Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour
There are more realistic and imaginative strategy games available, ones far more demanding of a tactical mind and others that offer up an historical challenge whether it be ancient or contemporary. But when it comes to whittling down the hours in the pursuit of pure fun, very few strategy games have been as easygoing or as enjoyable to play as the Command & Conquer series. For all its overt and senseless stereotyping, those that could stomach the all-too-current backdrop of its faux Desert Storm setting found the same enjoyment in C&C: Generals, the most recent offspring in the near decade-old series.
Picking up from where last year's episode left off, Zero Hour dishes out three mini campaigns for each of the three warring sides. Unsurprisingly. EA has again sexed up current affairs with the USA ferrying humanitarian aid and hunting weapons of mass destruction (which in this game are easy to find), the Chinese fighting terrorist armies, while those opting to command the GLA must regroup and harass their two enemies with sneak attacks and biological weapons.
The levels themselves have moved away from the predominantly Middle Eastern desert locales of the first game and include North Africa, the Mediterranean islands and Western Europe, and while the main campaigns are brief they are no less spectacular than you would expect. Spruced up with in-engine cut-scenes, the game is a feast for the senses with explosions that fill the screen, hordes of troops and tanks that pack the maps and the typical C&C soundtrack of industrial dirge that sets the mood perfectly.
To bolster what would otherwise be a thin expansion, EA has introduced a new single-player mode called Challenge; for all intents and purposes a homage to Street Fighter that has you, as your choice of general, taking on eight other generals one at a time as you attempt to become the mother of all battlefield commanders. Each general is an expert in a particular field, with bonuses and special units available depending on their skills. For example, play as Chinese General Kwai - an expert in armoured warfare - and you can build tanks cheaply and earn powerful bonus abilities, his weakness being that he can't recruit artillery units and aircraft are expensive. Go up against US General Alexander - a specialist in base defence, whose inability to build tanks is offset by EMP missiles and cheaper Particle Cannons - and you've got yourself an interesting battle.
While the new strategies work well, the Al still makes some corking blunders; units often get caught up crossing bridges, while enemy generals always seem to rely on the same routes to attack you time and time again. Saying that, your troops are more coordinated than they appeared last time around so there are improvements.
Of course this wouldn't be much of an expansion pack without some new units and EA has introduced plenty of upgrades and fresh reinforcements for each side. These include GLA combat bikes that tear across the maps at breakneck speed, Chinese Helix helicopters that can transport the massive Overlord tanks across the map and drop napalm bombs and, for the US, the Microwave tank that can reheat a chicken biryani in under five seconds - and reduce enemy buildings to rubble as a happy aside. Add in a couple of new General Abilities and new buildings, like the Chinese Internet Centre, and you have a hefty package that puts most add-ons to shame.
Download Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
It is crazy to think that Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour which is the seventh game in the series was released 15 years ago! Strategy fans love this series and this one here is regarded by many people as one of the best in the entire series. This expansion pack actually added some cool stuff to the series.
Three Sides Of A War
The story of Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour is something I really got into. The game is set in 2020 and during this time the terrorist organization, The Global Liberation Army is causing all kinds of trouble. The USA and China as the worlds two big superpowers are trying to put a stop to them.
The campaign is actually really good and you get to experience the war from all three sides. If you like war and action movies then I am sure you will get a real kick out of the story that is told here. You can play the campaign in any order you want, but if you want to really experience the story properly, you need to play it in the right order. Each faction gets around 7 missions each to play through so you get a nice amount of time to experience each one.
Your War Your Way
For this game, many changes were made to how it played. So much so that many people actually say that it has more in common with a game like Warcraft than it does the previous Command & Conquer games.
What really makes it stand out though is not having your “workers” build something. It is the sheer might of the army you can build. You have so much variety to the types of artillery you can wield in this game that it is almost daunting! You can use a sniper, a powerful jet, huge tanks and of course a ton of ground troops too! You can really develop some clever strategies with this game. Of course, the vast amount of choice also means that it is very easy to get things wrong!
Added to this expansion was a cool mode all about generals. Each of the three factions has three generals and you get to pick one of them. Each one has something that makes them special as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. It is a cool mode and one you can easily waste many hours with.
Play With Friends
I have played Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour with a friend of mine and it has been a great experience. There are still servers out there, so you can find a game quite easily. However, playing against someone you actually know and having the ability to do a little “trash talking” really makes the multiplayer a very fun experience.
You can play with via LAN too so that is always an option. While I had fun playing with my friend, playing with a random who takes the game super serious I must admit is not as much fun as you would think.
Like the previous games in the series, Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour is not a game for every gamer out there. However, if you like strategy games and especially if you like this series. I am certain that once you get the hang of the UI, you will be having a rocking good time with this one.
- The story is very strong
- Three different armies to command
- Plenty of things to wage war with
- The gameplay is rather fast-paced
- The Generals Mode is actually really cool
- It can take a while to get to grips with how the game plays
- Some folks take this game way too seriously online!