PC Games Reviews
PC Review: Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
By Casey Lynch Mar 27, 2007, 18:56 GMT
Time to enlist in the Tiberium War - Michael Ironside said so!
If you are a C&C fan, we have good news and bad news for you.
While EA’s Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars doesn’t offer any blow-you-out-of-your-seat innovations, C&C 3 serves up some of the fastest and most visually engaging C&C gameplay to date.
Now, that’s not to say there’s nothing new here, but the fundamental bedrock of what makes C&C what it is are here and makes the game instantly familiar and sometimes a hair annoyingly similar.
That said, C&C: Tiberium Wars looks great and is actually a tad easier to jump into, especially for new comers.
For those of you familiar with the series, the GDI and the Nod are still mad at each other and trying to blow each other to bits, but this time around there’s another faction thrown in for good measure – an alien group of baddies called the Scrin. If you finish the rather robust single player campaigns for both the Nod and GDI, you’ll be rewarded with a four mission Scrin campaign, which is actually a nice little bonus.
And if you had any doubts about whether or not those campy but irresistible cut scenes would return, rest easy, they’re back, and even better then before. For sci-fi fans, you’ll love seeing Michael Ironside, Billy Dee Williams and a slew of other B-movie actors acting all over-dramatic and ornery.
On to what works...
Overall, the campaign has a good pace and at times moves at a very high clip. There are different types of missions – base defense, attack, protect, fill in the blank, you get the picture, and there are a decent amount of side missions. The missions are fairly basic and, well, easy at the beginning, but the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly as you progress through the campaign.
One real noticeable upgrade is to the graphic look of the game. Guns blast and spew fantastic lightstorms, each faction has a very distinct look and color, and even explosions are cool, rippling the air around their target like an air splash.
Each faction has a real identity, both in play style, look and strengths and weaknesses, which give the game a good balance. GDI have the strongest armored units, Nod have a great cloaking technology, and the Scrin are superior harvesters.
After you cut your teeth on the singleplayer campaigns, you’ll most likely want to dive into skirmish and multiplayer. Whichever side you choose, the pace of the game is instantly noticeable and usually best described with words that start with “f” – fast, frantic, furious, friggin’ awesome… etc., etc.
Because enemies can become very powerful very fast, the best approach is to ride right in and thrash resource points rather then fortifying up and playing the waiting game. As a result, your average skirmish can be wrapped up in 15 to 25 minutes (we dominated one multiplayer map in just 10 minutes – we totally pwned, so that may not count) but its usually more fruitful to come out guns blazing then wait until you have a fully funded army. All of this makes the overall experience quick and feel less stodgy and creep-along then your typical RTS.
On to what doesn't work...
What doesn’t work
Like almost every other RTS, there is upgrading balancing issues, meaning once you can afford to build higher profile units like Mammoth tanks, you’ll find you don’t need to stock other lighter ground units. IT would be nice if the game was balanced throughout the difficulty levels so you don’t become a one-trick pony army, but that’s what happened every time.
That said, EA is planning to address balance issues in their upcoming 1.2 patch, but we’re not sure exactly what balancing will occur. We’ll have to wait and see.
Also, considering that C&C is one of the more high profile RTS titles out there and they have the backing of EA, we hoped there would’ve been a tad more innovation, but they took the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it approach” here. While it’s definitely not phoned in, it feels a lot like C&C Generals Zero Hour, which actually isn’t a bad thing. We just thought that maybe there’d be some new innovations to show off, seeing GZH came out 4 years ago.
What it all means
While Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars isn’t the most innovative RTS out there, it’s very fast and very satisfying. Between the great new graphics and tongue-in-cheek cut scenes, this is a must have for C&C fans and will most likely appeal to novice would-be RTS fans who want to get their feet wet in the genre.
+ Great graphics
+ Fast, easy to jump into action
+ Cut scenes are live action and very fun
- Balancing issues affect the end game units
- No real new innovations from older C&C titles
4 out of 5 stars