1995... A game named Command and Conquer appeared... and paved the way for an entire genre. It's a name that many RTS veterans should be familiar with. The franchise had its ups and downs throughout the years. 2007, the long awaited sequel of Command and Conquer Tiberian Sun appears. Has it passed the test? Let's see...
Visually, the game is downright gorgeous, even for today's standards. You can tell at first glance, whether the map is situated in a still pristine Blue zone, a conflict-torn Yellow zone or in an almost unearthly Red zone. The units are also well designed and their appearance alone tells something about the respective faction. Topped off with non-excessive and neat special effects, the visuals give a good impression.
Gameplaywise, the game has undergone major changes. Instead of one single build queue, where the amount of respective facilities only determined production speed, now each production facility has its own queue, and units have gained special abilities. These changes were not wellcomed by all fans of the franchise, but I'll allow myself to use a proverb: "I don't know if it's going to be good, but if it is to become better, it must change". Other than that, the "hard-counter" unit-system has finally reached a desireable level, unlike in previous titles, pretty much every unit can be put to a good use and has its weak points. Not every change is good though. The gameplay is kind of too fast-paced compared to its precedetors, and that signifficantly weakened the efficiency of commando-infiltrations, which were the brandmark of this franchise. Command and Conquer 3 lets you deploy a countermeasure in a matter of seconds, leaving little to no room for a classic commando rampage, which was possibly the most fun thing Command and Conquer could offer. That aside, the gameplay gets way more than a passing grade.
The audio: The first thing C&C fans will notice that the OST simply doesn't have the same magic as the ones composed by Frank Klepacki. Just thinking of "March to doom" playing as you scrape together leftovers of your army in late-game for a final desperate attempt to win sends chills down my spine. Still, the soundtrack is by no means bad. The sound effects are seamlessly implemented, and is good and bad at the same time. Remember how your hands started sweating when you hear the ominous thundering sound of the allied Cruiser's cannons in Red Alert? It was the sound saying: "say goodbye to your base". On the other hand, with the sound effects not standing out too much, you can keep being fully focused on the events on the battlefield and can clearly make out the very important and helpful announcements of your EVA unit, pointing out upcoming danger.
Despite all the flaws pointed out, Command and Conquer 3 Tiberian Wars is a very enjoyable game and I recommend it to both newcommers and veterans.