Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
Ah, finally, the modern era of HD! After the smash-hit that was RA2, I was all over TW like white on rice. I even bought the “Collector’s Edition.” Don’t ask me what that included, because I couldn’t tell you besides a headache through the installation process. I had to do some unsavory things to get this game to run, and that sticks out in my head more than the story, which boils down to how GDI and Nod respond to an alien invasion. One faction wants to repel the Scrin while the other welcomes them. Guess who is who?
I’m going all out. Nod isn’t just cool, Nod is one of the most gratifying factions that I have ever had the pleasure of playing in any RTS. The first two options in the infantry tree are identical except for their VA. Shadow Teams are essentially post-apocalyptic ninja complete with gliders, stealth, and explosives. I am acutely fond of the new flamethrower units, or the Black Hand. I don’t know how they don’t catch on fire, but they’re tough for infantry and they’re friggin called THE BLACK HAND, and they can be upgraded with the “purifying flame!” Rounding out the notable infantry for Nod is the Nod Commando, an alternative take on Tanya with dual laser pistols rather than dual ballistic pistols. She can cloak while not moving which isn’t as useful as the Shadow Team, but she’s much stronger, being able to take out buildings and walkers with C4.
Nod armor is more exciting than in the past, too. Even though the Scorpion Tank a “light” kind of tank compared to GDI armor, the design makes it worth building just to admire, especially after the upgrade to lasers. I could never get the Volkswagen Beetle-favoring Beam Cannons to work properly with the Venom Patrol Craft, but I did enjoy using them to overcharge the Obelisks of Light. The rotary turrets of the Flame Tanks made them worthy of being built, and of course, I loved the stealth tanks once more, complete with their screen shaking payload. The Avatar became Nod’s heavy mech, but it wasn’t until a few patches that it was worth building since GDI Mammoth Tanks could 1vs1 them after their railgun upgrades. Plus, they almost prohibitively expensive since they require cannibalizing other Nod units to reach maximum efficiency. But if one has the money, it’s awesome getting these virtual terminators up and running, flamethrowers, beam cannons, and stealth actuators all attached.
Again, Scrin meta is above my head, but I’ll try to do them justice. The Stormrider may be pound-for-pound the best unit in the game. It is more durable than any other strike-craft in the game, augmented by ion storms with increased damage and healing. The only sense of balance that these things offer is that one can only build four per Gravity Stabilizer. They can attack anything in the air or the ground, though they are weak against infantry. But that is what the Devastator Warship is for, which lays siege to anything on the ground at a distance, forcing enemies to face the Stormriders head-on. Rounding out the Scrin trinity is the Planetary Assault Carrier, obviously inspired by the Protoss Carrier, which generates its own ion storm, increasing the efficiency of all accompanying craft in the fleet. When these things are seen on the map, it is only a matter of time before the Scrin completely overwhelm their opponents. Of course, all this stuff is crazy expensive—just like the Protoss—so it is best to keep the Scrin suppressed so that they do not take over the map with that aerial navy. The MOST AWESOME UNIT OF THE GAME, however, is the Scrin Mothership, the only other such ship besides the Pride of Higara in Homeworld which I refer to as “THE MOTHER*%&$ING SHIP.” It moves like a slug across the screen, and that is good balance, because it is a mobile superweapon that is nowhere near as fun as Rift Generator, and that’s saying a lot because the latter is a black hole creator that implodes enemy bases. THE MOTHER*%&$ING SHIP takes 7 seconds to fire even after the 10 minutes it takes to travel from one side of the map to the other (unless the Scrin player stealthily builds the Signal Transmitter closer to an enemy base so that the THE MOTHER*%&$ING SHIP spawns there instead), but once it does fire, it begins a chain reaction that either forces the enemy to quickly sell all buildings affected by the shockwave effect of watch in despair what an auto-GG looks like. THE MOTHER*%&$ING SHIP is the primary reason why I played Scrin the few times that I did.
The Juggernaut is essentially the Titan from TS after some intensive upgrades. EA realized that the walkers for GDI were not sexy, and reduced the presence of them in their arsenal to this one unit (unless one counts the Steel Talon faction from Kane’s Wrath) which I overlooked for a long, long time because the MAMMOTH TANK is soooogood.gif. Well, sometimes, the enemy builds a superweapon like a Temple of Nod, and I need to take it out without risking my forces. Or, I have to suppress a marching army before it reaches my base. At any rate, the Juggernaut’s range is so extensive with a spotter like a Sniper Team, that an effective strategy is simply to bombard the enemy, forcing them to come with whatever they’ve got, preferably into a choke-point.
As far as GDI’s air force is concerned, the Orca returns to its original strength from the days of TD, making it actually useful to build once again for reasons besides its sleek design. However, the Firehawk is the new kid on the block, bringing mad-crazy versatility with it. Equipped with Rattlesnake missiles for anti-air or Groundpounder bombs for anti-buildings, this jet can deal devastating blows to enemy forces. However, while being able to fast-toggle payload depending on what is needed for the next sortie is indispensable, what makes this unit one of the best in the game are its “Statofighter Boosters,” which launch the Firehawk into orbit only to return a mere few seconds later wherever—and I do mean wherever—the player likes, such as a MCV or Superweapon or expansion. Because this ability can be used to bypass anti-air, it is much more possible for the Firehawk to survive leaving from its target than to pass over the enemy’s base twice. This unit is the only air unit not belonging to the Scrin that can actually dogfight the aliens—and win.
There are many reasons as to why I am fond of C&C3. Not the least among them is the fact that EA took a big, smelly dump on the C&C franchise its “direct” sequel. Perhaps chief among the positive reasons that I adore TW is the power of the Ion Cannon. After watching Nod enjoy the devastating nuke in the last two games of the series while GDI enjoyed little more than a pea-shooter, GDI’s new and improved Ion Cannon became the devastating weapon that I always imagined, always dreamed it to be.
“Geosynchronous orbit” you say? Why, I’ll take three!
We may never see another C&C game of this caliber set in the Tiberium universe.
CONTINUE TO PAGE 7 FOR C&C: RED ALERT 3