Command & Conquer: Generals
There's Not a strategy fan in the land that could look at the screenshots or trailers for Command & Conquer: Generals and not be turned into a gibbering fool by its glorious cinematic renderings. This transition of the classic RTS series into the 3D arena was hardly unexpected after Emperor: Battle For Dune, but perhaps more surprising is that the gameplay and style marks a conscious return to the original games, despite the fact that developer EA Pacific only worked on Red Alert: 2 and the Yuri's Revenge expansion pack.
This time the game opts for a three-way military struggle between the forces of China, America and a terrorist organisation called the GLA (Global Liberation Army). As with the Dune games there's been a lot of honing done, so they're distinctly different both in terms of units and buildings, and also those intrinsic details that affect how a side physically plays - like resource management and secret weapons.
Rather than being just a visual overhaul, EA Pacific has tried to integrate the new 3D environment into the very fabric of the game. Instead of pushing units around on a seemingly unresponsive terrain, troops can actually land on top of buildings, jeeps can knock down trees, tanks can batter down walls and explosions devastate everything in their radius. And of course the animations and special effects are just as impressive as the rest of this graphical tour de force.
It's fair to say that through the years the C&C games have rested on their laurels somewhat, languishing in the same style of gameplay without too many efforts to push their own envelope. Generals could easily have been a cop-out and just taken the C&C in 3D' route and it still would have sold well. Luckily it isn't, and in this case patience has been rewarded with the game C&C fans have been waiting their whole lives for.
Download Command & Conquer: Generals
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Command & Conquer Generals is as disturbing as it is realistic, but I suppose that's what you get when the father of all Real Time Strategies gets a mega-face lift by the people who first popularized the genre.
Generals is in many ways still deeply rooted in the basic gameplay and look of the C&C series, the difference being that this real-time strategy is based on the wars of today and uses the weapons, and more importantly, the tactics of global warfare.
In Generals you can play as the Chinese, U.S. or the G.L.A. (Global Liberation Army). Each army has its own strengths and weaknesses, offering wildly different ways to engage in combat but still managing to remain well balanced with their counterparts. What makes this game so disturbing is the G.L.A.'a sort of revolutionary army'and their style of combat. Instead of relying on masses of infantry and swarm tactics like the army of China or technology and wealth like the U.S., the G.L.A. relies on the tactics of terror. That's right' you can lob Anthrax laden missiles at enemies, sneak in suicide bombers, disguise yourself as enemy units and travel the map near instantaneously through a network of tunnels. The fact that this so closely mirrors the world we find ourselves in today and the dangers we face, both in the Middle East and North Korea, instills both a sense of horror to the game and grudging respect for EA. Generals is about modern warfare and like it or not, you can't create such a game without including the tactics of Al Qaeda, Iraq, and China.
The other new element Generals adds to the C&C franchise is the ability to promote a general, earning him certain powers such as the ability to call in air strikes or instantly create a band of armed peasants. This greatly enhances the feel of the game and makes for some interesting military Hail-Mary's near the end of a skirmish.
The graphics are just incredible, offering beautifully rendered units that literally blow apart when destroyed, sometimes even hurtling drivers in the air. Sounds too, create a sense of wonder with the echoing staccato of machine gun fire and deep wumph of grenade impacts. Multiplayer is slick and fast-paced with little to no lag, awarding 3 points for wins and nothing for losses so you can keep track of how your score compares to others.
Command and Conquer manages to once again make a spectacular franchise even better, adding a much needed sense of realism to a game of war and beefing it up with eye-grabbing graphics and sound'none of which slows the always fun pace of real time warfare.