by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Command & Conquer is back!
A gamer's heart is a fickle thing. We're not easily pleased but when you hit the right chord, we are as loyal as dogs. Until you kick us. And when Electronic Arts took their Command & Conquer franchise into the realm of 3D gaming, I could feel the imprint of their boots stinging on my backside. Actually, it all started with Emperor: Battle for Dune, which was an appalling piece of software that never should have ended up on the shiny silver disks it was pressed upon (I know not everyone shares this opinion). Back then, technology just wasn't far enough along to make the 3D step within the RTS Genre, and the result was that the game looked downright bland. After this disappointing step, Electronic Arts plowed onward and did the same to Command & Conquer, releasing Generals with an updated version of the Emperor: Battle for Dune engine. The result, hardly surprising, was another bland game that lacked the level of detail we had come to expect from Command & Conquer game. Stomp on my heart a little harder why don't you...
To be fair, I guess something could be said for the fact that Electronic Arts needed to start somewhere, and that their 'pioneering' work should be appreciated. And perhaps it is because of that pioneering work that the next installment of the Command & Conquer line looks stunning. When the E3 Launch Trailer was first shown I felt a rush of adrenaline, the game looked - that - good. This was quickly tempered by the knowledge that this was - only - a trailer and nothing actually in-game was shown. In hindsight, the trailer should have prepared me for what was to come, but my bruises had not yet faded and I just wasn't ready to trust. Until the in-game footage came out in August, looked even better than the trailer, and absolutely blew me away. Is it too early to say "Command & Conquer is back and it is going to redefine the Real Time Strategy genre"? It probably is but it sure will be fun to find out.
Telling the tale
One of the strengths of the Command & Conquer games has always been the background story. The basic gameplay is broken up by intermittent events that change the current situation completely. Narrated in full motion video and using professional actors, these interruptions come at the most surprising moments. Command & Conquer 3 promises to take this even further. The plot is promised to be of epic proportions, with 'thriller novel' ambitions and played out by solid actors like Michael Ironside and Grace Park. And when you learn that Joe Kucan (Kane) will make a return as well, you just know that we are in for a treat.
When we revisit Command & Conquer, we will find ourselves in 2047. An uneasy peace has settled after the last Tiberium War. As fans of the series know, Kane - leader of the Brotherhood of Nod - is a hard man to kill and all hell breaks loose the moment of his reappearance.