Command and Conquer…the very words warm the cockles of the heart of most classical RTS fans. To most fans, the thought that someone might not know those words is almost unfathomable, but it’s true – and to help expand the reach of the franchise, Electronic Arts brought it to consoles. Well, this review isn’t about the console version, it’s about the PC version – which unfortunately suffers indirectly from the game being brought ton consoles. This indirect influence manifests itself in the game’s lack of any real change to the classic “build and rush” gameplay style, and the fact that the graphics and controls feels dumbed down so as to support consoles with year-old hardware, rather than the hot new cards most fans likely have. In the end, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars feels like it was written for consoles, then ported over to PC, rather than the other way around. What you have in the end is a so-so game that’s enjoyable for a few hours, but will be quickly forgotten. Actually, now that Starcraft 2 has been announce, C&C 3 has quickly faded from most gamers’ minds.
Tiberium Wars hearkens back to the original games, featuring a war between the “good guys” (GDI) and the “bad guys/terrorists” (NOD). The story is advanced through intentionally cheesy B-grade cut scenes, which introduce a new race – the alien Scrin. You’ve got two campaigns, one NOD and one GDI, and plenty of missions with gobs of objectives within each. If you’re into lots of build-and-rush gameplay, then these missions will keep you busy for many many days. While the objectives may seem varied, they can all pretty much be accomplished by building lots of units and heading into battle. But then, can’t that be said of most modern RTS titles? The problem with C&C’s vanilla gameplay is that it feels even more simplistic than that, and never seems to feel truly challenging. There’s been so many knock-offs of the Command and Conquer franchise over the past several years, you should easily be so well-practiced that nothing will be able to stop you in this game.
Presentation-wise, the game suffers from being watered-down so as to fit into the console format. At least, that’s how it feels. Even with a solid graphics card and the settings nearly maxxed out, it’s not as good as it should be for a recent release. We’re not saying it needs to force gamers to empty their wallets on a new video card, but it certainly should make them feel as if they’re getting the most from the hot hardware they’ve got. Instead, you have uninspired and basic unit designs, and infantry that moves around like stick figures loaded full of crystal meth. There’s also an annoying problem with the terrain, as it’s a complete pain trying to determine exactly where you can build a structure. it’s a lot of “hover the cursor” over terrain in hopes you’ll get the green-light to drop a building there.
Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars isn’t a bad game, but it hardly feels like a full new game either. It’s more like an enhanced expansion pack, with more units, better (but not amazing) graphics and a new storyline. The cheesy cutscenes feature some current B-grade actors, which lends to their B-movie feeling, but that’s all intentional in the C&C universe. The gameplay is almost “too” classical RTS at this point, with the basic rush gameplay of old still a focus here. In the end, it’s a good discount purchase, but that’s about it.
- Overall: 7.0
- Too buried in its old-school ways for its own good, but still fairly enjoyable (if you pick it up on the cheap).