The long-awaited 3rd part of the Command & Conquer’s Tiberium series is finally here!! Command and Conquer 3 : Tiberium Wars took a great leap from the original that took the world by storm around a decade ago by retaining it’s original theme while adding a wealth of features to the game that made it a blast!!
The story of Command & Conquer 3 : Tiberium Wars (C&C3) picks up somewhere after the first game, Global Defense Initiative (GDI) vs The Brotherhood of Nod (NOD) as usual but with a little twist this time as a 3rd faction, an alien race known as Scrin takes a role in making this a 3-way war.
C&C3 is no different from the previous C&C releases, it offers campaign mode, skirmish mode and multi-player mode.
I personally found the campaigns to be easy even on NORMAL difficulty, I’ve completed the GDI campaign on HARD mode and it was quite easy too, just that it took a little longer to complete due to more units allocated to the AI. 🙂
In between the missions, you’ll be treated with live-action cut-scenes here and there with a super-star lineup of celebrities like Michael Ironside, Billy Dee Williams, Grace Park, Jennifer Morrison and many others. The game feels like a Hollywood production. Despite the impressive cast, I personally found the cut-scenes boring. The original C&C was more entertaining.
Skirmishes were fun, HARD AIs are quite challenging while BRUTAL AIs on the other hand are a pain, regardless of how fast you build away you’ll still end up with lesser resources than they have, and when I say less I mean 2x to 4x less. They’re not unbeatable but it takes much more skill and cooperation. C&C3 comes with a default set of uniquely designed maps that test your tactical abilities. The game supports custom-made maps as well.
The most interesting part of the game would be the variety of units and their unique strengths and weakness. EA made it more interesting by even allowing units to combine or cooperate. For example, NOD’s Avatar unit could destroy various unit types and upgrade itself with additional abilities. Scrin’s tank units could combine with Buzzer units to help combat infantry. GDI? APC and Infantry combo of course. Units are also upgradeable once you manage to build structures that allow research of higher technology.
The sad part about this game is that NOD and Scrin lacks infantry-carrying unit despite having such high-tech arsenal.
Another sad part is that infantry is build in squads, and worse – each APC carries 1 squad and buildings (that you can garrison) carries up to 3 squads at most. You get only 1 engineer per per squad, 2 rocket infantry per squad, 4 grenadiers per squad, 6 riflemen per squad. So as you can see, the APC carries only 1 engineer. It’s like wow, a whole APC for an engineer – that’s something new. Even rocket infantries get the similar comfort. Speaking of engineers, they can’t repair buildings anymore. Their function is limited to capturing structures, repairing your own structure and capturing husks.
Yes, for each faction you’ll have a powerful ground unit that upon destruction its husks will lay on the ground and it can be captured by any ‘engineer-like’ unit. 🙂 Cool eh? Well, not when your opponent captures yours and uses it against you.
Graphics & Sound
Despite using a pretty old graphic card based on the 6800 Ultra GPU from nVidia, I was able to play with High-Detail settings at 1680 x 1050 screen resolution without any sacrifice on quality or framerates. I’m totally impressed by how this game could look so impressive, with all the moving clouds and it’s shadows on the terrain, reflective surfaces on certain terrains, effects on units like blasts, armor / skin textures, shields and special weapons – the game just oozes with eye-candy.
The control interface is very user-friendly, mouse over the icons or buttons and you’ll be presented with more information.
As for the sound department, there’s nothing to shout about – I mean what can you expect from an RTS? The soundtrack of the game is similar to the previous C&C games, it does bring you back sweet memories. As usual, a voice and phrase for each unit type, some phrases were taken from Command & Conquer : Generals. For example, “NOD must acquire new land.” or “Scorpion tank ready!” – sound familiar? Well, maybe not to all but those who played Generals would.
One thing about C&C3 is that if you’re using 4.1 or similar speaker setup, then you’re in for a treat as the system actually decides which speaker to output the sound effect of the a unit based on the direction of the unit in reference to the area of the map you are viewing, then the volume of the sound effect is determined based on the distance between the structure that produced it and where you’re looking at. So if you’re looking at the north-east part of the map and you have a unit coming out of a factory south-west, the sound will be output from your rear-left speaker. 🙂 It’s great but it could be frightening sometimes, I have some occasions that I though someone was behind me.
Speaking of which, I did mention about having a few games with my friends earlier – YUP!!! A game wouldn’t be complete without Online Gaming features. 🙂
C&C3 worked very well with my network setup, no additional configuration needed. It connects to EA’s server flawlessly, you could choose to create a custom match or just play an auto-match where the system attempts to pair you against someone that’s similarly ranked as you are.
The online gaming experience is pretty much hampered when you’re having internet connection isn’t at it’s best, the list of players and games takes a few minutes to appear. Not only that, there were times when our buddies can’t join the game even after accepting invitation. Strange as it seems, what we usually did was if there was an invitation problem – get someone else to create the game an initiate invitation. Due to such issues, sometimes it took 10 – 15 minutes just to start a game.
I’ve also encountered several occasions where clicking on EXIT (after establishing connection to the server) when your connection is bad leaves the application hanging, it just hangs and there’s nothing to be done except to power-down the machine or execute a forced reset.
The game is an absolute joy to play. Campaigns are interesting and the units from each faction made C&C3 a much better tactical game than all it’s predecessors, the only thing they lack are naval units. Damn it, what’s kind of warfare does not include naval units? Oh well, perhaps that’s for future C&Cs.
I remember how disappointed I was with Command and Conquer : Generals but this one’s great!! Of course there were flaws in the game here and there but generally it’s a bundle of fun.
PC Specifications Used
Processor : AMD X2 3600+ @ 2.5ghz
RAM : 1GB DDR2 667
Graphic Card : BFG 6800 Ultra 256MB
Monitor : 20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD