So here it is, the end of the Tiberian saga. The series that began a whopping 15 years ago with Westwood Studios' ground breaking Command & Conquer ends here with Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. Sniff.
It's a load of old tosh, of course. The Tiberian saga may be over, but the universe is alive and well. And, as is the video game way, if C&C4 sells well there will be a C&C5. Well, probably. But EA would have us believe Kane and co are uttering their last words in a saga that's entertained us as much for its über camp live action cut scenes as its bombastic tank rushes. So, we'll play along, and ready the handkerchiefs.
The most important question to answer is: is C&C4 a fitting finale? Well, that's probably the third most important question to answer, behind: does Kane's big bald head finally get its comeuppance, and, did you know I played C&C4 with Joseph D. Kucan (the actor who plays Kane), like, he was sitting right next to me and playing as Nod and stuff? The former, well, you'll have to discover the answer to that one for yourself. The latter: no, you didn't. But then there's a lot of awesome cool stuff you don't know about me.
So, back to the third most important question to answer: is C&C4 a fitting finale? Well, the answer will vary depending on the type of C&C fan you are. If you're a series veteran who's stood by C&C from the very first FMV to the end of C&C3: Kane's Wrath, if you care about the canon and agonise over the art style, then, well, the answer is probably a big fat no.
Why? Because C&C4 isn't very C&C at all. EA LA's only done a Relic Entertainment and stripped away base building and resource gathering completely, replacing it with a class-based system and Modern Warfare-style experience gain. Stay with me here.
Early in the campaign, you're asked to choose between siding with GDI, or following Kane. Choose wisely.
Instead of a mobile construction vehicle (MCV), you have what's called a Crawler. The Crawler acts as a mobile base which can unpack anywhere on the battlefield and produce units in the blink of an eye. There is no need to gather Tiberium - the iconic green resource that has fuelled the fight between the Global Defence Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod for years - with Harvesters. Nor is there a need to build a base. All you need concern yourself with is the production of units, limited only by a unit cap, completing objectives, and, if you're playing competitive multiplayer, capturing control nodes.
Well, after you've chosen your class. Whether you're playing as the GDI or Nod, the same three classes present themselves: Offence, Defence, and Support. Your decision determines not only your play style but the units and abilities available to you. The Offence class, for example, is great for damage dealing, and has loads of heavy duty tanks, such as the Nod Scorpion and Stealth tanks, at its disposal. The Defence class allows you to build a base of sorts, but not really: as GDI you can reinforce your deployed Crawler with bunkers, turrets, and the lovely Ion Cannon; as Nod you've got the wonderful Obelisk of Light (still the coolest structure in the C&C universe). The Support class, on the other hand, grants the player access to powers, like artillery and airstrikes, and air units, like the iconic Orca.