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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Genre: Real-time strategy
Players: 1-36
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: March 28, 2007
Systems: PC, Xbox 360
Screenshots: LINK
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Since its original release in 1995, the Command and Conquer series has always been a major franchise in the real-time strategy genre. The first game in the series, which is simply called Command and Conquer, arguably put the real-time strategy genre on the map and has since spawned one sequel and two spin offs; Red Alert and Generals. Itís been nearly eight years since the release of Tiberian Sun, the last Command and Conquer in the original storyline. At long last, the Tiberium series is coming to an end with the release of Tiberium Wars.

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars concludes the stories of the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and the Brotherhood of Nod. The alien resource Tiberium and two Tiberium wars have left most of the world destroyed and uninhabitable. The defeat of NOD in the second Tiberium War has brought hope to the GDI that the conflict is finally over, but Nod has been slowly rebuilding and the leader of Nod, Kane, once again emerges from the ashes of a supposed death. The Nod now controls half the world. The GDI readies one last final confrontation with Nod but as the third Tiberium War breaks begins, an unknown alien race invades Earth, making the war the ever more complicated.

The third installment returns to the classic style of Command and Conquer. Forgoing the bottom bar menu scene in Generals and most other RTSs, Tiberium Wars utilizes a side bar menu scene in both the original Command and Conquer and Tiberian Sun. This means that players can build new units and structures without having to directly select their base. Each of the three sides featured in the game are unique and require different strategies to achieve victory. The GDI have the advantage of technology whereas Nod can build units more quickly and cheaply.

New features include the use of zones. There are three different zones: Blue, yellow and red. Blue zones represent area controlled by the GDI and resemble first world nations. Yellow zones are controlled by Nod and resemble third world nations. The red zones are areas that have been so infested with Tiberium and war that it no longer can support life. Only with proper equipment can anyone hope to survive in the red zone. Of course, the biggest new feature is the introduction of the alien race known as the Scrin. The Scrin use a variety of alien technology and are able to walk through Tiberium without taking damage or dying.

Tiberium Wars promises the biggest variety of units ever in a Command and Conquer game. Approximately 40% of the units are from older games in the series. Some returning units include the Mammoth Tank, flame tank, rocket bike, engineer, and much more. The other 60% are units new to the series. One new unit is the Avatar, a Nod tank. When first built, the avatar acts like a standard tank but it has the ability to inherit the features of other units. For example, if the player commands the avatar to inherit the abilities of a flame tank, the avatar will then be able to use a flame thrower. However, the player will lose the flame tank in the process. Each avatar can learn up to three attributes making them one of the most devastating units in the game. Of course, all the alien units are entirely new. Some of their units include the Annihilator Tripod, which resembles the tripods from War of the Worlds, and Buzzers that swarm infantry units with buzz saws.

Like every Command and Conquer game outside of Generals, Tiberium Wars incorporates live action cutscenes at the beginning of each mission. While technology today allows for cutscenes to be far more cinematic with just using the in game engine, it wouldnít be a Command and Conquer game without the use of live actors. Joseph Kucan once again returns to reprise his role as the Nod leader Kane and is sure to please to longtime fans of the series.

Outside of the single player campaign, players can take the battle online in a variety of multiplayer game modes. The usual suspects will be in the PC version. Command and Conquer has become well-known as a rush multiplayer game where players quickly build of their units to try and swarm an enemy base within a matter of minutes. The Xbox 360 version will include new game modes to help newcomers to the series. One new game mode is where a barrier divides of the map for a short period of time at the beginning of the match. Players are unable to cross the barriers until it goes down. This will give players time to build up their forces without having to worry about being overrun in the first few minutes.

It has been a long road for the Command and Conquer series. While the name will live run, Tiberium Wars makes the end of the original storyline that started it all. The war between the GDI and Nod is almost as long as real-time strategy games themselves and will surely be missed. Tiberium Wars looks to be a fitting ending to a saga. Donít miss this final installment when it hits stores in March.

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