Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

Back in 1995, Westwood Studios released its seminal masterpiece, the original Command & Conquer. The real-time strategy genre has evolved considerably since those days, but the memory of the original C&C still lives on, periodically refreshed by a new iteration in the series.

The latest of these is the third--and final--installment in the Tiberium trilogy that was begun all those years ago. It's been a long wait, but it has been worth it. The developers at EA Los Angles have pulled out all the stops for C&C3, delivering an immensely satisfying experience that serves as a perfect endnote for the legendary series.

Going Down in History

The story behind Tiberium Wars should already be familiar to fans of the previous games, but let me recap it anyway: With the supposed death of NOD leader Kane at the end of Tiberium Dawn, the world enters a twenty year period of relative calm. The growth of tiberium has now become the most significant threat to humanity--over thirty percent of the globe has become uninhabitable red zones, with a further fifty percent largely damaged, leaving a scant thirty percent relatively intact and hospitable.

The Global Defense Initiative, having won the Second Tiberium War, begins to focus heavily on eliminating this growing threat, and by the year 2047 has carved out several safe zones. NOD on the other hand has kept itself busy with military matters, beginning the game by destroying the space station Philadelphia with a nuclear strike and launching a planetary wide assault against GDI forces. This is just the start of Kane's latest plan, involving the extraterrestrial origins of tiberium and the mysterious third faction known as the Scrin.

That's a lot to take in, but even gamers who aren't diehard fans will appreciate C&C3's story, if only because it's told through the series' trademark FMV cut-scenes. Best of all, EA recruited some major talent that includes the likes of Michael Ironsides, Grace Park, Tricia Helfer, and Jennifer Morrison. But, of course, the biggest draw is the return of Joseph Kucan, who once again reprises his role of the charismatic NOD leader, Kane.

Take Command

As you'd expect from the impressive backdrop, Tiberium Wars has plenty of gameplay to go around. There are three absolutely epic campaigns, each from the viewpoint of one of the factions, with roughly forty missions in all. Likewise, the action takes place throughout much of the world, with missions occurring in the United States, Egypt, Brazil, Australia, Germany, and Italy, just to name a few locales.

The missions all follow the same old formula of build a base, collect resources, start cranking out units and rush the enemy until victory is assured. It's pretty standard fare, but the game never becomes tedious or overly repetitive thanks to its dynamic feel. Each mission has several main objectives, but there are also several secondary objectives that can help ease the burden of overcoming your foes. Completing secondary objectives also has the notable result of often providing you with new intelligence briefings and the occasional in-mission cutscene, which really helps flesh out the game's story.

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