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LITTLE TO COMMAND AND NOTHING TO CONQUER
on 25 March 2010
It is always sad when a great historic game franchise comes to the end of its road. But it is depressingly sad to watch it do so in this condition.
KANE IN DISNEYLAND?
The graphics are laughable. True, EA has been steering the C&C franchise towards the ...cartoon direction ever since the RED ALERT 3 installment. But the RED ALERT series had always been more playful. Even so, what was barely palatable for a RED ALERT game is outright insulting for a TIBERIUM one.
If his tanks could still run-over infantry units, have no doubt, he would hunt down whoever did this to him.
Because, you cannot mock Kane and avoid having your lungs infused with Tiberium fumes!
MORE UNITS? PLEASE WAIT BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE. FOREVER.
One of the most annoying features of the new C&C4 is the units cap. You cannot produce more units above a (very low) number. Upgrading your tech-tree with such a unit cap in place means you have to kill and replace most of your units - and make painful decisions as some units are more equal than others. It feels like having to deal with a (small) Diablo-like inventory: whatever does not fit within the grid must be left behind to rot.
And to add insult to injury, extra units are bestowed with a dropper. A tiny one.
This cap reeks of one thing: an attempt to turn this series into a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (fewer units means less lag). And no one seems to care that this took away one of the most fun tactics in a C&C game: tank rushing.
SORRY, ALL OF OUR TIBERIUM-HARVESTERS HAVE BEEN RECALLED. WOULD YOU CARE FOR A SENSIBLE COMPACT?
A COMMAND & CONQUER game without harvesting? It could be an RTS game of any name (and there have been baseless RTS games before), why did it have to be a C&C game? Because, once again, EA proves to have no respect for this beautiful art-form. If it means exploiting a classic title in its swan song to sell a few more units, so be it.
Moreover, game publishers seem to have an ever declining expectation of their targeted customer IQ. Hence the ever simplified games released. So, yes, this feels like C&C-for-Dummies.
BATTLEFIELD CONTROLS OFFLINE? YOU'RE SCREWED COMMANDER!
Yes, this must be the most inconvenient DRM scheme ever.
If you hate STEAM for requiring endless updates, this is worse.
If you hate games that require online activation because they never actually become yours, yes, this is worse.
And if you hate games that come with Limited Activations and become worthless the moment you pop the box, well yes, this is worse.
This inconceivable scheme demands for the owner of this game to always be online to verify that the copy he payed for is legitimate. That's right, not just activation, ALWAYS ONLINE. Yes, even for a single player game.
Will it deter piracy? No, pirates will be playing the game without all those DRM hassles. Legitimate gamers are left complaining - and, once more, EA will turn a deaf ear.
All in all, C&C4 will not appeal neither to old friends of the series nor younger gamers. And (for as long as it will keep working), it will have you jumping through hoops for the privilege of having ...bought it. And I thought it was the other way around.
This Tiberium field is long depleted.
Move along Commanders.