Supreme Ruler 2020 Review (PC)

Battlegoatís (Yes, it amuses me to type that name.) and Paradoxís Supreme Ruler 2020 comes, three years later, as a follow up to Supreme Ruler 2010 offering a list of improvements and variations on the original strategy game. Both games give you the opportunity to work through the politics, diplomacy and warfare to rule the world both domestically and foreign. With better AI and game play I canít say that they failed with the improvements, the whole game is much shinier and plays very smoothly, unfortunately sometimes I felt like it could run itself without much of my help and that created moments of frustration.

Both in comparison to the first Supreme Ruler and as a stand alone the game is technically nice to work with. The visuals and sound are both well done, providing for a variance in experience depending on which area of the map youíre playing in. The mouse controls the camera in and out and you can move just about anywhere on the mouse with a right click drag. Information is available from each area by hovering over it where stats are displayed as to what it is and how itís doing.

I wish all my morning started out with a tip of the day.
I sure hope Harry knows what heís doing.

There are opportunities to create your government virtually anywhere in the world and take on the strain of running a small state or an entire country, depending on your patience level. If youíre not familiar with the controls and the ins and outs of the Supreme Ruler games Iíd suggest starting with something small and working your way up. Itís not always easy at first to understand all of the boxes and controls youíre looking at, there are a LOT, though it gets better after the first hour or so of poking around at it and working through one of the scenarios or the campaign mode. These screens have been much better organized, moved to the bottom of the screen with a spinwheel selection so you can see what you need to access quickly.

The intense level of detail is both a good and a bad thing. It was fun to be able to see all of the detail on each of the commodities and projects I was dealing with, but at moments it felt like being back in a college economics class. That went hand in hand with cursing when I couldnít find any petrol to trade, but then again that kinda feels like trying to find a petrol station with prices under an arm and a leg, so a good reflection on current social trends.

The minister system from Supreme Ruler 2010 has been further streamlined in 2020 and they do a good job with giving you a lot of options in whom you pick and what theyíll pursue. This becomes particularly important when youíre playing a larger country or area where thereís just too much going on for you to do everything yourself on a constant basis. You have an email box that your ministers can use to communicate with you, giving you advice and asking questions on the issues that youíve chosen to involve yourself in. On other issues theyíll just happily go about their job and youíll only really notice when theyíre doing it brilliantly or not at all.

Million dollar trade losses are nothing to the mighty state of Arizona.
Email Intelligence Report

There is also a multiplayer mode that Iíd love to do more with, but without having friends with the game I didnít have anyone to network with. Itís a straightforward design for a hosted game where each player takes on an area and works towards an agreed upon measure of victory. Hopefully with more people coming online Iíll have a better chance to sink my teeth into that aspect.

I didnít have a lot of complaints with Supreme Ruler, but there were a few things that bothered me. I do approve of the minister system in the game play, thatís why itís listed under the good, however I often felt like I wasnít really needed in the game once I got the ministers all set up. They were more than capable of taking care of things with limited input from me. Sometimes they were much better than I was at taking care of things, as I found when I put myself several hundred million dollars in debt with a couple of really poor trade choices. Left to themselves the ministers corrected my mistakes and pulled me back out of debt by the time my television program had finished. I suppose there are echoes of realism there, but Iíd like to be able to run my country with help from the ministers, not them just tolerating me. I could lock them out of everything to take better control of the situation, but it felt very all or nothing and I never found a really good balance between the extremes.

The tutorial was another pain point for me. You click on the overview tutorial, which gives you limited information that boils down to Ďlook at the other tutorialsí, of which there are roughly a million. The interactivity of the tutorial has been improved but itís still clunky and I did better at figuring things out by poking at them and seeing whether it helped or hindered my scores. Any RTS at the detail level of Supreme Ruler is going to take some time to learn and to explain, but it seems like there should be a simple guided game as a tutorial instead of the more abstract version offered here.

Building up resources one dead tree at a time.
Almost thereÖ

All in all Supreme Ruler is a solid game. I enjoyed the hours I put into it, once I started figuring out how to not completely suck as a world leader. Itís not big on flash or photorealism, but for the intended target those things arenít what matters. Having spent time looking at the forums and user suggestions from Supreme Ruler 2010 itís obvious that the designers took user complaints to heart and strove for a better strategy experience in 2020. I believe they succeeded.

Top Gaming Moment: Having all of my production items in the plus for trading. It didnít last long, but no red negative numbers was highly satisfying.


By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jun 27, 2008
Great review, though I must admit I found Supreme Ruler 2010 to be a better title. Gives Superpowers a run for its' money.
By Potter91 (I just got here) on Jul 17, 2008
hmm, nice review , i think it's very annoying that i can't turn off my finance minister
By RastaKid (SI Veteran Newbie) on Sep 08, 2008
nice review,but I don't think this game will have that big success.
By Nicolas19 (SI Core) on Dec 08, 2008
Still very buggy in spite of the patches. Has an expansion coming up, though.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 08, 2008
Not so impressive review.... so let's try the game first!
By devel (SI Elite) on Dec 08, 2008
Don't be like that nobuargaoda, perhaps JanaLee isn't used to play RTS's.
Altough I've never even heard of Supreme Ruler, the review gave me a kick to try it out, so I'll look it out in stores or ask a friend to see if he has it. I'll get back on you then.