|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Los Angeles||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 16, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-10 (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The other aspect of the presentation, the sound design, is equally as good. Throughout each mission a great orchestral soundtrack plays and helps greatly to raise the tension of many of the battles. Our only complaint is that the songs aren't contextual; at certain times the music will ramp up into an epic song, which makes you think that the enemy is attacking when nobody is around at all. It's not really a "fault" per se, but it's an unfortunate consequence of so many other games using contextual soundtracks.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the oppressive DRM policy that EA has adopted for this title. Taking a cue from recent games from Ubisoft, EA is using the "online-all-the-time" DRM strategy. In essence, you have to be online at all times while playing the game, even when you're only playing the single-player game. If you get disconnected for any reason, you'll be exited from the game. We experienced no problems with this policy and were never kicked from a game, though you may want to consider the strength of your Internet connection before making a decision on whether or not to buy C&C4.
Though EA has tried to defend this decision by saying that there are benefits to forcing everyone to stay online, the truth is that it probably won't benefit you much. In exchange for probably getting occasionally kicked out of games, you'll get a tiny chat box in the menus where people in the community chat about the game. Who cares? We certainly didn't. The only conceivable benefit is that it greatly increases the amount of potential online co-op partners you could hook up with.
As a general rule, RTS games don't take kindly to complete renovation. If you're a developer with a good RTS, then it's best to iterate on that design and to evolve it slowly over time. RTS are games with very delicate balance, and if you don't hit the balance just right, then the entire experience goes down the tubes quickly. So, while we applaud the bravery of EA to take this series off in a wild new direction, it just doesn't really work all that well. Had the game been slowly evolved into its current form, it probably would have been better, but there's just no way that you can expect a developer to nail all of these new gameplay mechanics on the first try. If EA sticks with this direction for its upcoming C&C games, we'll be excited to see what they can do because with a little practice and a some refinement this could have been a good game.
CCC Freelance Writer