Review by MRadford
Watered down console RTS's can still be fun. Annoying, but fun.
Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars - Xbox 360 version
Historically Real Time Strategy (RTS) games have been PC based, there have been a few exceptions in the past but for the most part console gamers are left out of this genre. The reason for this is because unlike First Person Shooters, racers, puzzle games and just about every other genre available on a console, a keyboard and mouse is required to play. So when EA decided to port their next long awaited instalment of the famous Command & Conquer series to the 360, with its sparse array of buttons and lack of mouse a few eyebrows were raised, mostly concerning the implementation of some of the more complicated aspects of the game.
Advance! No wait... RETREAT!
Command & Conquer 3 is divided up into three different factions, all of which have a playable campaign mode. These three teams have a large selection of unique and interesting structures and units to build ranging from small and grouped infantry to vehicles and aircraft, but even more interesting is the way in which each faction are suited to unique tactics.
The GDI who the player will take control of for the start of the game rely on heavy firepower, all of their units are more expensive then the counterparts from other factions, but they deal out a lot more firepower and soak up a lot of damage.
The Brotherhood of Nod on the other hand favour the exact opposite, their vehicles often come equipped with cloaking devices and other, more devious methods of getting about. If a Nod unit gets into a battle with one from the GDI expect a quick loss, this forces Nod players to think before they try and attack.
The Scrin on the other hand are a very slow moving, expensive but very dangerous juggernaut, building up their forces slowly and using a lot of resources and eventually out classing both others in shear firepower.
While the campaign mode provides fun in its own right, the games factions really start to shine when you head to the online mode. Instead of like in the campaign, the enemies don't come with ready-built bases, so you'll have to use a number of tactics suited to who you are playing as in order to make progress.
The games online mode is reasonably good, aside from the odd crash the game plays smoothly for the most part featuring several gametypes such as basic verses, king of the hill, capture the flag and siege (where players must build up an army before a barrier is lifted and combat can begin.) The single player modes features Skirmish which is essentially multiplayer verses with AI and the campaign.
Offence is the Best Defence, mostly
As mentioned above, the campaign is split up into three, two of which contain twenty six missions and the other five ranging from escort to defence and attack. The levels rarely get boring although most of the time, strategy can be thrown out of the window by hanging back in your base, building a big army of your strongest unit and then marching to victory. The difficulty can be a bit varied with a horrendously difficult mission being followed by one that can be done first time in a few minutes. To make life a bit easier though you have the option to save whenever and what ever your doing and come back later (this also helps to act as a checkpoint before a bit battle if you don't feel like starting again.) The only problem is Command & Conquer takes the longest time to save in my history of gaming. For a game that has little more then moving units it is both disappointing and startling that there is such a wait, even when there is few units and structures on the battlefield.
The game's storyline is presented through live-action cut scenes with Joseph D. Kucan reprising his famous-in-the-genre role as Kane and some other faces you might recognise as Billy Dee Williams (yes Lando from Star Wars), Josh Holloway, Tricia Helfer and Michael Ironside. Also, if you're an American you may recognise a few faces from the news amongst the cut scenes.
Most of these scenes are filmed on blue screen and while often look interesting and realistic, also at times seem flat and out of place. Although the acting of the main characters is well acted, the performances of the 'news' cast can be annoying.
I'll just plan my strategy... oh wait, I can't!
And now for the bad news, although C&C3 has it's share of good points, there is a vast amount of difference between the PC version and the 360 version, and in this case, unfortunately 'difference' means 'missing'. Not only is there a distinct graphical void between the two versions, the Xbox game is missing in several features such as the planning mode which takes away a huge amount of strategy and most of the non-plot related movies. EA also introduced a unit cap to the 360 version stopping production of new units at 50 (which the manual or tutorial at the start makes no mention of often leaving player confused.) Although there are some ways the limit can be avoided when two or more players build up to the unit cap the framerate drops rapidly, quickly turning the game into and unplayable 1-2 FPS slideshow.
When a new map pack was released for the game it was critically (and very obviously) bugged but was not fixed for several weeks. EA released a video demo showing the new maps for the 360 which was clearly played on the PC version (apparently showing that EA had full knowledge of the map bug but released it anyway causing hundreds of gamers to lose their money.)
Overall, if would seem that EA released the game on the 360 for no other reason then to boost profits, the game is a shadow of it's PC self and EA make no qualms about which version gets highest priority.
Graphics -- 7/10
Sound -- 8/10
Replayability -- 7/10
Online -- 6/10
Stability -- 5/10
Overall -- 7/10
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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