Published on April 27th, 2010 | by prime1
Command & Conquer 4 – Review
Summary: A triumphant step in the right direction, but not without its faults
Any changes to a prolific franchise reaching its fourth incarnation is brave, regardless of the results. The C&C franchise has gone through many evolutions over the years, and even though the latest is a mixed bag of refinements, improvements and backward steps, it still puts on an impressive display.
The plot takes place directly after the events of the third chapter, with the Scrin chased off into the furthest reaches of space, leaving NOD and GDI to battle it out once again. Lacking a third faction isn’t an issue however, because all of the units have been given a fresh lick of paint and impressive new abilities.
All of this is minor compared to the biggest change however, as MCV are now more mobile and have the ability to deploy anywhere on the map at a moment’s notice. The necessity for structures is now gone, as the factories of old have been absorbed by these behemoths, completely streamlining the manufacturing process. Unit choice is governed by the type of MCV chosen – either Offense, Defense and Support. Each class is significantly different and it’s this choice which is often the most important during play.
In both campaigns these choices seem needlessly restrictive, forcing you to walk down one road when previously you’d be able to experiment with several, but it’s all to aid another pinnacle component: multiplayer.
From the moment you boot up you’ll be taken into a general lobby that’s populated by others who are playing the game. It breaks the intimidation barrier immediately, tempting you to team up on maps suitable for between 4 and 10 player battles. Working together is an absolute joy. When three players team up utilizing each of the classes then they really are unstoppable, and suddenly each seemingly backward step in the design process makes sense. There’s even a replay option to record your memorable battles.
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XP is earned both in the campaign and in online battles, unlocking new units and abilities by meeting objectives and destroying enemies. The progression makes each game worth playing. Contributing to your Command & Conquer future and makes players think twice about quitting out.
Both the GDI and NOD campaigns have their twists and turns, but despite being billed as the concluding chapter in the Tiberian story, it left us underwhelmed. The FMV’s are good as ever, but the story and mission design seems less varied and therefore slightly weaker as a result.
That said, the shortcomings of the campaign are more than made up for by the brilliant multiplayer which is sure to occupy servers for months to come. Command & Conquer has always been about online play, and this chapter expands on that success and extends it even further.