Supreme Ruler 2020

While I was a huge fan of Supreme Ruler 2010, I had doubts about Supreme Ruler 2020 from long before its release date.  Supreme Ruler 2010 was a fun game which you could act as a leader of a country and literally take over the world, using very realistic economic, political and military tools.  In SR2010 you could, with some work, sit down at your computer, and take over the world in one 8 to 10 hour sitting if you know what you are doing.  Surely there was some major bugs.  The most annoying of which seemed to be related to unit movement.

For example:  You airlift a group of ground units across an ocean, and there are many cargo planes nearby which can facilitate the airlift...  However you end up getting helicopters and such mixed in there as well.  The helicopters end up running out of gas in the middle of the ocean and crash, and you loose the helicopter and the land unit it was carrying.  This forces you to micromanage your transport craft, or (I found this an easier option) to just never construct helicopters, and primarily rely on large cargo jets.

To ship troops via ship is also troublesome sometimes,  some ships don't have the fuel to traverse the ocean, so then end up getting stuck in the middle.  However it was generally the most reliable way to ship troops, all be it time consuming (and your bound to loose some land units in the confusion of the stranded ships in the middle, which once re-supplied tend to go back to their home port which could be on the other side of the globe).

Deep down these movement issues were the biggest problems in SR2010 which I encountered.

So that leeds us to SR2020...  Has this improved?  Well, yes.  Amazingly the helicopters - if they do pick up transports - now route differently.  Instead of a helicopter trying to fly across the ocean, it will divert and take a longer route which takes it closer to friendly airports for fuel.  The planes and ships will now redirect for fuel as they travel, instead of just crashing, or turning back to their home base (which again, could be on the other side of the world).  This makes getting around a lot easier, and lets you focus on more important tasks such as troop movement and such.

Of course, don't expect to be taking over the world anytime soon.  The best I was able to do in a 10 hour sitting down time, was capture Canada, Mexico, and all of Central America (minus the Islands) while I was playing the USA.  As my massive army pushed down through the Panama Canal, I started encountering massive resistance.  Not in the form of units per sae, But Garrisons.  These small 3rd world countries have somehow spent millions to fortify their cities.  I was pushing 100 to 150 battalions of tanks against one single city, and it took several days for the city to fall with only Garrisons inside the city.

On top of that, each day took a very long time to pass by.  as early as 2 hours into gameplay, I found myself facing major lag to the point that the screen was refreshing at about 1 or 2 fps.  For such a simple game graphics wise, this game is a serious processor hog, calculating every single move of every single unit, every single second, in a very unusual database table.  The 'World Domination" that attracted me to this game, would of taken me weeks of gameplay to achieve, all the while watching the screen animate at about 2 fps.  After about 8 to 10 hours of gameplay, upon creating a road or railroad I found the game crashes fairly often.  Build your roads early!!!  because in late game, they may crash the game.

This is another issue.  The Computer AI for the other countries do not construct improvements to their own terrain.  The explaination for this is because it would make the game too hard, because every country could become self sufficient...  Mmmm Okay?

Now the AI of your ministries and your military units seems to be fairly decent,   and infact I had no problems letting SR2020 run on autopilot while I just concentrated with moving the units around from point to point.  There seems to be a problem with military staffing however.  The game will often staff unneeded units and buildings, and deactivate needed ones into the reserve.  There could be a much better method for staffing your army.

I think the game is much too hard for someone to win in a single sitting, or even 2 sittings (16+ hours of play).  The lag coupled with the strange and erratic AI behaviour of 3rd world countries, makes the game almost impossible to win.  Huge standing armies with full air and naval support tend to get thwarted by simple garrisons or other small 'squishie' targets like light infantry, far too often.  This holds up the game.

I think if you took the pros of SR2010, and mixed them with the pros of SR2020 you would get an amazing game.  I do think that the Supply model for 2020 is much nicer and easier to understand however.  But the lack of the ability to force facilities (which provide supply) into an active state, causes further delays in advancing into new territories.  Another annoying point is that foreign countries on the other side of the world will often declare war on you, but will never send troops to attack you...  ever!   you can sit there for 3 game years, and you will never get attacked by the other country, no matter who it is.   the AI only knows how to attack via land.  Throw an ocean in between them and you, and they wont know what to do,  so they will just sit there and look at you.  I suppose this is good in a way... saves you from being over run by an enemy which can somehow plough through your own garrisons with maybe 10 or so battalions of tanks in a matter of seconds.

If they only kept the same SR2010 AI, and just improved some of the unit move AI, I think the game would of been fine.  But at its present state the game seems to be painful to play.  The developers also are not jumping to help.  They will not even release cheat codes to help ease the stress of the players, while cheat codes are built into the game, they will not insert a console into the game so you can turn them on or off.

Overall, this game is not worth $40 unless it is seriously overhauled, and I do not see that happening anytime soon.  $15 maybe...  in its present state.