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Command and Conquer 3 - PC Game Review

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Published April 1st 2013
Arguably the best C&C titles of all time, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and the expansion Kane's Wrath represent the ultimate in classic science-fiction-themed real-time strategy.


Tiberium Wars (2007)



The year is 2047 and the Third Tiberium War is imminent. The Global Defense Initiative (GDI) is now a Western superpower that has consolidated its dominion throughout most habitable zones of the Earth. The alien resource known as tiberium, once a praised foreign mineral, now threatens the ecosystem and has developed dangerous and uninhabitable places to live.

Where GDI are trying to protect people from the dangers of tiberium, a terrorist cell known as the Brotherhood of Nod rises from the ashes of decades-old defeat to challenge the 'oppressors' once again. Kane, mysterious and feared leader of the Brotherhood of Nod, kickstarts the Third Tiberium War with a bang by launching a warhead that annihilates GDI's geo-stationary satellite, Philadelphia.

Nod hit hard and prey on GDI's desperate and neglected communities that are most severely affected by tiberium radiation and sway them to join their cause via deception, intimidation and slander. And just as history repeats itself a third faction joins the party


Aliens

The Scrin, oblivious to the war between GDI and Nod, begin their invasion of Earth. Tiberium Wars introduces a third playable faction to the C&C mix that are most definitely over powered by late-game. The trick is to cripple the alien forces before they can reach higher tier structures and units.

Like the Protoss from StarCraft, the Scrin have the most expensive build orders that they warp into existence and they also possess terrifying aircraft like the planetary assault carrier that unleashes a dozen or so drone fighters. These planetary assault carriers complemented with a balanced strike force of buzzers (a cloud of sharp robots that kill humans on contact), seekers (light tank with plasma disc launchers) and annihilator tripods (elegant and powerful walkers with lasters) are an impressive force to be reckoned with.


Gameplay

GDI adopt a tried-and-true policy where they train quality rifleman, rocket infantry and build solid tanks to uphold their protectorate. They also have VTOL jets at their disposal. To escalate the war effort, railgun upgrades can be purchased to pack those predators and mammoths with a heavier punch.

Nod, however, rely on fanatics and experimental tiberium technology to seize the day. Although not as tough as GDI, Nod's light tanks and air fighters (venoms) make excellent scouts and opportunists for hit-and-run attacks. Need to smash a turret or structure of interest? Send a formation of vertigo bombers, which shares the same cloak technology as the agile stealth tank. Both vertigo and stealth tank units will only unveil when they fire their payload or when they're detected.

And it wouldn't be a C&C game without super weapons. GDI have their impressive ion cannon in the sky while Nod have their stockpile of nukes. It is important to note that these weapons of mass destruction are much, much deadlier than the tiny explosions from the 1995 game. A well placed nuke or ion cannon strike can make all the difference, which is why the countdowns and the temple of Nod/ion cannon control structures are visible to all players. The Scrin equivalent, the rift generator, is something you never want to see happen to your base. The devastation is so profound it could be game over from the moment it is activated.


Kane's Wrath (2008)



And so the story continues. The singleplayer content spans years to show what the Brotherhood of Nod were up to between the second and third Tiberium Wars. Fans of the machiavellian Kane will enjoy the rollercoaster ride of revelations and mysteries concerning his mission for 'ascension' and his connection to tiberium and the Scrin.


Sub-factions

As with all expansions there are two unique sub-factions for each major player in the game that emphasises a particular strategy while lacking something else for balance. There are now nine playable races to choose from.

The Black Hand comprise Nod's elite soldiers and feature a rocket soldier that can be upgraded to contain a flamethrower specialist. These guys in great numbers can tackle anything.

ZOCOM (Zone Operations Command) are GDI's task force for trialling sonic weaponry. Zone troopers jet-pack across the field while zone shatterers (tanks with sonic burst cannons) lay waste causing splash damage that is effective against large numbers.

Reaper-17 is Scrin's crack ground assault force and trades all of its aerial assets for powerful seekers, annihilator tripods and shard upgrades.


Big toys

The last major addition to the C&C 3 formula is the introduction of epic units. Instead of spending your credits to build a super weapon that your opponent will just blast before you get to use it, invest in one of the following:

GDI can develop the Mammoth Armed Reclamation Vehicle (MARV) which is a humungous tank. Send up to four infantry types into it to provide extra weapons or a health buff. MARVs can roll over tiberium field and instantly convert the crystals into cash. Park your MARV in an enemy base or crush your enemy's strike force. The sonic cannon is deadly.

Nod can unleash the Redeemer, which is a four-legged mech armed with a tri-laser and a rage generator. Activate the rage generator when the Redeemer is near enemy troops and those troops will fight among themselves. This is most effective when you cloak the mech and sneak it near a large idle army. There are two passenger spots in the redeemer to provide additional weapons or a repair module.

Scrin have their spider-like Eradicator Hexapod that fires large plasma discs and converts dead soldiers into currency. This bio-mechanical monstrosity is even more dangerous when a mastermind or a prodigy is placed inside because it enables short range teleportation to get the Eradicator Hexapod out of trouble.


Overall

The campaigns are worth playing if you care for the lore. Most people boot up C&C 3 for the glorious multiplayer. Fast-paced, most rounds usually last up to 20 minutes. Play with friends and team up against AI opponents. Maps cater for up to eight players and if you're hungry for more you can either make your own or find them online.

The graphics, even by today's standards, are immaculate: full of rich colour, distortion and particle effects. It's all about the fire and the explosions and they look perfect. C&C 3 will not disappoint.
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