The time has come, the next generation of games have arrived, and who wouldn’t want another game from the age old classic Command and Conquer franchise that has captured plenty of faithful fans over the years. I do my best to separate myself from games I enjoyed before becoming a game reviewer, but it’s hard to forget the countless hours playing the original Command and Conquer game as well as Red Alert. Well after a successful launch onto the PC, EA hopes to bring Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars onto the Xbox 360, trying to address the age-old problem of controlling a real time strategy game without a mouse or keyboard. So how does Tiberium Wars turn out? Read our full review to find out!
Having played literally every game in the Command and Conquer franchise, you sort of know what to expect from these games. However it has been a while since the last C&C game and thus many were wondering would the advance in gaming technology really change the franchise or at least improve upon the already successful formula? What could we expect now on the Xbox 360 from C&C 3?
Well let’s first just start out with the fact that the game still contains the single player campaign in its entirety and also online play, although you are missing the battle cast feature from the PC version. This is sort of a shame, as the battle cast feature on the PC really did add something to the experience. However let’s not get off track and stay with the single player campaign. You can start by choosing from either the NOD or Global Defense, each who have their own unique style. I personally preferred the Global Defense missions, mainly because they are the power house of the game but regardless both campaigns are well done and have a good solid structure. The missions do often feel a bit repetitive and you can get kind of side tracked from the campaign, but I have a feeling most C&C enthusiasts will still push through.
The online experience is still a good one on the Xbox 360, but it doesn’t carry as much of a punch as it did on the PC. The experience was still smooth as silk with very little lag, and just an overall good sense of competition. Finding matches and setting up a wide array of options is a breeze, but you still feel like you’re missing something from the PC side of things. As much as Xbox Live helps in keeping things organized and unified, it does feel like it may have hindered the online creation for C&C 3.
Now comes the age old problem of RTS controls on a console. This is not the first time a C&C title has made its way to a console, and its not the first time that an RTS has tried to manipulate the console controller to not necessarily mirror the experience of a mouse and keyboard but get pretty darn close. In the case of Tiberium Wars, you have an experience that still leaves a lot to be desired. To start with you have the problem of selecting units which just doesn’t feel as intuitive. Also building up your base seems more of a chore in the Xbox 360 version. Also if you don’t have a hi-definition TV, I did notice on my Standard Definition unit that it was extremely hard to read some of the menu’s on screen, something to keep in mind. The controls have some nice touches and uses of all of the face and shoulder buttons, but you still get the feeling that its much too hard to do simple tasks that are otherwise just part of the game on the PC side of things.
So in short, EA has not solved the console RTS problem but instead just attempted to work with it and give you a bit more room to breathe, but still keeping the familiar problems close to heart. The overall experience of C&C 3 on the Xbox 360 is ultimately hindered by the controls. Its hard to be able to enjoy a game if you’re not able to truly get everything out of the experience. And once again I should revisit the fact that the online play, which is half the appeal to most gamers, is still not as complete as it had the potential to be.
Visually you have to hand it to EA on this game, as they really put in the leg work to make this RTS game stand up to the competition. Although there isn’t a lot of competition on the consoles, you can look at games like Company of Heroes for the PC, which C&C 3 does manage to stand toe to toe with. The fast pace of the C&C 3 franchise does seem to get slightly sluggish on the Xbox 360, but its often not very noticeable and only shows up in big battle sequences or with the use of some of the "super weapons". Overall though the translation of visuals from the PC to Xbox 360 was solid.
Can I admit I was frustrated when playing this game? Well if I am not supposed to I just did. And I say this because most editors won’t admit defeat, but this game often made me really upset mainly because I could never get my units exactly where I wanted them, or I was so slow on the ball with the controls that I would get blitzed and lose. Often times we over look the importance of good controls in a video game and with the RTS genre they have yet to find the winning combination. Will they? That remains to be seen, but if you can get the hang of the underlying concepts of the control scheme, there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had.
If you have a computer that is capable enough to handle C&C 3 at, at least medium settings then there is really no reason to get the 360 version as the PC version is hands down the better package deal. However for those who are not blessed with such machines the Xbox 360 version is still a capable RTS that just suffers from lackluster controls. Outside of the controls there is still a great RTS experience to be had, and one that can literally become an addiction if you let it.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.