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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Los Angeles

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

April 2007

 

 

- Nearly perfect PC-to-Xbox 360 translation again from the EA Los Angeles development team

- 25 hours of RTS fun fighting both sides of the conflict, including great commando missions

 

 

- When trying to select units or move them into a new position, cursor often jumps to unintended units

- “Strategy” oftentimes comes down to just being a quicker builder of bases and units – you only need to outlast your rival by “out-uniting” him and overrunning the opposition’s bases before you are overrun yourself

 

 

Review: Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II (360)

Review: Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (PC)

Review: Aliens vs Predator: Extinction (XB)

 

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Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

You always remember your first. For me, it was Command & Conquer back in 1995. The GDI vs. Nod real-time strategy game was my first PC gaming addiction that kept me up late nights playing hour after hour. It led straight into a similar WarCraft gaming compulsion before I gradually moved from hardcore PC gamer to hardcore console gamer.

 

I did get to relive some of those C&C memories last year when I reviewed C&C: The First Decade, a compilation of all the C&C titles up to that date. I revisited the evolution of the C&C franchise from GDI vs. Nod to C&C Generals, which abandoned the hugely successful original story and instead introduced a “generals in a quest for global domination” game that proved popular, just not as much as the beloved original C&C.

 

comman & conquer 3          command & conquer 3

 

Last year, Electronic Arts decided it was time again – time to bring back the original GDI vs. Nod story, complete with Kane and his Brotherhood devising planetary control with the whole Global Defense Initiative forces fighting that from becoming a reality, all being watched by the unseen eye of a sinister species definitely not of this earth, in C&C 3: Tiberium Wars.

 

Surprisingly, however, was that the title was not only going to appear in the PC, which was expected, but that it would be almost simultaneously appearing on a

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console –the Xbox 360. RTS titles haven’t always had an easy transition from PC to console, with their heavy reliance on mouse & keyboard control compared to using a console controller.

 

But if any developer would have the skills to shift C&C: Tiberium Wars over to the Xbox 360 from the PC, it would be EA Los Angeles, the team

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responsible for another earlier excellent PC-to-Xbox 360 RTS, Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth II.

 

And the results are the same here for C&C 3: Tiberium Wars, as the title makes a nearly flawless move from the PC to the Xbox 360, with, an astonishingly solid control setup to go along with addictive gameplay, Xbox Live playability, and a great story fueled by the classically cheesy, yet with a just-right level of seriousness full-motion video starring a Hollywood cast (counting Billy Dee Williams, Michael Ironside and the one and only Joseph Kucan as Kane among its recognizable faces) that introduces GDI vs. Nod to console gamers.

 

It’s 2047 and Tiberium, an alien substance that was once seen as an amazing new source of endless energy, is spreading like a viral infection sickening Mother Earth. It has become the dawn of a radioactive age of mankind, where more and more areas of land have transformed into uninhabitable wastelands because of the Tiberium fields. While GDI is fighting to contain the Tiberium spread, delusional and maniacal Kane and his Nod minions are looking to control the Tiberium and become a global dictatorship, imposing a twisted worldview on each and every human walking the planet. Oh, and for good measure, we’ll learn that we’re not alone in the universe, as the alien beings known as the Scrin interject full-force into the raging GDI / Nod conflict.

 

As with most RTS titles, your goal is similar: collect resources (in this case, Tiberium), build bases and armies, and then defeat the enemy by overpowering their respective base and army.

 

command & conquer 3          comman & conquer 3

 

Sounds simple enough, and in truth, oftentimes it is – a lot of winning at RTS gaming boils down to simply outbuilding your opponent on the battlefield and winning a war of “last man standing.” But there are plenty of missions among the 35 contained within the game between the two primary factions (along with a handful for the Scrin that are unlocked once you complete both the GDI and Nod storylines) that require strategizing your troop and unit movement, because if you choose the wrong path of attack, the rival force’ll easily vanquish you.

 

As mentioned before, where the biggest area of concern lies for any developer of a console RTS is providing responsive controls. C&C, like most RTS titles, is really suited completely for a keyboard & mouse schematic, with the building of units, structures that comprise your base and war machines such as tanks, planes and mechs and then properly manipulating all the units and structures under your command on the battlefield. EA Los Angeles has devised similar controls in C&C 3: Tiberium Wars as it had in Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth II.

 

Navigating is done using a branching on-screen interface in unison with the Xbox 360 controller’s buttons and triggers. It certainly isn’t as perfectly suited for a RTS as the PC’s mouse & keyboard, but EA Los Angeles has come as close as a console can get, although the selector cursor is a bit jumpy. When trying to select one of two or more closely grouped units, the cursor will many times “leap” to a nearby (but totally unwanted) unit, which can really make a sticky situation in the heat of battle much, much stickier. Overall, however, the controls are very good.

 

One of the most exciting aspects of the original C&C way back in 1995 was online play. Remember, that was a time of Internet infancy, where the World Wide Web wasn’t so wide and a 28.8k dial-up modem was cutting-edge technology. C&C 3: Tiberium Wars has online play, too, and I enjoyed my online forays with a few different standard modes, including Capture the Flag and King of the Hill along with some fresh offerings such as Siege and Capture and Hold. Naturally, there’s use of the Xbox Live headset during battles, but if you have the Xbox camera, you can also integrate Xbox Live Vision into your online wars.

 

The high-teach weaponry and vehicles are the most impressive-looking collateral on the C&C 3: Tiberium Wars warfront. Surprisingly, in the pulled-back overhead view, there doesn’t seem to be much of a graphical difference between C&C 3: Tiberium Wars and Command & Conquer 2 or Generals. I guess that’s more a testament to how good the graphical presentation was back then than it is now, although when you zoom in you’ll have a better respect for the “next-generation” quality of C&C 3: Tiberium Wars’ visual detail. The sounds of your theater of war, especially when the latter battles against the Scrin take place, are very good. You’ll never forget the death cry of the Scrin Annihilator Tripod once you hear it. Explosions and screams of soon-to-be-dead soldiers are just as good as they’ve always been in a C&C title.

 

Being a huge C&C fan, I held the developers to a higher measure of quality than another title that doesn’t have such a nostalgic spot in my gaming life. Even with that raised expectation, C&C 3: Tiberium Wars more than meets my stringent standards for the franchise, and Electronic Arts’ EA Los Angeles team proves once again their skill at designing an excellent RTS title for the Xbox 360.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(May 29, 2007)

 

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