Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Command and Conquer 3: Lupus, Cylons and Cinematics

 It’s fair to say that I am not a huge fan of RTS games.  I’m simply not a skilled enough micro-manager to effectively control all those units well enough to do really well at them.  I do well enough, but I’m not amazing.  Starcraft remains one of my favourite games, and Starcraft II one of the games I most want to play, but that’s for two things: the story and the custom maps.  I like the Starcraft series for the maps you can play that aren’t RTS.

Anyway, I play them, but it’s not my preferred genre.  I recently picked up a cheap copy of Command and Conquer 3 though, and I have to say I’ve been loving the campaigns.  The story is interesting, with this whole thing about Tiberium which has apparently been going on for the whole series.  The infighting within both sides of the conflict is fascinating.  The gameplay is relatively solid.  It functions like other RTSs of its ilk.  I feel it isn’t as balanced a game as Starcraft, but Blizzard set a pretty high standard there, and I haven’t had any major problems, though anti-air options seem a little limited if you’re not GDI.

What I love about this game though, and what got me hooked from the moment I started the campaign, is the briefings – the cinematics in between the levels which really drive the story forward.  For a start, they’re filmed, not CGI (mostly).  So they have actual actors serving as your commanding officers and briefing officers.  This is where a lot of C&C 3’s entertainment value comes in, and I think it is largely down to Jennifer Morrison, better known as Cameron from House.  I can take Boomer from Battlestar Galactica being in it; she’s in Hawaii 5-O too.  You see her around, although it does suddenly become incredibly bizarre when Caprica 6 is a Nod commander, when Nod has a distinctly Cylon air about them.  I even appreciate Lando’s appearance.  Good to see him; fair enough.  Cameron though, she’s totally unexpected, and I just can’t take her seriously.  Having Cameron staring straight at you and telling you how tough the next mission will be, sharing her feelings about the situation or congratulating you on a job well done all seems slightly unnerving to me.  I keep on laughing during GDI briefings, and I keep feeling that somewhere, one of the designers was just a massive House fan and decided to do some serious fanboyism.  Yes that’s a word.  I really like the cutscenes overall.  They work well, they’re dramatic, and it gives a definite sense of realism to the game.  Plus, having the characters interacting directly with you makes you feel far more immersed in the situation.  One wish? To be able to make decisions on your own.  The characters try to give you the opportunity to make decisions, to pick sides and to otherwise impact the game, but if you can actually make other decisions, I haven’t found a way to do them.

 around 7:50 Cameron's in there.

But my goodness.  Cameron makes me laugh every time.  Totally worth playing a game I’m only moderately good at for that.

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