Command and Conquer games have always been fun, even C&C Generals was fun and regardless of what people say, that's what really matters. You can have a tonne of units and a mass of buildings, but if the game's not fun then there's no real reason to play it other than to trounce the online opposition whilst writing rude words into the online chat system.
But Generals was set in the real world with proper factions, like the US and the Chinese. Where was the love for GDI and NOD I hear you ask? There wasn't any - so we had to wait until now, 2007, for the advent of Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.
Whenever I hear the word Tiberium I always think of Tiberius, which for a Trekkie (and I'm not) is the middle name of Captain Kirk. A whole crystal field of pure Shatner is enough to give anyone nightmares, moving on.
C&C 3 throws us back into the conflict between GDI and NOD by presenting the whole thing Wing Commander Hollywood movie style. With a big and bold cast list of actors from shows such as Battlestar Galactica (new) and Lost you've got some hot FMV on your hands right from the get go.
It even has Michael (voice of Sam Fisher) Ironside and Billy (Lando) Dee Williams in on the act.
The story is presented to you in FMV format with some lavish production values and some nice virtual sets. It's an ambitious game and I won't spoil the plot at all by giving out any information on it, just suffice it to say that you are going to either play as GDI or NOD and do your very best to wipe the opposing faction out.
The game itself is instantly familiar to C&C players using a variant of the BFME II engine, with some extra bells and whistles along with some left-out features. One feature that the game could have done with is more on base defence, walls would have been nice, and we like to build walls. I love nothing more than playing the Dwarves in BFME II and building walls all over the place.
My main gripe with C&C 3 is that it has all been done before. The maps are big, but they don't feel as nice as some of the other games. The units we've seen before are there with some new units and some major abilities like GDI's Ion Cannon, I remember that from C&C Renegade (one of my favourite things to watch).
I like the Commando, he's a bad ass unit that can take a lot of punishment and do all sorts of damage to the enemy - buildings and all, a regular one man army.
But on the surface what looks pretty is pretty dull after a while, you yearn for a little more strategy in the use of the units and the aforementioned walls would have added a lot more tactical options to the game. If the enemy can dig in behind these things with defence towers galore in the game's SP story, why can't I build them as well as use them in MP?
If you've played a RTS game before then you're going to be right at home with C&C 3. It doesn't break the mould of the genre or offer any new way of constructing your base. You build the same types of things, power plants and so on to facilitate expansion. Pit your units against the enemy and fight a war of attrition until you've either won the map and can move on via FMV or briefings or lost and have to revert to a save.