Review by Ghost5786

Reviewed: 02/17/03 | Updated: 02/17/03

Generals??? More like lieutenant I think

Hiya I'd just like to say SirWallace has got it spot on in his review but he is a little overly pessimistic.

Presentation & Storyline- 6/10: Gone are the days of yore with the good old US of A and ''evil'' communist Russia. Gone are the over the top Characters and storyline. Gone are the cool and innovative weapons :'(.
Instead we get a new, realistic plot about conflicts between the USA, China and the GLA (A terrorist organization). Now I would be fine with this new and ''improved'' storyline if it weren't so duuuulll and boring, plus it has numerous plot holes and doesn't really explain the background of each of the three nations in depth. Although each of the three nations has some ''personality'' they don't even come close to Red Alert 2's armies. Westwood seem to think 'Realism' is better than 'fun', this is never the case.
Though having said that, storylines in RTS are not the most important factor if the actual gameplay makes up for it, unfortunatly it doesn't. I can remember playing through each mission on Red Alert 1 and 2 to see the new FMV sequence at the beginning of the next mission, all you get in Generals is basically a 3 lines summery of your next mission, yay ! If you compare that to games like Starcraft and Warcraft 3 which have great, immersive storylines full of twists its pretty poor to see a game like Generals fail.
One small thing is how all the menus look bland and boring, compared with RA2's bright and colourful menu system. This sort of presentation (or lack of)is pretty much representitive of the whole game, it lacks polish and could have been good, but the developers, even though they've had enough time, still haven't completly sorted it out yet.

Gameplay- 7/10: Although you now have 3 sides to play with in this installment, they all seem to have a very limited amount of upgrades, buildings and units in my opinion compared with past C&C games. Although each nation has a different style of play (e.g. the GLA use hit and run tactics, the USA use intelligence and technology and China uses brute force through numbers) there are little amounts of units to play with. ALso the missions are all mostly middle eastern scnarios which can get incredibly boring and bland as their is little variety. Its probably more fun to play skirmish instead which allows you use all the technologys and units without the tedious, linear missions.
There is a small variety of units but they are all useful, each having their strengthes and weaknesses which does introduce an element of strategy. Also I personally didn't lik ethe generals feature myself, although others would disagree, I just didn't think it really functioned effectivly enough and is really left as a gimmick.

AI- 5/10: Oh dear what have they done. While the enemy AI is actualy very good, your friendly units AI is awful, they will stand around idle while an enemy unit shoots the guy beside him and there are path finding problems for the units allthough this is not too significant. But there is no excuse for such poor friendly AI.

Sounds- 8/10: The sounds in this game is actually very good with each sound effect sounding real you might even be convinced you were in the middle of a battle! Well ok that is an exageration, but the sounds are good none the less and are realistic enough. The music is also pretty good, some of the tracks are pretty catchy although RA2 has a better selection.

Animation- 9.5/10: The animation of the units are superb, there is no other word to describe it, the physics for each vehicle and unit is amazing, with humvees going flying into the air after being struck by a tank shell and units limping when on low health, as SirWallace says ''its all good''.

Graphics- 7/10: Although many people say the graphics are amazing, I have to agree with SirWallace and say that the graphics range from average to good. The vehicles, buildings and explosion effects look fantastic (The Chinease Nuclear warhead looks spectacular), also the maps themselves look solid, with nice details. HOWEVER I can not express how dissapointed I am with the individual soldier detail, it completly breaks the immersion when you see this tiny little trooper with a body made out of triangular and rectangle shapes. It looks really bad, there is no mistake, i suggest you avoid zooming in throughout the game to stop you from seeing the poor graphical detail on the soldiers. Unfortunatly the game seems intent on using the game engine for cutscenes, which it simply isn't detailed enough to do effectively to convey the story, they should have stuck to the real time cinematics, at least that way it would have been a laugh to see the poor acting.

Compatiblity- 5/10: The graphical options in-game are poor, with little difference between low and high graphical options, making the game hard to scale down for low-end machines. Although i'm lucky enough to have an Athlon 2400XP (2GHz), Geforce 4 Ti4600 with 512 DDR RAM, it still judders a little when the screen gets busy even on my machine which can be considered quite high end.So you should be assured to guarentee everything running smoothly you ought to aim for slightly higher specs than mine. Although take note there have been reports of people able to get their machines to run it flawlessly on something like a AMD Athlon 1600 XP, 640 ddr ram, Win XP Pro, ATI Radeon 9000 128 DDR,cable modem. I think it is advisable to get about 1Gig of RAM which seems to help the game run smoother in most of the posts i've read.

Multiplayer- 2/10: Considering the multiplayer on RA2 was great with little lag and a good online matchmaking service, i was throughly dissapointed at the multiplayer on this game. It was hard enough trying to get online with the service buggy and laggy at the moment. Although I believe this will get addressed in a patch, until then i maintain my score of 2/10. Although this is purely th eonline service, i can't speak for how good it is on a LAN.

Conclusion: Your really getting a mixed bag here, I can't say i didn't enjoy playing the game at all, these problems I have highlighted has stopped an average game being a great game. It is still fun but at times extremly annoying with the friendly AI causing the most annoyence, however if issues like the AI, multiplayer service and graphics options are adressed I would give this game 8/10. If you are an avid C&C fan your probably gonna get this anyway as you've probably read other reviews and realised its worth the risk buying it and that is fine because that is what I did :P. But If you haven't played a C&C game before or want a better and more polished alternative, I fiercly suggest you buy the Red Alert 2 and Yuris Revenge Add-on pack together as it is dead cheap now and still really great fun on single player, skirmish and on-line as well as with a couple of friends on a LAN. Or you could buy Warcraft 3 which is a slightly different pace to C&C games but if you are into RTSs then i'm sure you will like it, it has a great storyline, good selection of armies and a great online service supported by Blizards own which has a great community around it.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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