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Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1; 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

For all the advances the RTS genre has made, nothing beats the good, old-fashioned style of the Command & Conquer series. Although Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars doesn't take the massive strides made by other real-time strategy games, it delivers everything that made the series, and the genre, fun to begin with.

Command and Conquer 3 looks great - there's no debating that. Units and environments are detailed and all of the little special effects that happen during battle look great... but the real attraction here are FMVs that pop up between missions and during in-game briefings. Although the scenes have a few moments of pure cheese, they are incredibly fun and build a great atmosphere into the game. In a sense, they are like the pre-show seen in the queue areas of major theme rides that pull you into the ride's world. In addition to Joseph Kucan, who reprises his role as the enigmatic Kane, the game features notable talent including all-around badass Michael Ironside and Mr. Smooth himself, Billy Dee Williams. Josh Holloway (Lost), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Jennifer Morrison (House) and Miss USA Shauntay Hinton round out the game's cast along with real-life newscasters Shannon Cook and John Huck.

Getting back to the technical side of things, Command and Conquer 3 makes me glad that I recently upgraded my computer. Although my rig had a few problems running the game at max resolution, even the slightly toned-down version looked incredible.

The musical score carries you through the game and doesn't compete for your attention - allowing you to listen for alerts from units that they've engaged the enemy or messages from your home base.


By now, Command and Conquer's primary parties are well-known. There's GDI - the Global Defense Initiative - which is the world's army and the Brotherhood of Nod, an underground terrorist organization. Each side has basic units that parallel each other, such as riflemen, heavy weapons units and light assault vehicles; at the same time, both have their own toys that fit with their faction's personality. GDI sticks to the military guidelines, employing tanks, snipers and bi-pedal tank sporting long-range firing capabilities. Meanwhile, Nod's weapons are more in-line with its clandestine activities, suck as fanatics (suicide bombers), stealth tanks and flying saboteurs. The balance between unit types is pretty good with no side having a pronounced advantage over the other, which is one of the primary fundamentals of any RTS.

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars takes place in the year 2047, seventeen years after Firestorm, the final expansion to Tiberium Sun. In this time, the world has undergone a number of drastic changes that affect both factions and set up the third Tiberium War. Tiberium, a radioactive resource, has spread and grown out of control, prompting the world to be spilt into three zones. Blue Zones are the only completely inhabitable areas of the world and are largely controlled by GDI. The rest is spilt into Yellow Zones, which are livable but contaminated and Red Zones, which are toxic. Nod sees this as an insult and decides that after years of hiding in the shadows, it is time to strike.

Their plot begins with a nuclear strike on the orbiting command platform Philadelphia during a major GDI summit. The attack destroys nearly all of GDI's command structure. In the ensuing chaos, Nod also begins a series of quick strikes around the globe, leaving it up to you, an accountant, and a handful of surviving generals to save the day.

While most of the game's plot involves these two factions trading blows, C&C 3 introduces a third race, the Scrin. This alien race doesn't pop up until later in the campaigns, but when they do, they make quite the entrance. Like the other two factions, they have their own toybox full of powerful alien weapons like tri-pod walkers (think War of the Worlds) and a planetary assault cruiser that is like having a mobile airport.

Unlike the other two factions, the Scrin are not playable until after you complete either of the two main campaigns. So, while they are a powerful force, their campaign doesn't factor into the overall story and, on some level, feel a bit tacked on. The introduction of aliens also takes away from the game's real-world feel.

Mission structures are interwoven. Although you can play from one side and get the story, you won't get the entire story until all are completed since they constantly reference each other. Early in the GDI campaign, you have to liberate Washington, D.C. while in the Nod campaign, you lead the strike to take it over.

As with most of the game, the multiplayer side of C&C 3 sticks to the classics. The only new function is BattleCast, which is a cool option that allows you to broadcast your matches over the Internet. You can even have someone do play-by-play or telestrate the match, adding a new twist to competition.


Although the game's classic feel is great, there are a few holdover mechanics that don't feel all that great. The biggest, and in my mind, most problematic is that there isn't much to making armies. Rather than carefully planning out your army's composition, you can usually just load down a massive army of powerful units and crush everything in your way. This is especially true later in matches when some units can attack any unit types.

Although unit composition tactics don't come into play too much, tactics still come into play a great deal. Missions are still hard to crack, even when playing on Easy, and require specialized tactics. What works in one situation won't work in the other; something that becomes abundantly clear once you get into the fourth mission of each faction.

Mission types are well-balanced. Some require extreme micromanagement while others are just knockdown, drag-out fights. Three difficultly levels are available and are set independently of each other. If missions become too hard, you can bump down the difficulty and then bump it up again if they start to become too easy. There are also a number of secondary objectives in each level that you can choose to pursue, all of which make your primary goals more challenging.

Game Mechanics:

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars feels a lot like Battle for Middle-earth II. Both games use a similar engine, though C&C 3 uses a more advanced version of the engine that cleans up a few of the issues. The basic structure behind the game is very simple; you build units in a side-bar Construction Menu until they are completed, at which point you drop them on the battlefield.

Of course, base construction is a little harder than it at first seems. All of your structures require power, so you have to build plants to keep them operational. The trick is that you are limited to the amount of power you can generate, which can limit your base size just a bit. If you do manage to go over your power capacity, parts of your base shut down, taking any of their duties with them.

In addition to unique units, all three factions also have access to special powers that act sort of like the Ring powers in Battle for Middle-earth. Like their hardware, each faction's powers reflect their style. GDI can call in quick air-strikes or drop teams of snipers or vehicles into battle, while Nod can deploy assassins or break out nuclear strikes. The Scrin have the more impressive powers of the three, which range from teleportation to the ability to create black holes.

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars is an all around great game. Although it doesn't push the genre like other recent entries, it retains all of the elements that made the RTS genre a success.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP or Vista; 2.0 GHz or greater processor; 512 MB of RAM; DVD drive; 5.6 GB of HDD space; 64 MB Video Card; Direct X 9.0c.

Test System:

Windows Vista; 1.6 GHz Dual-Core processor; 2 Gig RAM; DVD drive; 120 GB HDD; GeForce Go7600

Nintendo DS Steel Horizon Sony PlayStation 3 Dragon's Lair HD

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated