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I really liked Command and Conquer 3. Honest. I think the game succeeded tremendously in what it set out to do – be the best Command and Conquer game ever. The brilliant combination of swanky graphics and nostalgic appeal made the game irresistible for long-time strategy fans, but in my mind, was also a step back for the genre.
While C&C 3 has challenging and fun single-player campaigned (the later missions are incredibly difficult), the real test of a RTS game’s design lies in its multiplayer modes. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been playing C&C 3 multiplayer regularly, and finding that I while the matches provide quick bursts of gratification, the strategist in me walks away feeling empty and unsatisfied.
The multiplayer rounds in C&C 3 really boil down to who can click and build the fastest. You really only have to train yourself to be one of two types of players – either a rusher or a turtler. If you decide to turtle, for example, it’s a race to build the strongest unit, like GDI Mammoth Tanks or Scrin Avatars to overrun your opponent’s base. After playing through the maps a couple of time, it’s relatively easy to establish a strategy that’ll work against most players every time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still having a lot of fun playing C&C 3. Playing a brief fast-paced game is often what I need at the end of a long work day. I just hope the next effort will take more hardcore strategy players into account and offer balancing and features (ie. random maps, unit formations, more customizable match options) that’ll keep me playing online for more than just a couple weeks. Unfortunately, publishers may find more value in putting out games that give players a quicker bang for their buck.