Good old Command & Conquer â€“ it gave me so many fun memories. From the fast and exciting gameplay to the awesomely cheesy full motion video clips, it was hard not to love this game. Oh yeah, and it also proved to be groundbreaking in the way it furthered the RTS genre as a whole - but at the time I was less concerned with that and more interested in just how awesome the game was to play.
Fast forward more than ten years. The gaming scene has changed somewhat: RTS games are now far too numerous; the last â€˜properâ€™ C&C, Tiberian Sun, wasnâ€™t as good as its predecessor; and while C&C Generals was good, it certainly wasnâ€™t what fans of the original were really hoping for. So really, Iâ€™ve been waiting over a decade for a Command & Conquer game to impress me as much as the first one did way back in 1996. And you know what? Judging by what Iâ€™ve played of Command & Conquer 3 so far, I might not have to wait much longer.
Iâ€™ve now played through several levels of the Global Defence Initiativeâ€™s (GDI) campaign. Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to build Orcas, Mammoth Tanks, and more, and have used them to crush the Brotherhood of Nod. These old favourites are joined by a bunch of new or improved units that help to round out the faction, and bring it up to speed with what you would expect from a modern RTS.
The gameplay itself is relatively standard fare for an RTS game â€“ you must construct a base, harvest a resource (in this case the lethal Tiberium), pump out units, and wage war on your enemy. However, there are two things that really make the gameplay fun. The speed at which you build things ensures that every game you play is going to move really fast. You can get a fully operating base up and running in a matter of minutes, and can then concentrate on warfare. This generally translates into a greater degree of excitement, as you never have to wait long for your plans to come to fruition.
The other aspect that really helps is the overall polished nature of the game. You can really tell that the developers have made RTS games before â€“ this thing feels very slick and self assured, from the interface to the AI. Thereâ€™s nothing sloppy going on here, and it really helps you get immersed in the game.
Besides the gameplay, the other major aspect of the main Command & Conquer games has always been the full motion videos. Well, Iâ€™m happy to report that theyâ€™re back, and with a vengeance. The cutscenes are cheesy, over the top, and exude sheer awesomeness â€“ if youâ€™re the kind of person who appreciates such things. I was pleasantly surprised by the production level of the clips, and while I wonâ€™t try and claim that the acting is hugely brilliant, Iâ€™m really looking forward to seeing the story unfold via these movies.
The main question that kept bugging me before I played C&C 3 was: â€˜is it fun?â€™ Well, after what Iâ€™ve now experienced, Iâ€™d say all signs are pointing to â€˜yesâ€™. It remains to be seen whether the game can hold up over three campaigns, and Iâ€™m still a little dubious about how well the new alien faction will be handled, but if Command & Conquer 3 can stay gripping throughout, itâ€™ll be a must-have title for all strategy lovers. Look for our full review in early April!
The Good: Good graphics; fun gameplay; FMV cutscenes!
The Bad: Will the aliens be handled well?
The Ugly: The aliens. Well, obviously. Just look at them!