I have to open this review by saying that C&C3 has MICHAEL IRONSIDE IN IT! Seriously, is there a better recommendation for a game than that? Also included in the cast (the FMV sequences are still here, folks) are Tricia Helfner and Grace Park (of Battlestar Galactica fame), Josh Holloway (Sawyer from Lost) and Billy Dee Williams (LANDO GOD-DAMN CALRISSIAN!). So the game has the Hollywood backing, but is it any good?
Actually, yes it is. Visually, C&C3 looks superb. It uses a slightly modified Battle for Middle Earth 2 engine, which in all fairness, does look very sexy. Units aren’t exactly life-like, but this is C&C. Realism is thrown out of the window for the sake of fun. And it has that in bucket-loads.
Story-line? Firstly, Kane is back (awesome) and making some trouble, as per usual. If you remember the other C&C games, you’ll remember tiberium, the toxic green crystals that you collected for money. In C&C3, tiberium has spread across the globe, making half of the earth uninhabitable. The GDI runs the ‘blue zones’ (where tiberium is at a minimum) and NOD forces are spreading like wildfire through ‘yellow zones, which are inhabitable, but only just.
From this start-point, the game’s two campaigns (well, there actually three, but that’s a secret, so shhhhh) go off on their own tangents, with GDI missions seeing you fight off NOD sneak-attacks on your territory and then counter-attacking on their own turf and NOD missions having you making those sneak attacks yourself and well… not getting counter-attacked?
All the vehicles you know and love are still here, Orcas, Mammoth tanks (best unit in any game, ever), stealth-tanks and so on. There are a few new additions, which makes the game feel fresh. Keeping in theme with the last couple of games, units gain experience from kills and can go up in rank, becoming more and more powerful as they do so. Units can also be upgraded at research buildings (mammoth tanks can be given huge rail-guns, for instance).
The single player campaigns are very enjoyable, with excellent cut-scenes serving as introductions and debriefings and fast-paced action keeping you on your toes all the time. The same goes for multi-player. The action is always thick and fast. For the first time in a while, I can say that this is an RTS without balance issues. No units in the game seem over-powered so everyone has an equal chance for victory.
Skirmish mode is a bit weird. The difficulty settings for the AI seem to be a bit off. Anything under the hardest setting is far too easy, while the hardest setting is frankly insane (A few of us have tried 2 players against one AI and still get beaten mercilessly!).
Okay, let’s sum up. Big explosions? Check! Micheal Ironside? Check! Balanced units? Check! Michael Ironside? Check! Fast-paced missions? Check! Complicated tactics? Err….nope. sorry, this is an arcade game pretending to be an RTS. Michael Ironside? CHECK!