This is a browser based game and is free to play. My review of it will be more along the lines of, is it worth playing at all, as opposed to, is it worth buying or spending money on. Understand that whatever my conclusion is, it is entirely based on the time investment in the game and the kind of fun and results you can get. Anyway, moving on.
History of the Command and Conquer Series
A lot of the early successful RTS franchises were those that really saw Dune for the PC as something unique and interesting. Blizzard Entertainment jumped on it immediately and made a cartoony orcs and humans game.
Westwood Studios on the other hand saw the Dune atmosphere as perfect. Westwood created Command and Conquer and started the Tiberian Wars. In this game you could either play as The Global Defense Initiative or The Brotherhood of Nod. The game was a smashing success.
So much so that Westwood decided to pimp out the name Command and Conquer into a new franchises, Red Alert. Red Alert is a historical revisionist game in which Stalin goes back in time and kills off Hitler. Without Hitler The USSR is able to create a far more massive army and is able to go to war with Europe and America. This off shoot series would prove to be a massive success having two sequels all revolving around the idea of time manipulation.
In the second of the series a mind bending profession takes over the USSR and uses this new power to make a direct invasion of the United States of America lead of course by none other than David Hasselhoff (THE HOFF).
In the third of the series (and most recent Command and Conquer game) Red Alert 3 sees another time manipulation as two generals of the USSR go back in time with a scientist and assassinate Albert Einstein who of course invented nuclear weapons hence toppling the massive American advantage. The final game in this series was star studded with Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) as the Russian Premier, Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies/Pirates of the Caribbean) as The British PM, JK Simmons as the US President, George Takei as the Japanese Emperor, Jenny McCarthy as Tanya, and Peter Stromare (Armageddon) as the scientist.
A second off shoot series was created called “Generals.” Generals would emphasize real world command and conquer decisions. The game was split into three factions. These three factions were all unique including one that was a terrorist faction. It is always kind of interesting to see a suicide bomber take out a tank…. or a player retaliate with nukes. A second Generals game is on the horizon with an expected 2013 launch.
Westwood Studios successes were not ignored. In 1998 Electronic Arts acquired the studio outright interested in developing the Command and Conquer intellectual property to it’s fullest. EA expanded the Tiberiun Sun story further by creating a large collection of Tiberiun Sun games, including a first person shooter called Renegade. EA published three more Tiberiun Sun games Command and Conquer 2, 3, and 4.
However people were growing less and less fond of RTS games and so the RTS machine slowed down… everywhere. For years RTS games were considered niche and few people were making them. That’s why the release of Command and Conquer Generals 2 for 2013 is kind of odd.
On top of that Electronic Arts setup a new studio called Bioware Victory specifically for development of Command and Conquer games. This means Command and Conquer is here to stay.
And with a good decision it was. The launch of Starcraft 2 proved there was an RTS audience out there in a big way.
In 2011 EA announced they were putting out a free to play Command and Conquer browser game. And in 2012… it is open beta… which means it is basically done.
For a browser based game it is more complicated than you might expect. Most browser based games take the original game and cut it to pieces and make it into some really simply game. Although that is most definitely true about the combat it is not true about macro, as in making units out of resources.
The game has three resources: Ore, Crystals and Power. This combination of three elements will create a large number of structures and units.
The game is time based so you will get a certain amount of these resources over time. If you are really impatient though you can sit there and click on little blocks to get bonus amounts of the material. The bonus amounts can effectively double your output.
You will gather resources from your little segment of the map. You will be able to gather them faster by laying down more gatherers and upgrading those gatherers. As it seems you are entirely limited to your set territory, however your territory can expand depending on your victories.
Your construction yard is the source of all of your buildings. In order to build more buildings you will have to upgrade your construction yard to free up more construction slots. As well you can upgrade your harvesters (and powerplants) so that you will get more resources out of them per hour.
Where you go with your construction slots is up to you. However there is a matter of balance. If you do not make enough units you will just die to other players. If you do not make enough attacking units you will not go anywhere. If you do not have enough harvesters you will not be able to make insanely high amounts of units.
Your city will level as you upgrade and place buildings. The higher level you become the more vulnerable you are to attack.
The game features a tutorial that will show you exactly how everything works and set you up to not get stomped immediately. If you do the tutorial you will also get bonuses starting off.
On top of the tutorial there are also missions. By completing missions you will gain bonus resources which you can do to expand even further. An example mission might be to attack an AI controlled camp 10 times or to upgrade your buildings to Level 5.
A battle is composed of an attacker and a defender. The defender places his defenses in a line. There are defenses to block shots, slow down approaches or attack. This acts more like a tower defense than a traditional RTS game.
An attacker will get four waves to destroy you. Each wave a group of units will move in a line of six. You need a defense for every single part of that line or you will lose. Defenses are generally stronger than attacking units so a player will not be forced into turtle and will not have to expect four super powerful waves every single time.
The game most definitely gives high rewards for making alliances, hence the social factor. By making alliances you can attack a single target with better ease. As well this also gives you an avenue to easier defend yourself as you will have to worry less about the people around you or alternatively the people around you will have to worry too much about being attacked to actually attack.
- Low Time Investment
- Thoughtful Design
- Not Really Command and Conquer
- No Strategy
I think the biggest weakness of the game is more about marketing than the game itself. It is called “Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances” but honestly it has little to nothing to do with the Command and Conquer series. I know Renegade is a first person shooter… but you can tell it is in the Tiberium Sun world. It is not really all that clear what this is. The only semblance it has to Command and Conquer is actually to the original Command and Conquer.
Here is a screenshot of the original game:
The UI doesn’t look all that familiar to this and neither does the gameplay. They have used the Command and Conquer franchise name to try and attract people to this title… but honestly who are they going to get? RTS players will not want to play this game. The people who are more likely to like this are people who play Tower Defense puzzle games.
The other major problem with the game is that there really isn’t much of a strategy to the game. It rewards people for playing it a lot (which it should) and rewards players for making alliances (which it should). The problem here is that it is really not going to attract new players to casual games.
Without strategy unfortunately the game is less fun and more social. It falls into a similar paradigm as most MMOs which are really not all that fun and more time consuming. If you’re not constantly playing your base will get sniped in a battle very quickly and you will be forced to start over time and time again.
This is a very solid casual game. I think it is a little harder to really give a recommendation on a casual game without the tag line of “understand what you are getting into.” This is not a game that will compete with client based games by any means.
What it is… is better than Farmville, Civilization Facebook, Cityville, Sims Facebook, and most of the other big browser based games. It is not as good as Battlestar Galactica Online but it is not too far from it. It is what I would call an exceptional casual browser based game.