"C&C Generlas: Zero Hour, The Best Add-On Yet?"

Command & Conquer Generals:Zero Hour

From the title, it should be obvious this is an add on to the game Command & Conquer Generals. When I got this, I was actually expecting another sub-par add-on, as most C&C add-ons have been. I was wrong:

Gameplay & Lifespan
All the great parts of original are still here, you can either dive straight into the missions (which can be tricky if you haven’t played the previous too much), head for skirmish missions (all out warfare with the computer on varying difficulty levels), go to the new Generals Challenge (you pick a general, with specific attributes and fight others), or online play. The sheer amount of options here is more than in all previous add-on packs for C&C games. On the box it is mentioned there are 15 new missions (not great in itself), but there are in fact another 63 general missions! If each one takes you half an hour, on easy only, this alone can take 31 and a half hours to complete!
The difficulty varies for the new beginner being able to play, to giving a challenge for the most experienced veterans, an ever-increasing challenge (few people can defeat a team of 7 hard opponents). This increasing difficulty option adds more playability to the game, especially if you want to get all trophies, some of which can be exceptionally tough to get (such as 1000 wins in a row). Gameplay and Lifespan score: 8/10.

Graphics & Sound
For an RTS game, the 3D graphics are good. It does seem a shame however, that they were not improved over the original, but on the highest settings, the explosions look great, and with the amount of units that can be placed on screen at once, they are good. It would have been nice, however, to have FMVs rather than in-game cutscenes at the beginning of missions. The new briefings are a good point, though.
The sound has been improved. Some units have new sayings, but the most noticeable is the sheer amount of taunts the enemy generals have. There seems to be a taunt for most things you do, capturing an oil derrick, building a barracks, war factory etc. The amount of these taunts doesn’t seem to end, and they happen frequently enough for them to be noticed, but not annoying. Graphics and Sound score: 8/10

The storyline doesn’t seem to have changed from that of the original, the USA and Chinese are out to kill the GLA (Global Liberation Army), and the GLA are out to kill the opposing forces. Each mission is varied, overall, but with the initial mission nearly always being to kill all opponents. As mentioned above, the FMVs (based around news reports), do well to hold this together. And this is a war game, what sort of storyline should really be expected? Storyline score: 6/10.

Buy Or Rent?
Definitely the former. If you have the original, this is by far the best expansion pack that has been released for a C&C game, 30+ hours of Gameplay, likely to be much more, great graphics, and amazing gameplay, and at only £20 ($17?), this a definite, must-buy.
Overall score, 8/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/01/03, Updated 10/13/03

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