|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Los Angeles||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 26, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (online multiplayer)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by James Ruffin
With the release of Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (C&C 3) on the PC, fans will be treated to a, well, reunion of sorts. Set in the familiar Tiberium universe, C&C 3 hosts battles between the Nod and the GDI and the new alien faction, the Scrin. But a word of warning to the C&C faithful: Tiberium Wars isn't new in its gameplay. This is the same C&C genre-specific game that fans have grown well used to. What it does offer, however, is C&C's most beautiful game to date.
Because this game is built upon familiar C&C foundations, I will not spend much time discussing them in this review. Instead, I'll tell you about all the aspects of C&C 3 that are new. First up: the pace of the game. Thanks to the beefier processors in the platforms (PC and Xbox 360) for which C&C 3 was created, the game's pace has been increased and the action is much more fluid. Infantry soldiers look much more realistic as they bound across the fields of battle, vehicles drive and fly with a significantly higher level of realism, and when the shooting starts well, it's an impressive fireworks display. The increased pace will force players, new and veteran alike, to gather their tiberium (the game's fuel source), build their fortifications, and power up their offense quickly, lest they be overwhelmed by the enemy. But fret not, for the single player campaign progresses evenly and fairly. In the beginning, players can get by with increasing their own armies carefully and engaging the enemy at their leisure. Later on in the game, however, the enemiess will be much more aggressive, and woe is to the player who lets them build a well funded offensive force. Finish the campaigns with the Nod and GDI, and players will access four bonus missions to play as the alien Scrin.
Another new (well not entirely) feature of C&C 3 is the cutscenes. The live action cutscenes. That's right; C&C 3 brings back the real life actors to play roles as the GDI and Nod forces in a series of remarkably cheesy, unapologetically silly scenes depicting the story's progression. And I loved it. I mean c'mon, they're shooting for entertainment value here, not Oscar nominations. I also loved the fact that there was a surprisingly large number of popular movie and TV actors playing the roles, which only added to the fun factor. The Scrin forces are thankfully rendered in top digital quality - no actors in goofy alien costumes in C&C 3.
Now let's get into the nitty-gritty. As I've said, gameplay is typical Command and Conquer RTS (real time strategy) action so expect missions that either ask you to defend a friendly base or destroy an enemy's. Creativity, however, wasn't lost in production. Missions are somewhat more tailored to the specific factions performing them. The Nod, for instance, are the stealthiest of the factions and their missions are meant to exploit this strength. Also to decrease the rate of player tedium, the folks at Electronic Arts have included a number of secondary objectives on just about every map that are less predictable than the primary objectives. As for the terrain, it comes in three different flavors across the game's planet. But we're talking about Command and Conquer here; since when was the terrain a characteristic that fans were looking forward to? Terrain in C&C 3, however, is much more attractive, and hey, that can only go in the win column.
Two other nice features of C&C 3 are the skirmish and multiplayer modes. If you've finished the single player campaigns, don't worry; each faction to play in skirmish and multiplayer is different enough to keep your interest and keep you playing. Play as the Scrin and you'll find that you have a significantly easier time harvesting the invaluable tiberium due to the fact that you, as an alien race, are immune to its harmful radioactivity. This radioactivity will be hazardous to your GDI troops, however, but luckily you'll have some of the toughest armored personnel carriers in the game to transport them across the dangerous tiberium fields unscathed. And if you're playing as the Nod, you can take full advantage of their stealth techniques: drive your enemies crazy by striking quickly and without warning. Whichever faction you choose, you'll have to quickly and forcefully take over the level's resources on the harder difficulty settings, and in later missions in the game, because the enemy A.I. is unrelenting. Gone are the days of building your base's defenses and sitting back and waiting. The pace of the game has increased in C&C 3, remember? So upgrading and producing happens much more quickly than it has in previous C&C games. But this is an improvement as far as I'm concerned.