For those of you that don't like excessive preambles and just want to get right down to the nitty-gritty of the game, well, here goes. I'm back again and this time I've got my sights on EA's Command and Conquer 3 for the Xbox 360. Just like BFME II the game runs on a similar engine (C&C Generals) and suffers from the same dodgy frame rates and glitches (when the action heats up)
It looks nice enough, don't get me wrong. It has everything that you'd expect from the C&C franchise except a decent control system. You see, other people might find that the control system works for them but I'll take a mouse and keyboard over a fiddly controller in a RTS game any day of the week thanks very much.
You have a magnetic selection mode in the console version; it kind of works but has a habit of selecting the unit that you least want. This is all right if you're just looking to move your units about without much thought for tactical placement, but it falls right down if you want to place a small unit somewhere for a bit of spying or a commando for a bit of destruction.
The system drops off the edge of a cliff if you are trying to select anything smaller than a tank basically. You have to memorise numerous button combinations (worse than a fighting game) in order to get the best out of the control system and I can't be doing with that, not when I'm trying to win a war against an AI who can do the same thing without the need for a game of Twister with its fingers.
If you want to select your whole army and tromp them around the map, then the control system functions all right for that.
The game is packed with gorgeous (funny and campy) FMV just like the PC version, you don't need to worry about video card issues and the FMV plays silky-smooth, it's just the actual gameplay frame-rate that takes a nose dive when the action really kicks into high gear. I seem to remember this from the BFME II game on the 360 as well; it was plagued with similar problems.
The story mode sees you play as the GDI (Global Defence Initiative) or the Brotherhood of Nod. There is a third faction but I won't spoil the story for you (even if you already know) by mentioning them. You play a bunch of missions for each side that have varying objectives but boil down to the good old amass resources, build an army worthy of Michael Ironside and kick the ever-living crap out of your opponent AI (which isn't as lethal as the Skirmish AI thankfully)
Play a few maps, get some FMV and advance the story, rinse and repeat. It's C&C as we know and love it. The performances of the various FMV actors vary, you'll see some famous faces from movie and TV here and their lines are pretty decent if you ask me (there can be a lot of cheese though).
It's nice to see that one of my favourite characters is back, portrayed by the original guy as well.
The sound and music are also excellent, there's nothing that I can fault those on so I'm not going to even try.