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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Los Angeles

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

March 16, 2010

 

 

- Some actual strategy required

- Better with human players

 

 

- Almost unrecognizable as a Command & Conquer game
- Experience points
- Really annoying DRM solution

 

 

Review: Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath (PC)

Review: Command & Conquer: The First Decade (PC)

Review: Command & Conquer: Renegade (PC)

Review: Universe at War (PC)

 

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Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight

Score: 3.0 / 10

 

command & conquer 4          command & conquer 4

 

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.

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After two or three, I simply didn't care.

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

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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?

 

command & conquer 4          command & conquer 4


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.

- Aaron Simmer

(May 2, 2010)

 

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