Command & Conquer 3
Written by Cooper
Platform: Xbox 360 Genre: Real-time Strategy Publisher: EA Learning Curve: About an hour
Could we finally see a RTS game that makes it right to play on a console?
It seems these days RTS games are becoming a very popular genre for consoles, with well-though-out control schemes, great production values, downloadable content, and multiplayer action becoming the normal features. (Just look at last years: Lord of the Rings, Battle for Middle Earth II, or the upcoming Tom Clancy’s EndWar)
C&C achieves all those features very well and adds upon EA’s previous offering of LOTR, BFTE II. This game is very similar to Middle Earth, but with more streamlined visuals and controls, a faster pace, more options, and faster slides, thus resulting in a fast-paced and fluid running game with no lag or stops on single player or multiplayer no matter how many units are on the screen.
The campaign is a 3-way ordeal. You will have to progress far enough into the GDI campaign (the good guys), to unlock the NOD campaign (bada$$ guys), and even farther to unlock the shorter campaign of the SCRIN (super-badass guys). Each of the factions have their positives and negatives, the GDI are brute-force, run ’em and smash ’em, the NOD are for more stealthy approaches, and the Scrin are cool looking, powerful aliens. Each group has their own set of vehicles and soldiers that all look different. The campaign isn’t a breeze though. The first missions are simple, but later in the game it really gets hard to command and conquer your opponents (pun intended). In comparison to Middle Earth II, some of the units are considerably smaller and make it harder to select them, therefore creating problems commanding them. What I really liked about the campaign was the cut scenes; the 90 minutes of them are filled with top-notch actors, great plots and of course in full HD. These scenes really pull the game together and drive you to finish the mission, just so you can watch another scene.
Houston, we have a problem….
In battle it tends to be hard to keep track of all the groups on your enemies especially controlling the brain-dead pilots who will lazily circle over anti-air turrets when they have no other commands to do otherwise. Overall, the AI is fairly smart and runs well. In the harder missions however, the AI seems to be overpowered, sometimes building many units in a very small amount of time; amassing huge armies in seconds, requiring you to play your team smart. Another small complaint about the AI; it seems the ground soldiers don’t seem to recognize when they are standing in the middle of a Tiberium field, where the will lose health fast. They just stick there until they meet their maker (not you, silly). During the campaign the AI doesn’t hold back. They will keep pushing men and vehicles forward to attack while you are trying to get everyone is position, praying for a keyboard and mouse to fall out of the sky, making some very, frustrating missions.
On the flip side, the multiplayer part of the game doesn’t get hurt by any of these negative comments, mainly because it’s a level playing field. Each guy has to put up with the same things and the lack off a keyboard, creating a lot of interesting battles. There are 5 gameplay types: Versus (standard deathmatch), Siege (wall separates players, with time limit), Capture the flag (you know), King of the Hill (players must fight for control of an area), and Capture and hold (similar to King of the Hill, not the TV show). All these missions are available to play with 4 or less people, in any arrangement, have it 2v2, free-for-all, or handicap. The interface is nicely set-up for the game and suits friends playing together, allowing players to go back to the lobby after the match and change some things around. There are unlimited customizations and tons of different things to try in this aspect of the game. The vision camera support wasn’t a HUGE addition, but it is a nice tack-on. The video was smooth, and is a nice thought, but didn’t really affect me in any way. There are plenty of maps that are nice sizes, perfectly layed out and each one is a blast.
The graphics are alright, definitely not the best ones, but an improvement of Middle Earth II. If you aren’t playing on an HDTV, you will have flashbacks to Dead Rising and its teeny, tiny text. The text is extremely small, and most of the HUD suffers from the same problem, so players pull out your eye glasses! During the game, the explosions, bullets and sound really pull the player in, making him feel in the game. Presentation in the game is wonderful, and really makes it simple for the user to achieve what they want to do quickly.
The interface is nicely layed-out, in single player and Multiplayer
I’ve played a few games in this series for both console and PC. I played this game with doubts, knowing it couldn’t live up to the PC version, and it doesn’t. But that’s not to say it doesn’t work. They smashed over a 100 keys from a keyboard and the unlimited possibilities with the mouse, into a couple buttons and two joysticks, but, you know what? It works, and it’s better than their last effort. Even though it has its weaknesses (and which game doesn’t), the advantages really shine and the multiplayer action will keep you playing for a while. So in the end, if you have a high-end PC, get this game for the PC, if you don’t, then this is a really great alternative.