Review by DeAdMaNRoLliN

"RTS Experience At Its Peak"

What do you expect from a real time strategy(RTS) game? A clever campaign mode, which makes you think hard even in the easisest difficulty setting, an intelligent skirmish mode, rewards, effective and diversified units and factions, etc. If these aspects can judge an RTS, C&C Generals lacked many of them. However, this expansion pack, C&C Generals: Zero Hours has all the good elements of an RTS. The campaign actually had a story line, and the gameplay kept the players thinking about their moves, instead of just hoarding a large army and attacking the opponents.

Actually the story line is the only weak point of this game. If you compare it with any previous C&C games (e.g. Red Alert 2, Tiberian Sun), it lacks originality and suspense. EA should learn from Westwood how to make a nice story.

In the original Generals game, there were 3 factions. Now there are additional 9 sub-factions, which makes the game even more interesting and it also enhances the replay value. The three old factions have couple of new units and upgrades, which are somewhat useful and are nice additions to the game. The sub-factions are mostly powerful in a particular way, e.g. the US Laser general has powerful laser weaponry, which are effective against base defences and tanks, but weak against infantry. So there is a particular faction is inhumanly superior to the others. To make it better, almost any unit can be countered by another type of unit. So for successful assaults, you'll need a balanced mix of units.

There is a new mode, the generals challenge mode. This is a nice addition to a RTS game. It plays like a brawler, where you get to challenge a general, and a VS screen with yours and the opponent generals pic gets displayed, just like it would in Street Fighter or Fatal Fury. During the game, the opponent general will try to scare you, irritate you and warn you through their witty and sometimes humorous comments. A nice addition, indeed.

The sound is okay, but one really disturbing element is the lack of soundtracks. One soundtrack per nation, not even faction, is really dull. EA brought good things to the C&C series, and it also took out some great things like the cool techno soundtracks.

The game rewards you in the form of giving generals points during matches, as well as medals for finishing a campaign, winning 5 skirmish matches in a row, beating every map, etc. This is a nice addition, which keeps a guy playing.

Above all, I belive, the true indicator of a good RTS game is it's replay value. Zero Hours has so many diversified units, there can be hundreds of different ways you can win a game. So I won't be surprised even if I see someone playing this game after 3/4 years, like the way people still play Age of Empires.

Nice game, indeed! I've taken out the two points for the game's dull sound and poor storyline.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/07/04

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