Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars
Company: Electronic Arts
This feels like deja vu. Back in 1997, I remember editing and publishing a review of Command & Conquer for the Macintosh from Shay Fulton. He gave it high marks. In fact, shortly after his review, easily within a year, I purchased the game myself, as well as the follow-up games in the series. But it has been, literally, six years since I last played a game in this series.
Back then, the game was made by Westwood Studios, who was acquired by video game maker powerhouse EA back in 1998. So at the last Macworld Expo, when Steve Jobs talked about games coming back to the Macintosh with EA leading the way, I was very interested in playing Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. Would it be like revisiting an old friend? Have my days playing all three of the new consoles (Wii, PS3, and XBox 360) spoiled me from playing computer games? Will the Beatles every show up in iTunes?
The answers: Yes. Kinda. Not as of this writing. But this review is about C&C 3, so let’s stick with that for now.
Billed as the last game of the series,(let’s hope not!) Tiberium Wars finds the Brotherhood of Nod (Nod) facing off against the Global Defense Initiative. While there are actual actors and brilliant video to go along with the game to further the game play, for me just something to get past so I could get back to playing.
The single player campaign (which I have yet to complete all the way) is very challenging. There have been times when I thought I was doing well, only to have the enemy forces swoop in and take me out. A quick return to the main menu to restart the level was usually enough for me to win. And like any good Real Time Strategy game, (RTS) the term Strategy really means something here. While the game gives you training wheels to start you off, those quickly come off to reveal a multi-layered and engaging game that will keep you, the player, in front of your computer for hours and days to come.
Rather than follow the story line, players can opt for either quick battles against the computer, or online play with real life opponents. I found playing the computer challenging to a point, but the AI tends to get stuck in one or two strategies, unwilling or unable to modify its plan of attack after repeated failures. Still, it’s challenging enough to keep my interest for a rocking good hour. The online play, however, is way over my skill level. I tend not to put up much of a challenge for more experienced online players. Some people live to play this game, and while I enjoy it, I also want to play The Orange Box on the XBox 360 and check out RockBand when it comes out. So online play is not for me.
One of the drawbacks to the game from a Macintosh perspective; it only runs on an Intel Macintosh with at least 4.5GB of free hard drive space, a DVD player, and 1GB of RAM. Another is the loading time; it takes almost a full minute from when you launch the game until the game fires up. (I tested the game on a 2.8GHz Intel iMac) Once running, it is very smooth.
The graphics are great. I have had hundreds of soldiers, tanks, planes and more, all fighting it out at the same time on screen, with zero slowdown in play.
If you enjoy RTS games, and have fond memories of the original Command & Conquer games, you will really enjoy the latest version. If you have never tried a game like Command & Conquer, give yourself a treat and drop fifty bucks to give it a shot.
Gaming is back with a thunderclap on the Macintosh, and EA is bringing out the biggest hits. Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars may be the first game I have played in this new generation of Macintosh gaming, but it won’t be the last.