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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
Kaboom!

There possibly isn't anything more interesting than the network games and skirmishes - you have full control of who you fight, where, and how heavily you wipe the floor with their arse. Unlike Red Alert 2 (but similar to RA2 Yuri's revenge) you get to choose where you start, alliances are decided at game creation and you can handicap the AI by a given percentage allowing you to customise it further. If you don't choose any start locations they will be chosen at random for you.

The AI has had a complete rework and can now adapt to your playing ability - if you choose the wrong level of AI it will tone down its strength to make the game more enjoyable. First network game Dad and I played was against 2 medium enemies of an undetermined side (Scrin, GDI or NOD) - we got pasted. I'd like to say that was because we didn't know the units but personally I think the AI rework has something to do with it - RA2's "medium" was generally no challenge at all so that's something to look out for.

Unlike RA2 where you chose from a list of world nations, there are only 3 sides to choose from in C&C3 - Scrin, NOD and GDI. You get access to all the units of each and their vulnerabilities also. I'm not aware Scrin have any problem walking across Tiberium but certainly walking a GDI or NOD unit across the "green fields" will slowly kill the units off - turning them to Tiberium.

At the end of the battle you're shown several timelines labelled with key points in the battle. Defeat, super weapon purchase, victory and network disconnections. Interesting but I'm not overly convinced on its usefulness.

Playability

Placing structures

In previous versions of the Command and Conquer series you could expand your empire and available building space by simply building, allowing the possibility for long chains of prism towers right up to the enemy base. This isn't the case any longer! When you deploy your MCV and select it you will notice a line that encompasses it - this is the MCV's "field of influence" and units must be built within this field. This can be extended by building a surveyor (or the NOD equivalent of an emissary) and deploying this in your chosen location.

Upgrades

Building advanced structures gives you access to upgrades to your units. Units can still become veterans which enhances their strength and attack value based on experience but upgrades can be purchased. Once the upgrade research is complete it is automatically, somehow, rolled out to all units, increasing their armour or attacking abilities sometimes mid combat.

Support powers

In times of struggle, support powers can be invaluable and range from revealing areas of the map to destroying large amounts of an enemy base without even endangering a unit of your own. NOD can seed Tiberium, enhancing its hold on Earth whilst GDI seem to have no obvious mirror power. NOD have Tiberium vapour bombs with the Ion cannon being the GDI's counter attack. If I were NOD I'd be seeding Tiberium right outside the enemy bases - that'll deal with any biological units they plan on using.

Female units

NOD alone seem to have female units, notably the commando armed with a fast firing laser gun. Maybe GDI disagree with the purchase of women - who knows? GDI's surveyor seems to have a woman driver but that's about it.

GUI and HUD developments

New to C&C3 is the ability to zoom in and rotate the map - a feature controlled by the numeric keypad. Fortunately, you only have to press one key (5) to return to the default mode which can save time mid battle.

You assign units group numbers in the same way as before, CTRL and a number, summoning by pressing the number key on the number line (not the numeric keypad). Setting hotkeys for map locations is now on keys J to ; on the keyboard.

Support powers and super weapons are controlled from the left side of the screen with super weapon progress and count downs shown across the top.

On to Stability and Judgement