Game-A-Week: Command and Conquer 4 – Tiberian Twilight

Game Title: Command and Conquer 4 – Tiberian Twilight

The Gist: Command and Conquer 4 takes place after the events of Tiberium Wars and Kane’s Wrath. The game finds the Earth literally smothered in tiberium until Kane knocks on GDI’s door and offers them a solution involving the Tacitus, the same device which advanced both GDI and NOD’s understanding of tiberium and their technological abilities. This game breaks away from the typical base building and resource collecting game play found in the command and conquer franchise and replaces it with control points and mobile bases that can build units and a very limited number of structures for defence such as turrets and bunkers. The game acts as the final act of the tiberium series of Command and Conquer games with the intention of concluding the storyline of Kane and tiberium on Earth.

Pros: The game introduces a number of new units whilst retaining a selection of units from various other tiberium universe games. The game also brings back the one and only Kane actor Joseph D. Cucan which brings some form of authenticity to the game.

Cons: The number of cons for this game is alarming. Base building and resource collecting are for me the foundation of a CnC game and it’s beyond my comprehension why this game feels it needs to leave that behind. Whilst I understand the developers may have been under pressure to renew the series and be innovative killing off trademark elements such as these effectively alters game play so much that someone who’s been playing these games since Tiberian Dawn back in 1995 will have little to feel nostalgic about.

The visual style for the game baffles me. Unit’s and the environment I’m playing in seem ‘chunky’, so much so that I had to check if I set the game to the wrong resolution. The detail on the units isnt impressive enough to warrant being zoomed in this close and it takes the perspective away from a CnC war on screen to a mere battle. The cinematics for CnC games have varied in how they were made, typically they have been quite tongue-in-cheek but occasionally take on a more serious tone as with Tiberium Wars. The actors used in these cinematics vary but I was always fond of Tiberium Wars for utilizing current Sci-Fi show’s actors for a sci-fi storyline.

You can probably tell that Tiberium Wars remains on my mind even after playing the sequel CnC 4 but that’s because I felt that it was the apex of the series. Not only were we greeted with exceptional graphics and style but an interesting storyline that ended up revealing things players of the tiberium universe have speculated about for years, namely the inclusion of the Scrin. Allowing players to take on this third faction brought the series onto the level of Starcraft and increased the single player mission and multiplayer dynamics. It’s a pity that CnC 4 abandons this faction and ends the storyline involving them as they essentially cut the games dynamics by a third.

Musical Note: Again the fourth game leaves behind tradition and trades in the sci-fi/techno mix of a soundtrack for something resembling a mix of Star Wars/Starship Troopers and Aliens. The move is unwelcome, feels out of place during cinematics and combat and feels too different to what we’ve been brought up on.

Hunger Level: I’ve little desire to play this game again but my hunger for the story will bring me back one day if only to say that I’ve completed it. I haven’t tried out the multiplayer as of yet which is said to be one of the key elements of the game…it’s just I can’t help but wonder why I’d play that component with something as brilliant as StarCraft 2 sits in my collection.

Conclusion: Give it a miss unless you’re a diehard CnC/Tiberium fan and even then brace for impact as you’ll be hit by disappointment after disappointment. Apparently a new CnC game is in the works by a brand new development studio ‘victory games’, but I can’t help point out to EA that anything else brand new for this series is merely another turn-off for me. CnC has had its time, give it a few years and see how the RTS genre is doing and if it’s at a low it won’t be so bad if they fail again.

One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-a-Week’ @ Black Vinculum

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