Command & Conquer 3 Review

This review covers the differences in the 360 and PC versions. For a full review of the game’s features and the rest check out the original PC review.

Command and Conquer 3 for the Xbox 360 is EA’s second real-time strategy (RTS) game on the console, and like its predecessor it’s a game with a slick presentation, above average gameplay, and a control scheme that is fine…in small battles. Having played RTS games on the console before, as well as the PC, I came into this game with a positive mindset. Although I have never believed that the console controls have been superior to the PC in this genre, I have always thought that they worked.

Experienced RTS players will want to jump right into the campaign, but take it from me, don’t. If you do, you will hate the game more than your grandma hated the intraweb the first time she used it by herself after she figured out how to turn on her computer. Take a quick glance at your keyboard. That’s a lot of keys, isn’t it? Now, if you’re an RTS veteran like me you need all of them. Quick keys are more than a convenience, they are a necessity. Now imagine taking all of those keys away and replacing them with an arrow that is representative of the alpha numeric number keys. Now imagine never being able to quickly hit the 5 key and then the 9 key. Now imagine having to scroll through all of them to select your units. Annoying, isn’t it? Add the possibility of adding and subtracting units to your groups and you have yourself an excellent time waster in the heat of battle.

After finishing the fairly lengthy tutorial you are given a series of short missions with a fairly limited amount of resources and troops. Here, managing your units is fairly easy; you rarely have more than 10 at a time, and almost anyone should be able to finish them on their first try. In these missions, the player is instructed to capture towers that provide consistent amounts of income as opposed to the traditional gathering of tiberium using harvesters. This allows you to concentrate much more closely on the production and implementation of units rather than babysitting the harvester.

"Great," I thought. They did it. They actually made an RTS game on the console with controls that surpassed my expectations. If I would have stopped there my experience with the game would have been mostly positive, but I didn’t…

As the missions progress, you are given more abilities and much more troops to handle. Some missions have you fighting battles in separate locations while still maintaining the defense of your base and the production of troops. For an RTS this is pretty standard. Sadly, the average player will be severely limited by what they can do simply because they are playing this game with the controller. The worst part about it is that the game still runs at the same pace as it does on the PC. Enemy units will bombard your base while you’re still recovering from the last attack and reorganizing your units into groups. It was especially frustrating for me in that I knew what I had to do, but I was being held back by this mass of off-white plastic in my hands. Wait, let’s not blame it on that, because in all honesty, the control scheme really does work wonders in the smaller battles. Let’s blame it on the fact that this is a PC port and that it wasn’t designed for the console from the ground-up.

If you’ve never played an RTS on the PC you might not notice these inconveniences — you might actually think the controls are fine and that you could take on the PC players. Protip: You’ll be wrong about that latter part. So very, very wrong.

Here are a few random observations of some of the less important differences in the 360 version:

  • The inclusion of camera compatibility has been hyped to no end but it’s really no big deal. You can see your opponents as you play. Big deal.
  • The load times suck. Start the game, it loads. Load your save game, it, ya know, loads. Select your mission, it loads again. If you want to load your game in the middle of battle to start over, the game takes extra long just to check your saves before you can actually load the file, then it loads your game.
  • Slowdown is present in some of the larger battles. It’s not game-breaking, but it’s not exactly enjoyable.
  • Like any good RTS, the multiplayer is the strongest point, and Command and Conquer 3 most certainly delivers on the 360 as well as on the PC.

Command and Conquer 3 isn’t a phenomenal game. The pacing is hit-and-miss and there are balancing tweaks needed here and there. Hopefully the 360 version will get the patches the PC version is getting. It’s evident the game wasn’t made for the 360, but the slick presentation and utter charm of the cutscenes save it from being another underwhelming console RTS. Now, if EA can take what they’ve learned and apply it to a console-developed RTS we might see something truly revolutionary.


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Author: Kyle Stallock View all posts by

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