“C&C3 and C&C4” by Mazer

I think it’s time for another RTS review but this time I’m going to do a dual review comparing two sequels to each other! That is, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and Command and Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight; and for the most part why C&C 4 is a disgrace to the series and the RTS genre.

What I Expected:

C&C 3:

I had heard good things from the C&C series and I enjoyed playing Red Alert 2, so I expected it to be a good, fun RTS. I knew about Kane, NOD, and the GDI but most of my info on them was from C&C: Renegade. It was an interesting storyline and I was anxious to get into the game and see what everything was about.

C&C 4:

After playing C&C 3 and its expansion I was expecting a great RTS that would finally finish the C&C story. I followed it through its initial stages, beta, and was very excited about what this game would give to both the RTS genre and the C&C series as a whole.

What We Got:

Overview:

C&C 3 gave us an incredibly fun RTS with a great storyline along with some fun characters. It had a fun multiplayer on both sides, though NOD will always be my favorite; “Peace through Power.” All in all, it was a great RTS with good game play elements that continues to draw me back in from time to time.

I bought C&C 4 two days after the release date and I was excited! But, after playing through the tutorial levels I began to see that something was amiss about this game. Where was the Tiberium? Why is there a population cap? Why the hell can I only control 5 guys at once?! But it was C&C; it was the final chapter in the story, so I started the Campaign! It was there that I realized that this wasn’t an RTS in any form or fashion. In fact, I have no idea what to genre to call this game other than utter disappointment.

Game play:

C&C 3 has a very fluid momentum when it comes to game pace. You have to move from Tiberium field to Tiberium field in order to fund your war efforts. C&C4 has a very long and boring game pace. Instead of having any kind of resource management, you instead have an infinite supply of troops; can you guess how long games can take? It’s literally upwards of 30 to 60 minutes of you and your opponent bashing each other with a steady, never ending stream of units; that’s just the end of the match!

C&C 3 has a wide variety of units that all have their uses, advantages, and weaknesses; though to be fair, before the first balance patch, the NOD Venom was the best unit ever. C&C 4 not only has less units but it also restricts which units you can produce depending on which crawler you have out (more on that later). With no population cap, you can have a nice balance of unit types in C&C 3 but with C&C 4’s very constrictive cap you can only have a hand full of units at best.

Now, I didn’t get far enough into C&C 4 (more on that later as well) so I never got to its Super Powers, if it even had any. But C&C 3’s Super Weapons are very nicely done. They all have a long-enough timer and health so that you can take them out with a very precise and well timed attack but at the same time not too weak so that they are crushed without much thought. On top of that they’re very powerful but not so powerful that you would win/lose when one goes off. They add a very nice feel to the existing game play with that feeling of rushing towards an objective which can really change the pace of a game.

The Command and Conquer series has been a hallmark of the RTS genre: it established unit variety, resource management, and base building. C&C3 is a shining example of this in every way with its external resource base management, its great static defenses, and its amazing production building management. Of course it also brings the normal C&C power resource as well, which is a great way to not only measure expansion but also gives you the ability to deal your opponents significant tactical blows with small forces. C&C 4 on the other hand not only completely got rid of base building but also replaced it with a poor excuse of a game mechanic. It brings a special unit type called a ‘Crawler’ which essentially acts like a moving Command Center. Now the concept sounds really cool: make the base a moving entity that can act as both main base and forward base. But even that gets ruined by the insanely constrictive nature of the game itself. You have to ‘unpack’ your Crawler in order to utilize the unit production so there goes the idea of a fully mobile force. Add that to the elimination of resources and the addition of population limits, you end up with a very boring game of cat and mouse with a very limited choice of tactics.

Campaign:

The Campaigns for C&C 3 all follow the same story line but with the view shifted depending on which side you are playing on; this gives the story a lot more depth in my mind. It’s very interesting to play through the second Campaign already knowing the story but getting a whole new perspective on it. The characters are all decently relatable and you definitely like the ones you should and hate the others. It really makes you feel as if you are the person that they are interacting with and the story as a whole is amazing! It really fleshes out the Command and Conquer universe and lore with some unexpected twists added in to spice things up.

Now, to be honest, I’ve only played the first three levels of the NOD campaign in C&C 4 but there are good reasons for it! First off, the writers decided that it would make the story better if they gave you a wife. Of course, instead of a wife that you know, she’s more of a whiney chick who seems to always be in trouble; think Princess Peach but with an annoying personality. The levels themselves are HARD and I’m not talking Ninja Gaiden hard but more of a “this game is so bad” hard. The game itself makes even the most simple of tasks into a colossal undertaking. I had to retry the second level (this is on the easiest difficulty as well) several times just to figure out how the game wanted me to execute each objective. In fact, the campaign was so bad that during my umptillionth time trying to do the third mission I just raged quit. The game mechanics are so bad that it angered me to the point of not wanting to play the game. I still haven’t bother installing it again to see if it gets better and I’ve been told that it doesn’t; people who do play the game seem to say that they do the Campaign only to increase their ‘level’ so that they can have the best unlocked troops for multiplayer. Oh right, I didn’t even touch on that aspect of the game: there’s a level system in place that locks you out of the majority of the units in the game. And we’re aren’t talking about a COD leveling system where you can be alright with the starting stuff as long as you know what you’re doing, no, the stuff you unlock is insanely better than the crap they give you to start with. Speaking of the later unlocked units, I think I would have actually had fun playing the Campaign if I had those instead of the starter units…

Multiplayer:

The multiplayer in C&C 3 plays very similarly to the Campaign which means it rocks. Each map has several key strategic points including high-yield Tiberium and choke points. I have not played a match that I didn’t enjoy, even when I ended up losing. If you enjoyed the game play and the campaign then I guarantee that you’ll love the multiplayer.

Apparently the multiplayer in C&C 4 is way better than the single player experience, you know, other than the fact that you are almost forced to play the campaign before being able to enjoy the multiplayer. I’ve heard that the game play changes slightly in multiplayer that makes it more enjoyable but I haven’t been able to get myself to try it when I can just as easily fire up C&C 3 (or SCII).

Conclusion:

C&C 3 is a great example of a ‘classic’ RTS and I would suggest that you buy it if you are a fan of the genre, but never touch the trash that is C&C 4. The only way I would play that game again is if someone paid me the $50 I burned to buy it.

Overall Rating

C&C3:                                  C&C4:

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Comments
2 Responses to ““C&C3 and C&C4” by Mazer”
  1. Eldon Ricord says:

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