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Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight review

AT A GLANCE
  • Mobile bases
  • Class system adds more strategy and variety
  • Experience-driven unit unlocks
  • Underwhelming single-player campaign
  • Less economy focus may deter some players
  • Forced to log in to EA's servers to play

In a very unconventional sort of surprise ending, Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, the finale of the Tiberium storyline, abandons the basic mechanics the series is built on (kind of like Highlander 2, but not as insane). In fact, virtually nothing connects C&C4 to its long heritage - gameplay is far more reminiscent of World in Conflict than C&C. If not for Joe Kucan and his shiny, goateed dome reprising the role of paramilitary cult leader Kane, and the faction names Nod and GDI, C&C4 could be an unrelated sci-fi tactical strategy game.

How different is it? Instead of harvesting Tiberium resources to build a sturdy base and a diverse army, you deploy a specialized Crawler - a walking, rolling or flying distant relative of C&C’s Mobile Construction Vehicles - in a designated spot on the map, and unfold it to crank out units for free until you hit your unit cap. You then pack up your Crawler, advance (or retreat) to wherever the new front line might be, unpack it again and replenish your forces. If your Crawler is destroyed in battle, you just deploy a new one. So yeah, it’s pretty different.

The pace of combat is constant. Even when you lose every unit you’ve got, it only takes a couple of minutes to go from just your Crawler back up to a full-strength army. No costs are incurred except for build time, so the only incentive to keep units alive is veteran bonuses, earned through combat and from picking up Pac-Man-like power-pellet drops from fallen enemies. Pathfinding is fussy, which is a hassle when trying to ensure that your favorite unit gets the pickup, but I love the visual upgrades (like extra arms on the Nod Avatar walker) when you snag a rare blue powerup.

On that note, the Crawler animations are cool but, on the whole, C&C4 is a graphical step back from C&C: Red Alert 3 - for instance, textures are less detailed, and the weaksauce nuclear missiles look like something Wile E. Coyote might launch at the Road Runner.

What’s most impressive about this game is that with three types of Crawler per faction, there are essentially six distinct armies. And unlike the sub-factions of C&C3: Kane’s Wrath, no overlap exists between the Offense, Defense and Support unit lineups. The choice of which specialization to play is meaningful, since each will force you to adapt your strategies to its strengths. For example, a GDI Support player can’t match a Nod Offensive player’s firepower, but his Orca VTOL craft can easily pick apart an undefended Crawler. If your chosen Crawler isn’t working out, you can always pick another class when you respawn.

More Info

Release date: Mar 16 2010 - PC (US)
Mar 16 2010 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Los Angeles
Franchise: Command and Conquer
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
16+

5 comments

  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - March 17, 2010 6:40 a.m.

    Well at least we've got R.U.S.E. to look forward to and we still have RA3.
  • miasma - March 17, 2010 2:51 a.m.

    I loved Red Alert and C&C 1/2, Dune 2000 was cool too, but these recent games bear little resemblance to the games I remember and loved. Maybe its just me but the frantic click-fest with 20 buildings pumping out units, and the complete abandonment of base design in these more recent games leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. Also, this online play seems like a massive time sink. The AI skirmish is how a lot of players played multiplayer because of time constraints or just not wanting to get slammed by some Korean ultra-nerd over and over. I like the company, but EA should quit screwing around lest they ruin a franchise which was totally fine a la George Lucas.
  • HeavyTank - March 16, 2010 11:32 p.m.

    Wow..I don't know what to say...if they wanted to experiment with the series, they could've done so on older games, not the freaking last one..I've played Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath and loved them both, and I spent most of my time playing skirmishes against the AI..so now I have to basically be online at all times, I can't unlock all units unless I download a trainer or something, and the single-player is mediocre. To hell with this game..
  • nik41507 - March 16, 2010 11:21 p.m.

    I feel like crying and to think its the last game *sniffe*
  • Subtank - March 16, 2010 9:49 p.m.

    What happened to playing offline? >.> I guess I'll just stick to ol' CnC 3 (not RA).

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