Command and Conquer: Renegade
Wait! Before you snort like a Frenchman and skip to the next review, there's something you should know.
Despite all our predictions to the contrary, C&C: Renegade, Westwood's attempt at shoehorning the C&C formula into an FPS framework, is not dead. Yes, the single-player game was a widely acknowledged cock-up, but thanks to the efforts of some die-hard modders, the multiplayer game is still enjoyed today.
Now, I'm not suggesting you buy the game for this reason - if you haven't played it by now you've probably missed the boat. But the people behind some of the best mods for the game are now working on a Ftenegade-inspired mod for Half-Life 2, with a full single-player campaign and multiplayer game (called A Path Beyond and The Dead 6 respectively). It could be great, it could be the first-person C&C we always wanted. Unfortunately for Sold Out, it's also a great reason not to buy this game.
Download Command and Conquer: Renegade
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
As Stinkers go. Renegade's single-player game is right up there with a cabbage and baked bean vindaloo follow-through. One of our main gripes about it was its Al. Or lack of it, like jeeps following an identical oval path in a vain attempt to run you over. Unforgivable. However, take out the Al and throw in some live bait, and these criticisms get defenestrated faster than an extra in an old-skool Western. And believe it or not, once you've filed your nails down to a set of useless carbon stumps waiting for one of several hundred packed-to-bursting-point servers to load, you'll find that under the glitches lies a highly entertaining multiplayer lark.
Renegade is certainly one of the most popular new online FPSs for a wile, and its class-based similarities to TFC is obviously capturing the imagination of fraggers the world over. And after a few minutes it's easy to see why. Choosing one of two sides (NOD or GDI), you must defend your base while trying to take out the enemy's. However, rather than a basic CTF principle, you actually have to take out key buildings (Runways, Weapon Factories etc), just like in a C&C RTS.
During each round you earn credits for kills, which can then be cashed in for a multitude of character upgrades (engineer, heavy gunner, sniper etc) or used to buy vehicles which you can hop into and drive (including Mammoth Tanks). Sadly, though, many of these are infuriatingly hard to manoeuvre. Things aren't helped by some atrocious lag (even with an ADSL connection) and severe clipping problems. Patches are needed, and fast.
If you're going to buy Renegade, then make sure it's for the multiplayer game. As a team game it works extremely well and its already massive fanbase guarantees an abundance of servers all day long. Don't expect to be enthralled, but do expect to be entertained.
Captain Nick "Havoc" Parker bit off more than he could chew. After infiltrating the Nod base, he discovered a plan by General Gideon Raveshaw to use kidnapped GDI scientists to launch the mysterious Project: Re-Genesis. Now as Capt. Parker you've got to stop him, free the scientists. Unfortunately Raveshaw isn't the only one you'll have to worry about; you're going to also be facing up with your ex-comrade Sakura Obata, a former commando with an attitude and Raveshaw's safety in mind.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Command and Conquer Renegade is one of the most original takes on a first person shooter to come along in quite a while. The game's clever blend of shooter and real time strategy almost warrant dubbing CCR a Real Time Shooter Strategy.
In the game you play Captain Nick "Havoc" Parker, a Special Forces commando dropped into sticky situations to accomplish a laundry list of mayhem. The single player mode of the game features about 10 hours worth of game play broken up into a dozen missions. Each of the missions are pretty sizable, having you cover pretty huge maps and accomplish a lot of killing and destruction before the day is done. Overall CCR accomplishes its goal of turning the Command & Conquer series into a first person shooter blend.
The enemies and support staff you run into throughout the game come straight from the real time strategy game. You even get to commandeer a number of the vehicles and tool around the map, annihilating enemies and structures. From heavy to light tanks, to machine gun-mounted Humvees, extreme vehicular homicide is brought to bear. The weapons provided come from the special characters in the strategy game as well, things like flamethrowers or sniper rifles.
Unfortunately the game's AI is just not up to snuff. Enemies tend to do a lot of standing around, unless you're within sight. Once they see you they charge blindly ahead, taking heaps of damage without doing much to avoid hits besides the occasional weaving. Sometimes you'll even see a flock of bad guys hung up on a table or chair. Luckily there are three difficulty settings in the single player mode and cranking it up to the hardest tends to make the game worth playing for shooter veterans.
CCR relies on its very own 3D engine, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. While the graphics go a long way to put you in the world of the original Command and Conquer, they also tend to remind you that it's only a game. CCR's graphics have more of the cartoonish feel of a First Person Shooter like Serious Sam then it does of the lately ultra-realistic releases like Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's something you need to know going into it. The game doesn't really focus on splendid graphics, although they are certainly passable, even good at times. Instead CCR is all about fast-paced, team-based FPS, which is a good thing.
The sounds in CCR seem to come straight from the real time strategies. In multiplay, you'll hear that feminine computer voice telling you when units are ready or buildings are under attack. In single player missions the main character's quips will remind you of the commando's surly comments in the original game. Unfortunately, much like with graphics, the sounds seem to be more there to capture the feel of the C&C line of games than to add an important element of realism. Guns don't sound as intimidating as in most shooters and the vehicles just don't offer the complexity necessary to capture an authentic feel.
This is where CCR truly excels. Multiplayer mode is supported either through Westwood's servers or through Gamespy. Once you log in and set up a free account you can start a quick match or hop over to the multiplayer game list, pick a game and start playing.
In Multiplay you fight for either NOD or the GDI. Like in the original game, both groups have totally different looking units with essentially equal abilities. Unlike most shooters, CCR isn't about killing lots o' people. Instead you have to destroy the enemy's base, as in all of their buildings, before they destroy yours. The biggest difference between CCR and other shooters is that this game makes the buildings a very important part of the game.
Throughout the game your team's harvester will be making regular trips to pick up Tiberium. Once the Tiberium is deposited in the refinery it is doled out equally to that side's players. The players can then run into a building and buy vehicles or character upgrades. Character upgrades change the types of weapons, amount of health and armor a player has, so you can become a sniper or a chemical warrior or even an engineer. The engineer, a weak almost unarmed character, is essential to the game because it can heal other players, buildings and units.
A team's selection of upgrades can be severely hampered by destroying a building. Take out a barracks and no more special characters; wipe out a weapons factory and no more vehicles. The other buildings affect Tiberium intake and can also wreak havoc on an enemy team if destroyed. Because the buildings are so important in the game it ends up forcing players to play as a team, assigning some to repair or guard the base while others carry-out attacks.
This is probably the most effective team-based shooter I've ever played, forcing gamers to actually think about their actions instead of just running around shooting stuff. As if that weren't enough Westwood seems truly dedicated to making the multiplay experience something that will be around awhile and still loads of fun. They've already had at least one patch to fix some multiplay issues and are currently working on adding flying vehicles to the game. Now that's going to rock!!
Pentium II 450 or equivalent, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D accelerator, 16 MB VRAM and 500 MB disc space.
I really loved this game, but I have to say it was quite frustrating that the instruction book had so little information on mulitplayer weapons and vehicles. Instead you have to just try them all out to figure out who does what and why it's better to have one person over another when attacking a tank. It's really quite irritating, and frankly bizarre that Westwood wouldn't bother to better explain the best feature of their game, multiplay.
Command and Conquer Renegade isn't for those interested in realistic battle or high-end graphics. But if you're looking to have a lot of fun and hoping to try a different approach to first person shooters, this is your game. Let's hope the sequel concentrates a bit more on sound and graphics while maintaining the same gameplay elements.