Review by Canadian Guy
"A well balanced RTS game"
Well, all this started back in 1995 with the original C&C. Along with Warcraft II, C&C started the RTS rage phenomenon that ripped the PC gaming industry in the late nineties. Now we are in 2003 and RTS isn't what it used to be, but maybe for the better. C&C: Generals isn't a typical C&C game in the way that it plays more like an expansion pack. It has no real plot, just a string of missions, and gone are those really nice CG scenes. But those are only minor changes, in the end the gameplay is the only thing that makes a game good or bad!
Plot: Well the game takes place in 2020 and the world is in turmoil. The Global Liberation Army (GLA), a terrorist organization is causing some major ruckus around the world. On a bigger scale, China finally rises to the rank of global super power, joining the U.S. in their global oppression. So this time you have three sides, but the thing is that three sides are rarely involved at the same time. Most missions are about one of the super powers having to deal with the GLA; or the other way around if you're playing the GLA. So in the end we have 3 sides that have around 7 missions (I only finished the US right now), and no real plot other than ''the bad guys are there, let's get them!''.
Gameplay: well C&C fans will be let down by this game, Westwood decided to go Warcraft style for the interface. Gone is the construction yard, now you have workers like in Warcraft who build. At the bottom of the screen is the main task bar where almost everything you need to know is displayed: unit special orders (use grenades, deploy troops and so on), the radar, your money, units selected etc... So for those of you who have played Warcraft III (amazing game), you get the picture: it has the same interface. Like in Warcraft, some buildings will let you upgrade your units (armor, speed and other various things). On the bright side, the three sides are all very different and well balanced. The US uses technology and air units, China uses massive tanks and it's massive army to swarm the enemy combined with propaganda (a bit stereo-typical no?) and the GLA can't really rely on conventional warfare so they end up using guerilla tactics. The GLA is the most interesting side, it uses debris from enemy vehicles to upgrade their own, they have the terrorist unit: a man rigged with TNT all over him that can easily take out a tank, they can get angry mobs and arm them with Kalashnikovs (the angry mob is the most powerful unit in the game, it's ridiculous), rely on black market and bounty hunting to get money and have an very useful tunnel network system. However, one of the typical C&C trademarks is still around: the super weapons. The U.S. uses the uplink particle cannon (ion cannon with a cooler name), China has the nuke and the GLA has the scud storm (9 biological missiles are launched).
In the end, this isn't like Red Alert where the Allies are much more powerful than the Soviets. All sides are equally powerful and have different ways of playing. Bravo Westwood! And the last little addition to the game is the General system. As you kill enemy units you gain experience and once you get a level you're promoted (however, you're still a general), this promotion gives a general point. GP are used to get bonuses related to the side your playing with: all sides can get at least one additional unit with this, you can get money by various methods (bounty, stealing), you can even get some very impressive heavy weapons support (the US gets the very powerful Fuel Bomb and A-10 strike).
Visuals: make no mistake, this game is very good looking. Everything except soldiers are well rendered. The best looking part of the game has to be the massive explosions. The Nuke looks amazing and the Fuel Bomb produces are very nice massive explosion, think of a hydrogen bomb. You can even see your mechanized unit's trail in the dirt! Seeing a plane get shot down is also a very nice site.
Sound: Like every C&C game (except for Tiberian Sun), Generals has a heavy rock theme. I find it fits the game pretty well. While playing though, the three sides have their own kind of music, once again stereo-typed. some units are pretty funny to listen to: the GLA units are amusing, but the US has the best lines ''doing what's RIGHT'' has to be my favorite line in the way that's it's supposed to be serious. Sound effects are very well done, nothing to say there. Maybe the accents given to the Chinese construction worker is a bit ridiculous, but what the heck, it sounds funny.
Conclusion: I didn't talk about online play because I can't stand online games, people are always so serious it takes all the fun away! But I hear it's VERY laggy anyway. In the end Generals is an better than average RTS, but it also lacks in the originality department. I love how C&C is based in the real world, it makes for better immersion I find. I don't know if it's worth the full price for anyone who's not REALLY into RTS, but for anyone who is and enjoys the C&C franchise, give this game a try!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/01/03, Updated 03/01/03
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