Command and Conquer 3
             Tiberium Wars

Contents at a glance:
  1. Overview
  2. Test machine specs
  3. The C&C3 menu
  4. Structures and units
  5. The Current Campaign
  6. Networked play and playability
  7. Stability and Judgement

The Current Campaign

Spoiler warning - part of the game plot is revealed here - if you don't wish to read the plot click here to jump over it!
GDI and NOD, enemies forever, despising each other have another problem - the Scrin have come to Earth and are an alien race that seem o like Tiberium an awful lot. I've not reached the point in the campaigns yet where we meet the Scrin but from playing network games against them they are set to be a formidable opponent.

NOD believe that the damaging affects of Tiberium on a human being are just the next step in the Human evolutionary chain, even if that does mean you get turned into Tiberium crystals. GDI are fighting to keep Tiberum back and it's still spreading - very few areas remain clear and are known as Blue zone. Washington DC happens to be a Blue Zone, you can tell it's an American game.

We rejoin the story as NOD have fallen "dormant" or quieter at least and a number of GDI outposts have been closed as a result. Not surprisingly this was the quiet before the storm and you have to go and re-activate them, uncovering NOD's latest plots and weaponry as you go.

Oh, by the way - Kane lives!

How the campaigns work

Movie sequence
Movie sequence
Same as before the game is interspersed with movie sequences ranging from briefings to news stories and even, at one point, a talk show interview with the new GDI top bod. Movie sequences are also included during the game in the minimap window - something that has frustrated players forever but at least you can cancel the other sequences this time.

If you thought the minimap movies were annoying, wait till you have all control taken from you and a "spysat" view of your next objective slapped in front of you. Like modern television the camera just won't stay still during these sequences but the game is paused whilst they show and you're immediately returned to where you left off.
A nice feature of C&C3, and a helper to the plot, is the intelligence database. As you progress through the campaigns meeting new units or structures a new entry will be made to the database that contains more detailed information and a picture or two. Some entries can be quite comical (the engineer who's last rule is always to wear his hard hat) and others read like regular news items you might find on RSS. During your debrief if there was any information that you didn't acquire it will be marked on your record card.

As already mentioned, each campaign has objectives which are revealed to you as you progress through the level. There are also bonus objectives which can give additional units or wealth, worth playing as you see more of the plot this way and also get to find how far you can push things. To access the list of objectives simply click the "bullet point" style objectives button above the minimap or press "O". C&C3 seems to have had a complete re-write of the hotkeys which takes a while to adjust to.
The intelligence database
The intelligence database
Once each of your objectives is complete the HUD will disappear and the GDI (or NOD) logo will appear centre screen emblazoned with the word "victorious" - quite obviously you won. Not having lost a level yet I'm not sure what happens when you screw up but I'm willing to bet it doesn't say "victorious" then.

The debriefing screen is then shown, grading your performance by medals, and your progress is ticked off. In the screenshot (left) we see the check list for intel - any you didn't gather will be shown in red but you won't necessarily be told what its topic was. Clicking done on this screen takes you to the next movie sequence.
On to Networked play and playability