Review by Sailor Mars

"I'd court-marshal this General!"

From the early years of Dune, real time strategies have greatly evolved in both graphics and gameplay.
Does ''Command and Conquer: Generals'' bring anything new to the table?
Let's begin...

The premise of the game involves three different factions:
The Americans, Chinese, and the GLA (a terrorist organization).

Storyline: 2/10
The premise of the game involves three different factions: The Americans, Chinese, and the GLA (a terrorist organization).
You take the position of General to one side and fight for your cause. That's the extent the storyline in the game develops. The briefings to each mission are extremely unsatisfying. No video introduction, bland dialogue, and an ugly world map graphic in the background. No matter how far you get into the game, the campaigns (3 offered, one for each side) have no real depth to the story besides ''Kill the other guy for some reason''.

Gameplay: 6/10
It's a mixed bag for this category
Well, EA and Westwood have totally revamped the interface from the standard Command and Conquer games. Instead of the usual side bar menu where all your decisions are made, they've switched it to a bottom screen menu.

The Good
Controls are simple and easy. Most commands are carried out with only the use of the mouse.

Difficulty in the game is scalable from normal, hard, and brutal to provide challenge to any armchair strategist.

The Bad
Units do not return fire when being fired upon! What is with this serious flaw?
It's annoying when units do not move to engage enemies that are outside of their attack range.

When moving troops en masse to other locations, they move in a single file line.
Bad idea in any battle to rush into enemy defenses one at a time, right?

Graphics: 10/10
Sporting outlandish system requirements, Generals holds up well! The textures of the gameplay environment ranges from wintry wastelands, to dry deserts, and super-cities. All buildings and units are well detailed and look awesome when engaging in heavy combat. The sight of artillery fire and and super weapons being used is truly breath-taking.

Sounds: 8.5/10
Each side has only 1 single soundtrack for their missions, no biggie, but each unit has numerous audio responses to commands. You can hear the tanks moving, reloading, and firing. Great! You can also hear some funny quotes from the Chinese propaganda tower, try it, you'll be laughing. Westwood did well to make sure a sound effect was in place for any event, be it a plane on a bombing run, to a screaming man being thrown half way across the screen by an explosion.

Single Player: 2/10
Once you do each campaign, there's really nothing to keep you coming back for more. No hidden missions, no bonuses, nothing.
Multi Player: 8/10
If you can find some friends to play with online, you'll be hooked onto Generals for a long time!
With dozens upon dozens of maps that come with the game, and world editor to create your own maps, the fun doesn't have to end.

Personal Tilt: 5/10
Well, what did Generals do to deserve this low mark? It's more about what it didn't do. Nothing in the game is brand new to the real time strategy genre. Every aspect of the game has been done before. Although the general point level system is interesting, it will remind you of a dumbed down WarCraft III hero system. There is nothing in Generals that gives you the ''feel'' of Command and Conquer. The interface betrays the efficient and traditional C&C sidebar. And it doesn't have the full video introductions to missions, while were cheesy, gave you a sense of importance in the game.

41.5/70 = 0.592 rounded to 6/10

Rent or Buy?
The game is solely riding on the C&C title to sell the game, but it's worth checking out if you have a good computer system to run Generals.
I'd recommend borrowing the game from a friend or renting it first before shelling out 60 dollars for it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/23/03, Updated 03/23/03

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