Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars Preview

The long awaited sequel to Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun will make its way to fans’ hands in a month. It’s been a long time since the last game in the iconic series, so you can bet Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars will be cranking the RTS gameplay and visuals to the next level. EALA, which is comprised of the studio that made the past C&C games, is bringing back the GDI and the Brotherhood of Nod. Joining them is a new race of mysterious aliens named The Scrin. A single player demo was released on Monday, which samples a tutorial, two campaign maps and a skirmish map.

In the demo, you control a new commander of the GDI. After a pretty brief tutorial and a prelude mission, which introduces some key figures of the GDI and some basic units of the faction, you play the first level of the campaign. The infamous Brotherhood of Nod had been dormant for over 17 years until they unleashed a crippling attack to the space station Philadelphia, which destroys most of the GDI senior command structure. The first mission takes place in Egypt, where you have to destroy some Nod port and harbor bays which supplies the world with military technology.

The gameplay seems to be standard C&C series fare. You build up your base, mine Tiberium and build structures and units. In the sampled level, you get your feet wet with quite a number of GDI units. Basic infantry ranges from standard riflemen, to grenadiers, to rocket soldiers, to heavily armed zone troopers. While riflemen are good for defeating enemy infantry, they’re extremely vulnerable to enemy armor, so make sure to tag them with some rocket soldiers or even zone troopers. Most units do come with a special skill or attack; zone troopers, for example, have jet packs. As for GDI armor, you can have some fun with the APC, which transports troops around, the Mammoth 27, which is the GDI’s main tank unit and the Orca, which are very lightly armored jets, but very useful for hit and run tactics.

You’ll also get your hands on the GDI’s various buildings. The core of a GDI base is the construction yard, which is deployed from a mobile construction vehicle, or MCV. Once deployed, you’ll be building everything from the MCV; power plants power your base, refineries harvest Tiberium, barracks train your infantry, war factories produce your armor, landing pads launch your air units, radar dishes gives you your mini-map (if you’re lacking power, the mini-map will be static), armories have your relatively basic military upgrades, technology centers have your most powerful military upgrades, and your ion cannon uplink links your base with an orbiting ion cannon, which is absolutely stunning to see in-game.

C&C3’s menu system is quite handy for an RTS title. The game’s menu system easily separates which MCV is creating what, and also separates the vast number of different units being manufactured. Grouping units together is also very easy, thanks to the game’s grouping system. In past RTS games if you have a bunch of units on screen, it can get very hectic trying to command everything at once. But C&C3 has a really easy notification system that lets you know where everything is. Controlling a bunch of units is very smooth and fluid, even with a lot going on on-screen.

C&C3 uses a heavily modified SAGE engine, which is the same engine used in C&C: Generals. One of the striking points thus far about C&C3 is the visuals. EALA is definitely paying attention to eye candy. Not only can the enhanced SAGE engine render beautiful landscapes and destroyed towns, but the detailed units are very beautiful. Idle riflemen will stand at attention and cautiously eye the terrain, while idle zone troopers will do push-ups. When troops are attacking a building, you can not only see pieces of the building fly off and bounce around realistically on the ground, but fires will even break out, causing smoke to billow from the wind, and the heat will cause your view to be hazy. Thanks to the optimization of the game’s engine, you’ll be enjoying the visuals without sacrificing performance.

EALA is really trying to make C&C3 the best it can be. With the re-introduction of FMVs, you can really feel the quality of the production, and get a hint of nostalgia. Some star power is present in the FMVs, too. For example, Michael Ironside (Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell fame) plays GDI Lieutenant General Jack Granger, while Joseph Kucan returns as the brooding Kane. C&C3 hits store shelves on March 28th for PC and early May for the Xbox 360. Prepare to command and conquer your way to fight the Nod in the Tiberium Wars.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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