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Back in the glory days of real-time strategy (RTS) games, two titles stood out from two major rival studios: Warcraft/Starcraft and the Command & Conquer series. Now that the former has been tarnished by a botched remaster, it’s up to Command & Conquer to show the world how it’s done with their latest and competent remasters.

The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is largely enjoyable and should elicit nostalgia for the classic Command & Conquer games. These titles best exemplify the brand and its beginnings, and they’re the zenith of simple wargaming on the PC.

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight

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Tiberian Twilight, the fourth game in the series, is the weakest Command & Conquer release. It was published in 2010, at a time when the video game industry was transitioning away from real-time strategy games and onto the first-person shooter (FPS) genre.

As a result, Tiberian Twilight was met with mixed reviews. It tried too hard to improve the Command & Conquer concept, yet it failed terribly since it introduced an alien system. Tiberium Twilight also messed up the Tiberium saga’s anticipated conclusion.

Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor

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The one saving grace of EA’s mutilation of the C&C franchise is that Sole Survivor isn’t the series’ worst game. Sole Survivor, you did a fantastic job!

Most C&C lovers have probably never heard of, never alone played, this game. But Sole Survivor is a legitimate game—or at least it was when it was released in late 1997 as a spin-off to the original Command and Conquer. Players chose a single C&C unit and competed online against up to 50 opponents, collecting power-up boxes across the battlefield to improve their strength.

However, it was very little developed beyond this basic concept—Sole Survivor would have been better served as a multiplayer component in the original game rather than as a separate title. This online war arena may have had a more cherished position in gaming history if it had received more time and effort; playing a deathmatch as a single unit in an RTS was a fun notion, but it required more depth and complexity.

Maybe a team-based game on a segmented map where the units sought to destroy one other’s bases while being accompanied by AI-controlled forces… Instead of discovering upgrades in boxes, you could have earned money for those improvements every time you killed an opponent. That might have been a hit.

Command & Conquer: Rivals

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Because Tiberian Twilight was so terrible, an iOS and Android game was able to outperform it. Command & Conquer: Rivals, which scored a 71 on the iOS platform, is the game in question.

It’s a simplified version of the classic Command & Conquer games that blend RTS elements with trading card game principles. Command & Conquer: Rivals has also been tweaked to allow for fast-paced gameplay on a smaller screen with less-than-ideal controls.

Command & Conquer

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The game that introduced us to the now-famous GDI and Nod factions got us all eager for the release of Renegade all those years later and is responsible for generating one of the finest RTS games around.

C&C was, without a doubt, a masterpiece. However, in terms of subsequent games in the series, it had to settle for 10th position due to obsolete graphics and weak gameplay, especially compared to the rest of the series’ updates and advancements.

However, C&C is still a lot of fun to play, especially if you want to see how it all started or test out the “original game” credited as the first in the RTS genre. The grunts’ all-too-realistic screams as they are mowed down are a standout feature of the game.

Small touches like these add to what it is about the Command & Conquer franchise that makes it so engaging and makes you want to play more. It’s not just about the gameplay; it’s about the entire package.

Units that communicate with you and engage in discourse. There are fascinating battlefields, armies, and factions to play with, as well as plenty of distinct aesthetics. Overall, a fantastic game, yet one that would not stand up without some nostalgia.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

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Bringing back legendary troops isn’t the problem; it’s that the game’s only skill is trying to resemble RA2. The issue with this is that it emphasizes how superior Westwood was at building an RTS.

The gameplay elements of RA2 were brought to their logical conclusion, most notably that every single unit in RA3 has an active ability. Beam of Leech Aegis Shield is a shield that protects you from harm. Turbo Boost.

Whip of Paralysis The attack dog, too, has a “Sonic Bark.” It’s a clumsy effort to capitalize on RA2’s intriguing and unusual units. Whereas the troops in RA2 had their oddities incorporated into common operations like moving or attacking, RA3 tosses at you a bucket full of varied capabilities seen in each MOBA.

The attack dog has a sonic stun-bark not because it requires it for its early anti-infantry defensive function, but because RA3’s unit design philosophy is “the more abilities we can hurl on these units, the better.” Unfortunately, quantity does not often equate to quality, and the result is three armies of units handicapped by bloat, with an excessive amount of buttons to push that are needless at best and overpowering at worst.

The visual design of RA3’s troops is another bad effort at copying; gameplay is just half of the story. In a fairly conventional army, RA2’s wackier troops were the stars. It seemed strange by comparison to see a Giant Squid swaying a Destroyer to death or Yuri’s flying saucer woo-wooing around and grabbing your money.

The units in RA3 are all odd. We’ve got assault bears and shrink-ray helicopters, as well as a cannon that propels your soldiers, exactly like RA2’s! A new Japanese group has arrived, complete with anime-style robo-units and psychic schoolgirls! We pay Tim Curry and George Takei to eat the scenery like Romanov and Yuri, and the Flak Trooper is moaning about gulags! Please keep in mind how much you enjoyed RA2.

Whereas RA2’s unit style was mostly ’80s era equipment with experimental tech tossed in, RA3’s unit look is some hazy future-mixed-with-past combination of cutting-edge future war and WWII Soviet design.

There are no standouts among RA3’s lineup of odd, future-science experimental units—they’re all odd experimental units, and it’s tougher to relate with them as a consequence. It’s yet another instance of RA3 taking a nice feature from its predecessor and turning it into the whole design—an approach that gets lost in its own pandering and fan service while adding little to the series.

 Command & Conquer: Renegade

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This is the first time the devs have attempted anything new with Command & Conquer: Renegade. Renegade is a strange FPS that was launched in 2002 instead of an RTS.

The game puts players in the shoes of a GDI commando tasked with fighting the Brotherhood of Nod in order to save his fellow scientists who have been kidnapped. It was an unusual deviation from the genre, and although being a “decent” game, it failed to catch on.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert

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The first game in the Red Alert series and the one that gave us Hell March, Klepacki’s epic piece of game music. Red Alert has a lot of redeeming qualities, and it deserves credit just for spawning such a fun series of games.

Even now, with its unexpectedly appealing aesthetics, Red Alert stands out amid the flood of RTS games that have emerged since its 1996 debut. When you think about it, that’s rather respectable. This is a strong endorsement of the game’s gameplay and graphic design.

Our game’s fun is largely based on nostalgia, which is why it isn’t higher on this list. The funny live-action advertising ads, on the other hand, are worth the price of admission. When you add in the large number of distinct troops and varied landscapes, you have the makings of a fantastic RTS game.

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

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So far, we’ve spoken about two games that we find offensive as a C&C fan, as well as one that wasn’t really a game at all. That leads us to Command & Conquer 3, a game that wasn’t horrible but wasn’t great either.

C&C3’s scenario is tried-and-true, set in the gloomy, apocalyptic world of Tiberium Sun, and the SAGE engine does a fantastic job of displaying its dusky, bleak scenery. Riflemen, rocket soldiers, APCs, medium and heavy tanks, and so on make up the bulk of its units. You construct bases, gather Tiberium, and spend it on units to fight each other with.

There are campaigns with corny FMV where Michael Ironside, Grace Park, and Tricia Helfer give you advice while Billy Dee Williams screams at you to set off a doomsday bomb. It’s obviously a Command and Conquer game.

Despite this, it’s a forgettable film. There isn’t anything new in C&C3 in terms of the engine, gameplay, or setting that wasn’t previously in Tiberium Sun and Generals. It wasn’t quite fresh enough to constitute a remarkable new chapter in Command and Conquer history, despite being four years in the creation.

Instead, it stands as the start of the series’ descent from creativity to mediocrity—and, being the first C&C without Westwood or Westwood Pacific, it’s easy to see why the magic was missing. Red Alert 3 was a lousy film, but we don’t hold that grudge against C&C3 since it’s an attempt to reverse-engineer brilliance that’s neither excellent nor awful, just ordinary.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

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There was Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 before Red Alert 3 sought to convert the series into a comedic cheese-fest. It was one of the most popular real-time strategy games in the early 2000s, and it’s known for its unique and vicious perspective on the Cold War.

Red Alert 2 was essentially World War 3, with the Soviet Union being ruled by Tsarist-era wackjobs and psychics and the United States being ruled by cowboys and Republicans. Everyone basically went along with the sarcasm and dark propaganda during this golden age in gaming.

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun

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The sequel Tiberian Sun was launched four years after the initial game that spawned the whole series.

Tiberian Sun improved on the original’s great game mechanics by adding a slew of new troops and fascinating elements like a night and daylighting system, which brought originality to an already unusual game.

Tiberian Sun also had other graphically striking aspects for its time, such as the isometric view, which gave the impression that the game was 3D.

This gave the impression that the environment had numerous layers, and this visual update significantly helped elevate the series to the next level. Fans believe it opened the path for subsequent games to follow suit and develop to the point where unit models and the entire terrain were rendered in 3D, like in Red Alert 2.

Urban combat provided a layer of realism by allowing you to fight in cities and hide behind structures or slug it out in the streets.

Furthermore, Tiberian Sun was a forerunner in terms of including destructible landscape into the mix. That is, for the first time, you were able to destroy that bridge and stop your opponent from progressing any farther.

