In the last game in the Command & Conquer series, titled Tiberium Wars, the forces of the GDI (lead by you) struck back against the Brotherhood of Nod (lead by their creepily charismatic chief Kane) with such success that Kane was apparently left for dead and the Brotherhood was then shattered into numerous factions that squabbled over the remains of Kane’s realm. As with most things that everyone knows, however, the believers in Kane’s death were gravely mistaken and the Brotherhood prophet is still alive and well, albeit looking like he got his plastic surgery done in shop class. Together, you and Kane will have to rebuild the Brotherhood piece by piece until it is reunited under the banner of Kane.
By and large, it seems that this game was an improvement over the previous game which, while looking very slick and packed full of famous sci fi talent, suffered from an over complexity of gameplay controls that it made more difficult to keep track of what was going on. Thankfully, for Kane’s Wrath, improvements have been made to the control scheme that takes all gameplay controls and puts them into a central wheel not unlike what can be seen in the PC version of Mass Effect. From this central command wheel, which can be accessed by pulling the left trigger, control of units, structures, and research can be centrally accessed at the press of a button from anywhere on the map. This helps to make creating your bases and improving them easier.
As with the previous game in the series, the game is a graphical treat in many ways, both large and small. There are the in-game movie sequences, which feature a cast of very talented actors in sets and costumes that show a high level of pre- and post-production quality to the detailed and well crafted unit movements and building designs. Both routine and more dramatic events, such as combat actions, possess the same level of detail as you can watch a harvester unit deposit its load of Tiberium ore into the refinery and watch the tubes shake as the crystal flows into the smelting pool or watch a GDI mech teeter and totter before falling over after it’s leg has been destroyed. The graphics and cinematics are some of the best parts of the game.
The audio, in terms of the voice acting and performances, is also of very high quality, but this excellence also works its way on down to the unit commands, which are repetitive but some of the most well acted of their breed that I have ever heard. Apart from the vocal parts of the audio score, however, there is the usual bangs, booms, and screams that come with such an aggressive game which is fine if you take notice of that sort of cacophony. The music is one part of the audio score that seems to have been relegated to the back; it’s not bad music, but it is repetitive and seems to blend in more with the game then stand out on its own.
The game isn’t just about the main game campaign, though, as there are other gameplay modes that help extend the gaming experience. Skirmish mode lets the player take on the AI in a number of one shot matches: good for when you need a break from the rest, but not anything ground-breaking.
Also included is Kane’s Challenge mode, another large scale gameplay mode where players can take control of ten factions, from the GDI to a number of other Brotherhood factions, for a variety of missions. Depending on your success or failure, Kain will speak to you in a variety of cinematics on the subject of how cool you are or how laughably pathetic he finds you.
So, that’s the good, and now it’s time for the thing we all hate to talk about: the bad. Luckily for us strategy fans, however, these flaws are minimal and range from problems like some graphical glitches which leads to light turning to dark for several seconds or the image blanking out when the control stick is moved too fast, but these were all minor compared with the problem of saving and loading. I’m uncertain if it was a flaw in the game or in my console, but it took a long time for the game to find the save file, save the game, and then return to the save game option again, and sometimes, it would jam before the game was saved. For those who do love such games, however, they will find Command & Conquer: Kane’s Wrath will be a very worthy addition to their collections.