Command and Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath Review
Review By Steve Farrelly @ 01:43pm 27/06/08
Thereâ€™s something decidedly fun about playing the latest round of C&C titles, and it comes in the form of the more-than-over-the-top live-action acting used to tell the story. The simplistic, almost static sets with their deliberately uncomplicated lighting (red for evil, blue for good) and Captain Proton-esque design work perfectly alongside the terrible scripting and equally terrible acting. So much so, youâ€™d be forgiven for wondering if this isnâ€™t just a little deliberately tongue-in-cheek.
Unfortunately for these splinter groups, they couldnâ€™t be further from the truth as Kane is actually very much alive. Not one to come out guns a blazinâ€™ though; he has you working towards rebuilding his army by capturing leaders, technologies and units from the various turncoats floating about the decimated Earth.
One of the key aspects of any RTS is maintaining a constant vigil on everything you need to manage and micro-manage and this is best done with the keyboard and mouse combo. The ability to quickly use the mouse to select units or utilise constructed hot keys makes this style of game almost impossible to look at on an Xbox 360. That said, EA have done a pretty top-notch job with what they have and after a few missions I found myself caring less and less about a lack of free-form control.
It takes some getting used to, but for the most part controls are doubled up in groupings through the use of the controller triggers. Holding the right trigger in will bring up a command circle which can be siphoned through for various commands based on the structure or unit youâ€™re looking at. Itâ€™s daunting, especially if youâ€™re coming off the simple PC controls, but strangely comfortable given you get used to it and are likely playing the game from the comfort of a couch in your living room as opposed to a desk and chair set-up (not that thereâ€™s anything wrong with that).
Gameplay is based on tried and tested RTS rules of power, development, resource gathering, ecnomy and construction. Tiberium here is the key to building your forces and base quickly and youâ€™ll need to harvest it in order to grow. Most maps are riddled with pockets of the stuff and itâ€™s up to you to decide whether or not you want to harvest it all to build a massively powerful army or to power through as quickly as possible.
C&C3: TW had a host of big names carrying through the gameâ€™s plot. The likes of Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Splinter Cell), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) graced the screen and with Kaneâ€™s Wrath youâ€™ll see a few other big names as well (particularly Species hottie, Natasha Henstridge). As mentioned in my intro, itâ€™s all very serious in the delivery department for these actors, so much so that it feels deliberate. Iâ€™d pay to watch a true fan eat this stuff up as gospel, but for the rest of us, itâ€™s almost pure comedy (and eye-candy for Natasha).
On the multiplayer front, you can have up to four people playing across Xbox Live with full Live Vision Support (so you can act out your own version of C&C3 character direction inspired by Kane actor, Joe Kucanâ€™s over-the-top performance), and I didnâ€™t really have too many issues putting together games. Servers make a difference, so if you do pick this up on console, be sure to try and hook up with Aussies to ensure the best connection.
While Kaneâ€™s Wrath does little to break its own rule-set, and stands as not much more than extra missions and a new story in the C&C universe (and specifically on PC), it does stands as a leap forward for the genre on home-console, and with Halo Wars not too far away (weâ€™ll be seeing it next month at E3, so stay tuned for more on that) Iâ€™m feeling more and more confident it will be a competent RTS outing for the 360. It might be a bit difficult to swallow picking this up as a stand-alone game when you can just have it as an expansion on PC and have to pay full price for it on 360, but if youâ€™ve never played the series before this isnâ€™t too bad a place to start.