Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath Reader Review
I like my computer games the same way i like my Batman films, slightly camp. Some games take themselves too seriously, others are camp without even knowing it; but C&C was forged in an era of camp - in the fires of FMV. It is the only survivor of the early 90's FMV craze because they do it so damn well - This has became its trademark, its flagship feature. The superb single player is only matched in quality by its competitive multiplayer. From playsation to PC, C&C is regarded by many as the pinnacle of RTS design. So now C&C 3: Kane's Wrath is here to fill in the plot holes between Kane's assimilation and his re-return in C&C 3; revealing what that mischievous little scamp Kane has been up to since we last saw him, Oh that mass-murderer, he is a cheeky one.
The Wrath of Kane
If you don't like C&C3 you will most certainly not enjoy this - its a game for the fans, delving deep into the brotherly pools of lore; So while I can level some criticism it wont be enough to dissuade the faithful - while i can point out some interesting features, it wont be enough to bring the heretic into the flock.
You play as 'Legion'(we aren't that many) as the prophet Kane's most loyal commander. Kane has survived merging with CABAL(Borg meets The Matrix) and needs to regain control over a splintered-nod faction. Joseph Kucan reprises his role of Kane and - like the character he portrays - hasn't aged a day since we first saw him. Kane loves his sexy parties and joining him in his latest soirée is Natasha Henstridge(Species) who plays Alexa Kovak, a fellow commander and ardent Kane follower.
The game plays much the same as the rest of the C&C series, but then why re-invent the wheel? C&C does a great job in letting other games take risks, then implementing them into the series in their own image. I can see inspiration has been drawn from the Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth series such as; The streamlined user interface in C&C3 and now the global conquest mode. This isnt a bad thing though, an established series such as this cant afford changing direction or risk dissatisfying the core fans.
The global conquest mode is a grand-strategy mode where you fight for world domination in a turn based format, battles are played as you would with skirmish. If you are familiar with Dawn of war: Dark Crusade or LOTR:BFME War of the ring campaign then its very similar with some changes. Every faction has the objective of fulfilling a clause e.g. Nod must convert 24 cities to a red zone, or just kill everyone. Conquest mode revolves around building cities that are your production hubs, with those you build armies of varying strength to conquer the other factions. Battles can be automatically resolved or fought in real time using the familiar skirmish format. While they are several other games out there with a similar game mode(Empire Earth, Lotr:bfme) Kane's Wrath makes the mode its own with a more fluid style than similar modes offer in other games. There are some flaws however; Firstly assaulting an enemies base can be completely futile if your not playing real time; you will often lose by lazily clicking auto-resolve, even with the super-duper-hardcore units. Also the superweapons(Nukes, Ion Cannons and Rift Generator) can be used by the enemy to annihilate your cities, its a royal pain-in-the-ass; wiping out small cities entirely every 4 turns.
A Redeemer, M.A.R.V. and Eradicator Hexapod walk into a bar...There were No Survivors.
What else has changed? New units for all factions as one would expect. Nod seems to get a lot of new infantry while GDI got a large amount of new vehicles and vehicle abilities. Every faction now gets a hero unit in the form of giant mechs much akin to those is Supreme Commander. GDI get MARV, a modified mammoth tank, Nod get a giant form of their 'Avatar' called the Redeemer, while Scrin get a huge blue spider called Eradicator Hexapod. These large mechs(Alien insect in Scrin's case) are expensive, effective and customizable. By garrisoning infantry units in the mech it obtains a secondary fire function i.e. adding a saboteur and rocket troop gives the mech self repair and rocket fire. This format is well suited to the C&C franchise and we will likely see more of it, cant think why they didn't do it sooner.
But i do have some gripes eating at me. One thing that really did grind my gears, ground them to dust, was the missions needlessly over challenging objectives. I hear you proclaiming 'L2P Noob!' but its not (entirely) an issue of ineptness, its an issue of the objective surprising you and being failed already because you didn't know, I didn't know! e.g. one mission requires you to capture 4 Nodes(Buildings) after capturing the fourth i lay back and smugly congratulated myself; Kane then tells me to hold them for 5 minutes(or so) and one of them was already under heavy attack. Sometimes the AI - the git - will engineer rush my base. Where does that get fun? I like to feel challenged in the single player, the experience can be simulated not by actually challenging me but by faking it, AI units having half hit-points, less damage etc. There is no fun to be had by having to spend half an hour redoing a mission because absent-minded Kane forgot to mention something.
Perhaps such problems are inherent with all RTS's i shouldn't really be too hard on it; penguins cant fly and RTS's allow player failure resulting in repetitive single mission grinding...suppose i could save more often.
There have been other changes, some i suspect for multiplayer reasons. Every factions anti-air abilities has been increased somewhat by extra units, a favorite strategy of some GDI players was to Orca rush the enemy. Engineers now take a few seconds to capture buildings and fences have been added to surround buildings; that will help prevent sneak captures, as if i would ever commit such a dirty, low-down attack.
Kane you dig it?
All-in-all its a well rounded game. Critics would argue that it isnt very original, and they would be right, established games like this though cant take risks. The single player is fun, if quite frustrating at times; The game itself added some new features, units and another layer for multiplayer. If you like C&C3 then you will enjoy this, if you didn't then it wont bring anything enticing to the table. Though the new Global Conquest is fun it can be repetitive after a while, in the long run it may just serve as a novelty feature. As a fan though of everything Commanding and Conquering I thoroughly enjoyed the expansion and eagerly anticipate Red Alert 3, speaking of which a beta key is shipped with the retail copy of Kane's Wrath. And with the incoming Red Alert 3 we must say goodbye to Kane for another few years; no doubt he will come back young as ever, hopefully with another of his sexy parties.
- FMV Fun
- FMV Fun with Natasha Henstridge
- Epic Units
- Good Times With Global Conquest
- Didnt Encounter Any Bugs, Except Scrin (Badoom-Ksh)
- Red Alert 3 Beta Invite
- Frustrating Gameplay at Times
- NOD militia creation sound; "Fighters Arm Up!" Being repeated over and over...
- 'Kane' Jokes
So how many 'Marks of Kane' do i give it...
8 / 10