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Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
Score: 3.0 / 10
Taking an established franchise like
Command & Conquer and re-inventing it or taking chances with something
new is commendable. It's the only way irrelevancy can be avoided. But
with Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight the series has been gutted
from Adam's apple to ankles and re-arranged into something that is
almost unrecognizable as a Command & Conquer game.
Those campy live-action videos between missions lack any camp value
whatsoever. Oh sure, Joe Kucan as Kane is accounted for but that's it.
There's no chewing of the scenery, no hilarious writing, no
over-the-top, what-the-hell? moments. C&C4 goes the serious route and
fails utterly. This is the first time I've skipped C&C cutscenes.
Even more damning is that the same can be said of the actual game.
In short, C&C4 is boring. It pains me to write that since I've heaped
praise on most of the other C&C games, even Generals, because I've
enjoyed them so much. This just isn't fun.
Through the quick tutorial, I was
introduced to the smaller squad tactics --
traditional Tiberium collection is gone, so is the tank rush -- which
requires much more management of units. I'm not averse to a little
micromanagement, figuring out the most effective formations and
complement of units, but a few small screw-ups is all it takes to lose
everything. I had to completely re-adjust my sights on this one.
Base building is almost entirely absent. Strategy revolves around use of
the MCV, which takes on three specialized forms: Attack, Defense,
Support. Only one can be on the battlefield at a time (per player) and
they can be swapped out almost on a whim. All your units spawn from this
MCV so protecting it and moving it around the map is important. But it
just tends to make the game move at a slower, more deliberate pace,
which is not something I was expecting at all. I certainly didn't enjoy it. Neither did I enjoy being completely frustrated because I
didn't have the right MCV on the field, spitting out the appropriate
units and trying to manage under a very low population cap. It's a
little better playing online with other people but I couldn't help but
feel I was wasting my time.
For whatever reason, there's an Experience Points system in place that
is of global concern: whatever mode you play in, experience points are
earned. Levelling up opens bigger and better things. This kind of thing
makes completely sense in a game like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (which
I've played well beyond the review) when playing online matches.
During a single-player match, this kind of thing makes no sense to me.
Rather than "teching up" you're encouraged to grind. This isn't an MMO,
why do I have to play it like one?
Even when I was enjoying myself -- having a huge group of reinforcements
that circumvents the population limit is a lot of fun when you get to
stomp around the map levelling things in true C&C style -- in the back
of my mind there was this fear that at any moment there might be a
hiccup in my Internet connection. C&C4 uses a DRM (anti-piracy measures)
that means if my connection cuts out, the game drops and I lose any
unsaved progress. While I can sympathize with EA in wanting to kill
piracy, when I'm finally turning the tide of a drawn-out single-player
battle only to experience a connection burp and drop out of the game,
well, that has all the makings of a fist through my monitor. As a result
I was saving my game every couple of minutes.
I had a certain expectations going into C&C 4 and they was utterly
destroyed, even knowing about some of the changes beforehand. Normally
if a situation like this happens, I simply shift the game to someone
else; if I can't give this game a fair shake, maybe one of our other
writers can take a crack at it. However, thanks to the fact I downloaded
the review copy, I can't just shift it to someone else.
It was good stab at trying to keep C&C "fresh" but I'm done.
NOTE: I deliberated for a very long
time on whether or not I should include a score with this review because
I didn't finish it. I
finally decided to for the simple reason that from the my point of view
and as a long time fan of C&C, I think the game completely fails. It's
out of step with the series, it didn't get me excited, and if I'd paid
money I'd be mad. It's put
together pretty well on a technical level, but there's no Love here.