor and soon enough it’ll be clear that that’s the best thing to do instead of trying to order a battle yourself. In that latter situation there is just no (visual) satisfaction or a serious interface to work with. The graphics and sounds which show up are just terrible. A missed chance for sure. There are other options too of course besides fighting with an army. Send out some secret agents to sabotage your oponents or why just not nuke enemies if you have the weapons and enough guts for it.
Nuking can give quick joy for a moment there but it’s clear it also has its negative effects if you keep using from the start. People start to complain about your actions and this could very well become worse when a warhead is sent back as retaliation. So make a good choice of who you want to be allies with. Remarkable about the ally-thing is that it’s pretty unpredictable who you will be facing when attacking a country. Just to try things out in the ‘Reunite the USSR’-scenario I let Russia attack Kazakhstan (with nukes even). I annexed it and all of the sudden the mighty nation of Bangledesh dared to challenge me with nothing else than a very small army. Now after the short confrontation with these ‘invaders’ I could only explain it as some kind of strange kamikaze-distracting manoeuvre as Great-Britain and some others were shipping troops too a big time later.
The music doesn’t really excel in variation. Alright, we’re not asking for a national anthem for each country but I felt they could have done more with it. There are different tracks for certain situations, yet that doesn’t do much if they lack some epic feel.
On top of that the retail version of the game wasn’t quite free of bugs (especially the copyprotection tested one’s patience) but the developers clearly fixed that in numerous patches afterwards. As you’ve noticed, the tone and score of this review are negative. Superpower 2 only became interesting very seldom and even then it was as if too much time was wasted. The concept and ideas behind it are nice and if you have lot of patience, too much money and no fobia for poor-graphic games then you might wanna give it a try.