Genre: Strategy Developer: Electronic Arts Publisher: EA Classification: M Consumer Advice: Violence
Release Date: 18th Mar 2010 Platforms:
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This game was doomed from the start. Still, if you were lead designer on a sequel to a game which helped birth the RTS genre, what would you do? There's absolutely no chance of meeting expectations, and the franchise is already notorious for trading on nostalgia. So do you bow your head, accept defeat and make another clone? Or do you try out the most batshit crazy ideas you've had stashed away in your designer chest, and tailor them to GDI and NOD?
That's not the only problem they've had to overcome. EALA's public view is that Starcraft 2 is good for everyone involved in RTS, and it might be right. If (when) SC2 sells its pants off to both hardcore and mainstream gamers, a new generation of strategists will emerge, and perhaps be interested in the genre's other offerings. But make no mistake, Activision Blizzard had a strategy of its own when they widened their beta the same month as C&C4 and SupCom 2's release. With most journalists given access, it was a coverage-poaching move that perhaps both other games will easily stomach sales-wise, but we'll never know the full effect on their communities. The marketing equivalent of eco harassment.
Tiberium Twilight presents a dark future wherein everyone has lost their humanity in some way. Emotionally and mentally - through extended times of war - and physically - through either injury or just proximity to the mysterious Tiberium substance. As a returning commander - kept alive with a variety of implants - you've lost more than most.
The opening scene shows Kane (whose in-game stubbornness with death matches his refusal to age in real life) approaching some sort of big, important council with a long-awaited method of containing Tiberium's chokehold on the planet. Thus, GDI and NOD work together against a terrorist splinter faction, led by former NOD loyalist Gideon.
EALA wanted TT to be darker, grittier, and more believable – instead of the intentionally cheesy and hilarious campiness of Red Alert. If you plan on playing though, you'll wish I hadn't told you that. Cutscene quality is much the same, meaning ignorance is bliss in C&C4. The curse of prior knowledge is the difference between laughing with them, and laughing at them. Funny bad, and just plain bad.
But none of that matters if the gameplay is solid, right? Well, enter the crazy.
Your MCV is now truly mobile, able to pack, unpack, and even create units on the move. Now called a Crawler, it doesn't need Tiberium, or any other resource to make units. Gone are the harvesters, as Crawlers pump out units willy nilly until you reach your population cap.
Tiberium crystals themselves now act as flags, spread throughout the map, that you capture to upgrade your tech. These flags are hotly contested in multiplayer, as the first to upgrade will be spamming free tier 2 units against tier 1.
There's no more Scrin (what the hell was that **** anyway?), and C&C's system of very hard counters remains in place. Light, medium, and heavy units fall faster to bullet, cannon, and laser fire, respectively. It's funny seeing infantry and little attack bikes hold their position against massive tanks, but militarily, the counter system works very well.
Last but not least is the new classes; your Crawler can be one of three. Offence is the master of quickly fielding an army of rough tanks and mechs. Defence can build structures, as well as the infantry to garrison them. And Support controls mainly air units, as well as using Tiberium crystals to trigger powers like earthquakes under your enemy's base.
C&C4 takes heavy inspiration from World in Conflict here. Multiplayer matches are geared towards 5v5, and with each player controlling different types of units, you're forced to work together to become greater than the sum of your parts. You won’t be doing much at all starting out though, as the game forces you to level up to unlock units, even in multiplayer. Your first match will allow you less units than you can count on one hand, rendering you thoroughly useless. Silly move, EALA. That's what singleplayer is for.
Speaking of which, not much has been learned since the C&C campaigns of yesteryear. It's all very “go here, do that”, with little imagination. To fit in with the new mobile Crawlers, missions are now more mobile as well, which usually translates into the more boring missions of guarding convoys and the like.
To build cheap tension, you're often put on a timer to complete your objectives - and judging by the 5-hour length of the campaign, so was the development team. There are a handful of missions that undo your work as soon as it's done - watching a missile smugly cruise towards a civilian transport you've spent 20 minutes saving, or fighting your way into a base and taking it over only to have all the buildings - booby-trapped - blow up in your face. It takes away any sense of achievement, right before dangling virtual “achievements” in front of you, complete with +50XP.
You are able to do any mission co-op though, and oddly, the chat screen to organise this is built directly into your menu screen. I made use of this to chat to several multiplayer challengers, and this might surprise you, but 100% of those canvassed were pleased with C&C4's online play.
Once I got over needing to level up (and realised it wasn't much of a 1v1 game) I embraced the 5v5 craziness and it was a blast. Counting all classes from both GDI and NOD, there are essentially 6 factions, all with their own plethora of inventive units. It's impossible to predict what tactics will emerge, and of course, impossible to predict what imbalances will emerge, too.
Most matches will see you capturing control nodes throughout the map which - when the majority is controlled - give you Victory Points. These, with the Tiberium crystals and other buildings such as respawning zones and artillery towers, give the game a hefty emphasis on map control. Trouble is, there are too many points of interest on each map for five players to maintain control of.
This means matches of C&C4 are ever-moving. Attackers move forward, and those on the backfoot move into the newly created space. Even the Defence class can't stick around for too long, as a mobile commander can cap three points in the time it takes a stationary commander to secure one.
There are some solid design principles at work, and I’m sure many players would've liked to explore them further. But due to not allowing mirror-matches (NOD vs NOD, GDI vs GDI), there's no point in exploring C&C4's fantastically emergent gameplay. Why practice a complicated NOD strategy with four friends when the other team could get NOD in a coin toss?
