Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, represents a concentrated effort to get ?back to the roots? of the series, both mechanically and in terms of storyline. It picks up the storyline last addressed in Tiberium Sun and its expansion, namely the conflict between two factions known as the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod: a unified world army tasked with protecting the globe from threats and a well established militant cult of terrorists, respectively. Central to this conflict is a strange substance believed to be of alien origin known as Tiberium, a strange crystal that is rapidly spreading across the globe and rendering much of the Earth?s surface uninhabitable.
Content-wise, Command and Conquer 3 lives up to its Teen rating. Violence is intense throughout the game, though not bloody. Units killed do linger on the field for some time, but in most cases the ?corpses? are just wreckage from vehicles. Language is not a major problem, but various characters do exhibit a moderate level of swearing. While not actually cursing, however, certain characters do make crude references. One character in particular continuously refers to a certain mission as ?castrating? the GDI forces in the area, repeating the word and saying how much he loves that phrase. Magic is completely absent from this title, with technology set in its place. The alien race of Scrin has a few abilities such as teleport, but all are explained as being a result of their highly advanced technology. Sexuality is also absent, with the characters focusing on war instead, although as noted above a few crude references may be inappropriate for the very youngest players.
In terms of the game?s social message, there are a few issues that may offend some players. While the game does provide a rationale for all sides that allows some sympathies, the Nod and Scrin factions are both obviously what we would term ?evil.? Nod claim to be freedom fighters struggling against the oppression of GDI, but throughout the game they engage in questionable activities. Tactics they use have no respect for human life and many units they use have been purposely exposed to harmful Tiberium to enhance their combat effectiveness. Preemptive terrorism and nuclear weapons are two of their major ?trump cards? against GDI and they have no problem making excessive use of either. The Scrin, likewise, are portrayed as simply seeking their own ends, but ultimately they do not care for the lives of humans as they attempt to obliterate them through the use of various means, many of which are far from humane. Any reasonably discerning individual should be able to easily recognize these acts as being immoral, but the ability to play through from such an organization?s perspective is something to consider when deciding if C&C 3 should be played.
All in all, C&C3 is an enjoyable experience. It does a lot to return the series to its roots, while at the same time helping to improve the franchise. Fans who have played and enjoyed any of the previous games will likely find this one enjoyable, although ultimately it still fails to live up to the greatness of Tiberium Sun and Red Alert. The story is quite advanced and offers incentive to play through the campaigns, especially to get far enough to unlock the Scrin campaign. The only major complaint is the constant tweaking that has been made in an attempt to balance gameplay. Nine patches have been released at the time of this writing and while they go a long way towards balancing units, ultimately things still feel a little out of whack. Still, the game is definitely worth a play for any fan of the RTS genre.
» By Jesse Porch, Plain Games. Published 3/5/2008 2:10:22 AM.