Previews// Command and Conquer 4

Posted 24 Nov 2009 15:16 by
War, huh? What is it good for, anyway? Well, in Command and Conquer 4, itís good for Tiberium, and fun times with weapons! Yes, the classic RTS game that pits the Global Defence Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod against each other is back for another round of strategy combat, and this time things have changed a little.

You still control bases, and the aim still lies in collecting the precious Tiberium ore while ensuring your opponent faction doesnít advance on your territory. But the combat has taken a more fast-paced approach, as your main unit for controlling and creating forces is a Mobile Construction Vehicle (or MCV).

In its packed up state, you can move the MCV around the map and set it down as far away or as close to the front lines as you like. From there, you need to root your MCV to the ground, which will allow you to create assault and defence units as you used to. Created units pop out of your rooted MCV, which means your choice of location is important if you want to split your forces towards different firefights.

Three different kinds of MCV can be used in play - offensive, defensive and support types - each with a unique selection of units and bonuses to benefit from. Offensive type MCVs will allow you to create tanks and other heavy units, while allowing you to max out your firepower using Tiberium crystals collected on the field.

A defensive type will let you build infantry like foot soldiers and man-tanks, while also offering the chance to build additional structures such as laser towers to defend your territory. Support type MCVs give you air-based equipment and units, such as airstrikes and support in the form of fighter jets - but as powerful as these are, you canít capture bases with support units, so you need a combination of all three MCV types to produce the right balance of units and defences you need.

Each battle map comes provided with plenty of neutral bases for you and your opponent to conquer in order to reach the prize - Tiberium crystals. These are found by various depositories littered around the map, and can be used in a number of ways. First and foremost, your mission is to harvest all of the ore and ship it back to your main base camp by any means necessary. Or, if youíre stuck in a rut and donít have the men to fend off an assault, you can detonate the crystal you are carrying and perform a one-hit kill on all surrounding units - including your own. Nice.

Once youíve actually started collecting crystals however, a wealth of options are available to you, providing benefits dependant on your MCV type. Generally speaking, each unit type and special ability is ranked by Tiers.

You start off each war on Tier I, but collecting more Tiberium will allow you to upgrade to Tier II and III, which unlocks new units for you to use. Itís a satisfying sight to unlock the Temple of Nod and see your enemy go up in nuclear flames. You can also upgrade your units in various abilities, like accuracy and firepower.

I sat down and played a very long war with a partner between two other players posturing as the enemy faction. Command and Conquer 4 still has that addictive gameplay that draws you in, because even when I had a tower taken away from me at the centre of the map and all seemed lost, I somehow found the encouragement to plough on. A quick change from an Offensive MCV to a Defensive one allowed me to be more agile with my unit deployment, and strategic in planting Obelisk towers to support my infantry.

After a long hard battle, my team won, but it was not without casualties, musing about the foibles of life and death, and the virtual descending into a bottle to overcome the horrors I had seen befall on my men.

But then I got hungry and got up out of the chair. For Command and Conquer die-hards, this mixes the action up ever so slightly so that thereís a noticeable change of pace to your gameplay, but this change is easily overcome and once you get used to the MCVs and their importance on the field, it helped in refreshing the RTS classic, if just for a little bit.

Command and Conquer 4 is hitting the PC in 2010.

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