Command & Conquer: Generals

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Middle Eastern zealots arrive in Toyotas, motorbikes, and trucks loaded with explosives, blasting rockets and flashbangs at hordes of Chinese nuke tanks. Generals was thematically a straight-faced parody of a modern world in conflict, a three-way free-for-all where the US and China vie for control of the world while the Global Liberation Army slams bomb-trucks into anyone who looks at them funny.

It was often regarded as the black sheep of the C&C family. In a world where an American tank fights an anthrax-wielding tractor and calmly declares, “It’s the correct thing to do,” An angry crowd armed with AK-47s is one of the scariest forces on the battlefield, despite all the highly armed tanks, high-tech lasers, and expert soldiers. Despite being set in the current world, Generals may be the most ludicrous Command & Conquer game ever.

It’s also up there with RA2 as the finest C&C game ever. When Generals originally debuted, people were critical of the game’s numerous adjustments. They cited the elimination of resource fields in favor of a new supply dump economy, the abandoning of the Tiberium and Red Alert worlds in favor of a more realistic one, the lack of FMV cutscenes, and the new 3D engine as evidence that it wouldn’t be a successful C&C game.

While Generals differs from the other games, it is still a wonderful RTS experience. The complexities that made subsequent Westwood C&Cs so wonderful are all here—infantry, vehicles, and static fortifications all interact in a gratifying way that creates a balanced environment in which every choice is feasible and, more importantly, fun.

Are you looking for a simple tank rush? It’s the same as it’s always been. Artillery and point defense assistance for a combined arms siege crawl? It’s slow, but it strikes like a ton of bricks. Dropping soldiers from the sky to secure important map points? It’s opulent and effective. This is a game where ‘F-22 harass’ and ‘Toxin tractor rush’ are both viable options, and you can utilize any troops you want if you play your cards well.

Each had its own unique battlefield use, was well-themed (and well-voiced), and was pleasurable to command. New features like a faction-based skill tree, unit upgrades, and certain secondary abilities provided richness to the game without becoming overpowering.

The storyline in Generals was far less memorable than earlier C&C games, but the multiplayer and skirmish modes were unrivaled—whether facing the AI or other people, it seemed eternally replayable, an RTS where your only limitations were your own ability and how well you understood your units. There were a lot of units to remember.

The expansion pack Zero Hour, Generals, which included additional troops, campaign missions, and an in-depth challenge mode, offered even more. Players would choose one of nine newly added generals who stressed particular powers—the US Air Force, Chinese Infantry, GLA Toxins, and so on—and then battle the other eight leaders one by one on their own turfs, each with its own distinct battlefield that appealed to their distinct strengths. Each battle was difficult, and after defeating all eight generals on your quest, you faced a final opponent who combined technology from all three groups.

It was both enjoyable and challenging, and it was very replayable—winning the task with one general felt quite different from achieving it with another. These generals were also playable in multiplayer, and the specializations and better units they brought to the table added to the depth and playability of Generals. Zero Hour was a fantastic addition to Generals, cementing its status as one of the best expansion packs ever created for one of the best RTS games of all time.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 Yuri’s Revenge

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This is an example of a DLC expansion pack that significantly enhances the value of a previously purchased game. Because of the significant adjustments and enhancements made to practically everything, Yuri’s Revenge is worth purchasing over the original.

Yuri and his psychic mind-control minions and machines are the most noticeable additions to this expansion. Yuri’s group had a wholly distinctive appearance, spiky structures, and soldiers with specific psychic skills, adding a new depth to the gameplay. Another issue to deal with when fighting the traditional Allied and Soviet forces.

Yuri’s Revenge doesn’t forget about the other factions, including two complete new campaigns for both the Allies and the Soviets, as well as fascinating new units like the fast robot tank and handy siege choppers.

Definitely, a worthwhile addition that we believe everyone would appreciate.

Command & Conquer Zero Hour

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As an upgrade to Generals, it’s easy to dismiss Zero Hour as merely an expansion pack that provides additional material to the primary game.

Unlike many previous expansions that accomplish the same thing while adding nothing to the franchise, Zero Hour provides a completely new method to play the game — nine in fact – in the form of separate generals for each of the three sides.

When you consider how much more the expansion accommodates unique play styles, the original game pales in contrast to Zero Hour. If you like the GLA’s stealth feature, for example, Zero Hour lets you take it to its logical conclusion and specialize on it (at the expense of other elements).

For the most part, the system was well-balanced, and the campaign, which forced you to find out how to best deal with each unique general, provided a lot of complexity to the strategy game.