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Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

As the first expansion for last year's Command & Conquer 3, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath adds a sizeable amount of content to the original game. In addition to a brand new single-player Campaign mode centered on everyone's favorite bald, messianic terrorist, it also introduces six sub-factions, new multiplayer maps and a Risk-like Global Conquest Mode. The only thing Kane's Wrath doesn't bring are improvements to the original's flawed core mechanics.

As an expansion, Kane's Wrath doesn't mess with the original's visuals or sound. Overall, the visuals hold up really well. Both the units and maps are really detailed and successfully pull off the atmosphere the game is going for. Music still has a nice way of fitting the current situation and pumping you up during battles. The overly cheesy, FMV story sequences also make a return. Not only do you get more of Joseph Kucan as Kane, but another Battlestar Galactica vet, Carl Lumbly (so he was on one episode... but still), and Natasha Henstridge join the cast as NOD lieutenants.


Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath is a purely content-focused expansion, so if you are new to the game, it would probably be best to read the original review before venturing any further. The rest of you can expect a whole lot of the same, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it isn't good either.

The single-player campaign jumps between three time periods, giving it a disjointed feel. The first part takes place right at the end of the Second Tiberium War and covers NOD's restructuring and return to power just before the opening of C&C 3. The next sections jump around, eventually leading up to the fallout from the arrival of the Scrin. The entire campaign places you in command of NOD, so if you're a fan of GDI or the Scrin, you're out of luck. A bit of backstory for NOD is always nice, especially when it involves Joseph Kucan; at the same time, considering how little time was spent on the Scrin in the original installment, a little more time with the game's newest race would have been a welcome addition.

Global Conquest is the only "new" thing to pop up in Kane's Wrath, and even it isn't completely original since it is quickly becoming the RTS mission standard. Similar to other recent strategy games, Global Conquest is a Risk-like game where you compete with A.I. controlled factions over sections of a map. The main difference between Kane's Wrath and similar game modes is that it does away with well-defined territories. Instead, you battle over cities and try to claim their surrounding resources. Although it isn't completely original, it is the game's most enjoyable mode; the A.I. can be outright ruthless at times and will constantly keep you on your toes and hooked as you attempt to capture another city.


Although C&C 3 was fairly well-balanced, Command & Conquer: Kane's Wrath is a rollercoaster when it comes to mission pacing. You can breeze through a few missions with little trouble only to run into a mission that you'll have the repeat multiple times until you figure out the right combination.

While the paper-rock-scissors relationship between units makes sense, it strips away a considerable amount of strategy. There's little reason to mix up units since they'll do very little to watch each other's backs in a fight. Most of the time, the best tactic is to create a large group of a particular unit and roll over the enemy. Still, there are a few areas where you'll have to focus on tactic. While these are mainly missions where you are limited to a handful of units, there are a few missions that require an absurd amount of micromanagement to complete.

Game Mechanics:

Missions are pretty standard and do not deviate too far from C&C 3's play style. You begin each mission with a handful of units and a small base. The goal is to first set up a base that can sustain itself and then build up a sizeable force in order to attack your enemies. Depending on the mission, there's usually a bit of defensive strategy to consider, though once you have a dozen or so heavy units, you can usually take just about anything that's thrown at you. Some missions will also put you in command of a small group of units, which are a little more interesting only because they require more strategy.

In lieu of a new faction, each of the three factions features two subfactions that focus on particular areas of each bigger group. The differences between the various subfactions aren't too extreme; in fact, the differences are sometimes a little too subtle - at least when it comes to NOD's two groups, the Black Hand and Marked of Kane. The Black Hand is focused more on ground tactics and is cut off from using any air support, while the cybernetic Marked of Kane rely more on hit-and-run tactics.

What Kane's Wrath lacks in mechanical improvements, it makes up for in wealth in content. There's a whole lot here for C&C fans and it should keep them busy for a good while. The only aspect that really holds the game back is its reliance on older RTS mechanics that really don't hold up well when compared to recent entries in the genre.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP or Vista; 2.2 GHz or greater processor; 512 MB of RAM; 8X or faster CD/DVD drive; 6.3 GB of disk 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
**Note: Review copy was downloaded through EA's Online store. A DVD retail version of the game is also available.

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