Command & Conquer Generals
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.