It's a simple decision which cancels out much of multiplayer's depth by not making it worth a player's time to go hardcore. In its current unmodded state, C&C4 will remain a casual affair.
And then, of course, there's the DRM. We have a bit of a double-standard, us gamers. No one chews out other DRM platforms for doing similar, but yes, C&C4 is one of those games that requires a constant online connection to play, even for singleplayer. I attended a BYOC LAN recently where the internet was existent, but less than ideal, and couldn't open up the game at all.
Even at home, my beefy quad-core actually hung during the patching process – and something tells me neither Chrome or OpenOffice were to blame. In fact, the simple act of typing your account details into the pre-game launcher was enough to make my CPU stop and take a breather.
It's a shame to see the developers almost backed into a corner by waves of hate emanating from C&C fans on their own forums. It's clear that change was needed, but as the designers have said, “sometimes the pendulum swings too far.”
Have C&C players have grown to expect sameness? How responsible is it to change the formula so radically in the last instalment of this most established of franchises? Would these ideas have fared better in a completely different game?
Having been hooked on C&C since the demo of the first game, I’m about as purist as you can get. I felt almost apologetic for enjoying the hell out of multiplayer. But given only 10-20% of real-time strategists make use of multiplayer, was it responsible to nail the online play while relaxing on the singleplayer?
It's a shame we can't give two ratings. Hell, it's a shame we can't give three, just to slam the DRM. Once embraced and understood, I actually enjoyed the multiplayer more than SupCom 2, RUSE, and yes, even the Starcraft 2 beta. But singleplayer was like a tour of the worst parts of strategy games in the '90s, and hardly a fitting end to the Tiberium saga. So I’m giving a number based on overall fun, keeping in mind a very small part of that “overall” was the campaign. Whatever your tastes, there's no shortage of RTS games at the moment, so choose well and enjoy.
Absolutely a piece of rubbish. It is so crap, I don't really want to write any more. Lucky I have COD4. I am still playing multiplayer. But I love C&C. This one was made for XBOX and PS3 and not us PC users. Not all of us want this dumbed down ****.
I'm a true C&C Fan, I even counted down the day until it came out (they mixed up my order) I told my brother come play multiplayer with me (True RTS family) , not knowing that it was only internet. I got opened it up and it said to created an account? What the....
My bros. and use to play multiplayer C&C 3 Kane's Wrath all the time. (I usally win)
I'm not a Internet gamer except for Battlefield 2 because there is a GameArena Server. No internet usage! ;)
All in All, the game let me down because the over use of the internet leading non-internet gamers to play on line to complete the campaign. I rate it a 4 out 10 for campaigns, 9/10 for online play and 6.5/10 for all round.
This is a good game, regardless of what people say. I have seen a lot of bad reviews for this game because it is so different from the rest of the CnC games, but I like the change.
You can't spam units anymore and don't have to manage large bases as well, it has been simplifyed. You can take your base with you to the front line and roll out your units, you still get the super wapons too as the defence class, though a tab is needed.
A huge down side is obvious, no navel units!
There is no water on the maps that come with the game, I have played on custom maps that have water but units can drive into it and the crawler can unpack underwater!
This is a good game that doesn't get old, no matter how many times you have played as teamwork is a huge factor and is always different depending on who you go against. Online play is what this game is all about.
When I first heard that a new C&C game was coming out, I was ecstatic, being a long time fan of the franchise. I harken back to the good old days, of playing my friend in Tiberium Garden over a 14400 baud dial-up modem connection.
I'd been disappointed with Tiberium Sun; while the campaigns were good, I found the gameplay to be somewhat mediocre and the game itself full of bugs.
With C&C 3, I didn't let my hopes go up...but I was extremely impressed with it and felt that I was playing a true successor to the C&C 'Tiberium' franchise.
I'd high hopes that, since they'd done it right with C&C 3, that C&C 4 was going to be a worthy end to the series. Then came the innocent question via an online poll that provided little clarification:
"What do you think of mobile bases?" or something similar.
Stupid me, I immediately assumed that it would be similar to the Japanese faction in Red Alert 3: Structures that could individually pack up and move, an innovation which I enjoyed.
So I said I liked the idea.
Then, upon preordering C&C 4 and entering the beta, I was aghast at what EA had done.
They'd single-handidly killed the C&C Tiberium series.
Instead of an epic conclusion using the tried and true method of C&C play, instead of finishing off the Tiberium series sensibly...they altered the gameplay. Dramatically.
I could understand creating a new C&C line with this style of play, that would make sense. Instead, they put it in to the C&C series that started the whole franchise at its conclusion.
The beta, which was filled with players who had played the series from start to finish, was awash with 'don't do this' and 'save it for another game' and 'this is a BIG mistake'. EA didn't listen, despite the fact that the majority of testers were against the new format.
Now we have this game which should have been a final testament to one of the best, and longest running, most successful game series of all time that looks very nearly nothing like its predecessors.
The game isn't about strategy anymore; its about charging out into the middle of the field early and spamming units. There's no economy to manage, there's no epic battles...its just rush out, pump out, and pray for the best.
I can remember building a wall of defenses, hiding my army in the shroud until the last possible moment, then unleashing it in a titanic flood upon my foes, grinding them to paste. I remember deliberately consuming vast amounts of resources on Tiberium patches near the bases of my foes to deprive them of a cash flow. I can even remember hiding tiberium-resistant troops in the resource fields to ambush enemy harvesters coming in and, when my foe sent his forces out to protect his harvesters, sending in an APC with a commando unit inside, wreaking havoc on my foes' base.
This C&C has no chance of these sorts of strategies. This C&C is a shallow comparison to what was.