The iconic series returns but does little for the franchise
While fans of old will be ecstatic with Command and Conquer 3 that does not necessarily mean that people who are new to the series wont enjoy this game. The single-player action is intense, fast and highly enjoyable. For every mission you command you are rewarded with more video that makes you want to continue your way through the campaigns.
Additionally, the implementation of music is clever; the game uses action-based music. If you’re launching an attack then the music will become dramatic, conversely, the music will die down when the situation calms. This is a nice touch however, the music does become repetitive after a lot of game play; due to the limited music tracks available.
As well as actors and video the old Command and Conquer interface returns. The sidebar based on the right side of the screen gives you every option available to you, whether that is selling a building, constructing units or powering down structures. This is a welcome return and is easier to use than the game’s predecessor Generals.
The hotkeys in the game have been tweaked since the last game so you can’t select all of the same type of units instantly albeit, you can assign custom hotkeys in the options menu. As before you can group units by numbers enabling the ability to ‘micro-manage’. Using micro-management more advanced players can control their units faster and more easily, this is favourable for competitive online game-play.
This is where the game is poor though; online game play. Electronic Arts are attempting to make RTS a sport yet the online service is unreliable, inaccessible to many and fails at the things it has tried to implement. The ladders that are supposed to track wins and losses often doesn’t work at all and matches are left un-accounted for.
I have tried to connect to the online service ran by Gamespy yet after uninstalling all firewalls, disconnecting routers and patching numerous times I have not yet been able to connect and thus play this game online. Additionally, my friend also could not connect until this game received several patches.
The game play is standard RTS (real-time strategy) yet it becomes apparent, when playing a multi-player match, that the game seems to focus far too much on tank warfare; there are balancing issues. Previous Command and Conquer games often offer an army composed of different units while this game does not. Units that give both sides their unique flavour often are over-looked, this is a game were that extra 800 credits is more easily spent on a tank that it is on infantry.
If the units were balanced the game play would be fine but there is another thing to address, Command and Conquer 3 delivers an old, aging style of RTS that is becoming stale. The game is not unique and doesn’t offer innovation. Other similar games such as Supreme Commander are implementing new features such as the ultra-zoom. Electronic Arts on the other hand, perhaps in a bid to keep older fans happy, are afraid of changing and creating.
Graphic-wise the game is smooth and playable on both high-end machines and low. The game looks striking on ultra-high graphical settings and, unlike Supreme Commander, can still bring the beauty to slightly older machines.
The addition of the Scrin to the Tiberium Universe is great, instead of the story and units being figuratively black and white (NOD Vs. GDI) we are given a twist. I praise the developers for including them in the game even though they were considered beforehand. Units that belong to the Scrin look stunning even though they are stereotypical.
All in all, despite obvious faults, Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars offers contentment. I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign; it provided us with back-story and cleared certain fuzzy aspects up, the single-player however is not enough in the RTS genre and the multi-player is also not what we’d expect. One can ask what will EA do next? Will they create another C&C (Command and Conquer) based in the Red Alert universe? Who knows, but if this is an indication of the future maybe we should be wary.