Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Review

Command & Conquer has been one of the most popular strategy game franchises, spawning numerous sequels and spin-offs like Red Alert. Thus, it’s an understatement to say that the next game in the series was hugely anticipated, both by fans of the original and the gaming community in general – it was obvious that a new hit was on its way to the shelves.

Gameplay

What we got somewhat clashed with expectations though – even though the game turned out very well-done and polished, it was a large departure from the previous ones in terms of gameplay. Instead of using the standard mechanic of gathering resources and using them to build a base and a strong army, C&C 4 plays more like a real-time tactics game, having the player capture various control points across the map. The goal is to control as many points as possible over time, which eventually leads to victory.

You can again play as the main rivalling factions in the game’s storyline, the NOD and the GDI, and your units are separated into several groups based on their role on the battlefield. Your success depends on picking the appropriate combination of units for the situation and using them correctly, with a lot more focus on micromanagement than the previous games, which focused more on building massive armies and spamming units.

Graphics and System Requirements

The game looks well enough for a strategy, even if it does come across as a bit outdated in several aspects. You’ll find the graphics pleasing to the eye even on a large monitor running a standard resolution, and some of the special effects utilized for the units are very well-executed. There’s been a lot of emphasis on using visuals to better aid the gameplay, and this shines through in many spots of the game.

The system requirements are bearable, and there’s quite a large gap between the two ends of the requirements list – relatively old computers shouldn’t have much trouble running the game, but of course don’t expect to enjoy a lot of its beautiful visuals. For that, you’ll have to get yourself an upgraded computer, but it won’t be necessary for just playing and enjoying the game.

Other

Even though a lot of the accent here is on the game’s online play and competitive capabilities, make sure you give the single player a go as well. It may not be as heavily defined as in the previous games, but you’ll still get a well-written saga with your favorite characters – and yes, the game does still feature those awesome live-action cutscenes, so you’ll have something to watch inbetween the missions as well.

Conclusion

You may consider this to be a strange addition to the C&C series if you’re a fan of the previous games, but you should still give it a go and disregard what you may expect about it. It won’t be just another C&C strategy game in the line of all the others, but it should definitely be remembered as something unique.

StarCraft 2 Review

StarCraft 2 may not be out in its full form yet, but thanks to Blizzard and their open beta, we’ve had plenty of time to make a judgement on the game. Now that the beta has been closed and the game is nearing its release though, we’re sure some things will be changed, if the community’s feedback during the testing period is to be of any indication. Nevertheless, it proved highly successful while it was out, and everyone’s eagerly anticipating the actual release.

Update: The game was officially released July 27, 2010.

Gameplay

The basic gameplay hasn’t changed that much since the first game – of course, the races have received new units and buildings, and on the other hand some of the old things were removed – but apart from that, the basic premise remains the same. One notable aspect is that the grid-like nature of levels has been preserved, instead of going for a completely free building placement as some other modern strategies do.

Everything feels all around more balanced now, there are fewer “perfect” tactics and more freedom for the player to choose their own style of play. Of course, you’ll still have to learn some basic builds if you want to get good, but that’s in the nature of StarCraft anyway. Races have been made more heavily reliant on the micromanagement aspect, each with a new ability – for example, the Terran can use their upgraded Command Center to summon a special SCV-like unit, which gathers a lot more minerals in one go, but can only be used for mineral gathering and self-destructs after a set amount of time.

Graphics and System Requirements

As can be expected from a game by Blizzard, art is very heavily played on here – it’s obvious that there have been thousands of workhours put into designing everything from the menus to the units and environment. The game makes you feel like you’re watching an epic movie right from the main menu, and that feeling is reinforced further on, with the way the music is combined with each race’s style.

Despite that, StarCraft 2 can run on some pretty old machines (for today’s standards), if everything is set to low – despite some occasional slowdowns, it’s still playable even under such conditions, which speaks great of the optimization work that’s been put into it.

Other

LAN play was missing from the beta and will likely not be present in the final version, at least not in its classic form – you’ll probably have to authenticate through Battle.net first, and then you’ll get access to the option of playing on a local area directly – which is kind of inconvenient as you’ll have to provide an Internet connection to all the computers that’ll be playing.

Conclusion

Blizzard know how to make a competitive strategy game – and this is an upcoming guaranteed hit – if you’re tired of the mediocrity that we’ve been seeing lately, buckle up as in just one month that’s about to change.