Review by Adam_phoenix

Reviewed: 04/09/07

Expect explosions. And lasers. Oh yes, lots of lasers.

Kane. Lives. Those words are bound to make any C&C fan wet their pants in anticipation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Command & Conquer universe, the story goes something like this:

In the early 1990's, a meteor crashed into the Tiber river in Italy, carrying with it a bizarre green crystal called Tiberium (named after the river it crashed in, obviously). It is both a blessing and curse; it is incredibly useful in the construction of advanced technologies, and as a power source it is second to none. Unfortunately, it also has a nasty habit of ravaging any environment it gets a foothold in. It is a self replicating substance, and turns anything it comes into contact with into more tiberium, allowing it to spread across the land at an alarming rate.

Enter "The Brotherhood of NOD". Led by a charismatic figurehead known only as "Kane" (a synonym for Cain, the first murderer in the Bible, who was banished to "The land of Nod" when he killed his brother, Abel.) Kane is the game's primary antagonist, who believes that Tiberium is the catalyst for the next stage of humanities development, and is doing all in his power to accelerate it's spread across the world. He first appeared in the 1950's as an adviser to Stalin (set in "Command & Conquer: Red Alert), and then reappeared in the 1990's (seemingly without aging) when he launched a campaign against the "Global Defense Initiative" (A United Nations endorsed defense force charged with... well, global security).

After destroying The Temple of NOD with the orbital Ion Canon, NOD disappeared into the shadows for decades, reappearing in the 2030's (Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun), remarkably with Kane still alive, and again, without aging a day (Although with a giant metal plate over his head, apparently from the Ion Canon... that's one tough SOAB!!!). Again, NOD was stopped, although not stamped out, with it gaining ever more popular with 2nd and 3rd world countries, who were largely ignored by the GDI (who are seen as somewhat fascist by NOD sympathizers.)

Fast forward to 2047. 30% of the world has been rendered uninhabitable thanks to Tiberium infestation. These are called "red zones". 50% of the world are "yellow zones", and contain much of the worlds population, but are moderately Tiberium Infested. The remaining 20% are designated "Blue Zones", and are protected by the Global Defense Initiative.

I won't spoil the story for you, but it's interesting and engaging. Most of the story is told through video sequences featuring real actors getting worked up in near future command centers. In fact, EA has gone all out with these sequences, hiring a boatload of familiar actors, such as Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers, Total Recall, Scanners) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian from STAR WARS). We even get "Sawyer" from LOST.

STORY: 10/10

GAMEPLAY: 10/10

The game plays amazingly well. While "Command & Conquer: Generals" went for a warcraft/age of empires style interface, Tiberium Wars has gone back to the old sidebar interface that will be familiar if you've ever played an OldSchool C&C game from way back when, but with more improvements and tweaks than you can poke a stick at, giving you as much flexibility as the Warcraft style "build a worker to construct a building" interface does, if not more, since you can cue units and buildings while managing the battlefield.

The three sides (That's right, three, not two... I won't spoil it, but if you want to know, it won't be hard for you to find out) play fairly well, with the new team being a fresh experience to play, as they are so different from the other two.

NOD and GDI are still a blast to play with. GDI units are plain powerful, but tend to be quite slow. NOD units generally can't stand up to GDI in a fight, but have an impressive array of unique abilities to make use of, as well as having a variety of units that feature active camouflage, making them invisible to regular enemy units - perfect for sneaking around and ambushing enemy units.

One thing I will note is that the "Avatar Warmech", NOD's premiere unit, seems to be flat out worse than it's GDI and ... other counterparts. It's actually the most powerful of the three, but it only becomes this way once you "cannibalize" 4 other NOD units (it rips a laser beam off a beam tank and attaches it to it's own arm, as an example) and the cost vs reward seems to be a littlebit out of whack, almost dooming NOD lategame.

Apart from this, the game is simply superb.

GRAPHICS: 9.5/10

From a technical standpoint, I'd give it 7.5/10. But artistically, this game looks AWESOME. A lot of it's appeal comes from it's unique and interesting unit design, as well as its so-over-the-top-it's-awesome special effects. Explosions, explosions, explosions. Everywhere. As soon as you turn "shader effects" on, even at the lowest setting, this game rocked my socks off, as it were.

And the most amazing thing is that my Computer *sucks*. It was mediocre two and a half years ago, and it runs this game on medium-high at 800x600 with *no lag whatsoever*. Even more remarkable are the swift loading times the game features. In fact, it looks about 10x better than "Command & Conquer Generals", and it LOADS TWICE AS FAST!!! Apparently, the folks at EALA finally optimized the SAGE engine that the game runs on properly.

SOUND: 9/10

What can I say. The effects for the rifles and lasers and railguns and aircraft are top notch. They don't get much better than this. The music is a 9/10, because while it fits the game well, and does it's job effectively, I would have loved a soundtrack closer to the origional game, which had the coolest music for any game, ever.

Rent or Buy? Buy, buy buy. I mean, I don't even know if anybody rents PC games anymore. The game is fantastic offline, and will blow your mind Online. It even allows you to broadcast the game to 128 players and have someone providing a live commentary! It has a few minor issues, but overall, this game is the game that puts the Command & Conquer series back onto the pedistal, and marks it's return as the king of the Genre it created.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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