Saturday, August 8

Command and Conquer 95 and Remaster Review

I played on: PC
I paid: £17.99 for the Remaster, £7 for the First Decade Collection
Available on: PC
Notes: So I was planning on reviewing both the original C&C95 and the Remaster collection separately but the more I played the two the more it made sense to do them together like this. So yeah, my first double review, YAY?!

Westwood is the company that really started the Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) genre with its adaptation of Dune in 1992. While Dune 2 can be credited with being the first RTS it’s Command and Conquer (later called Tiberian Dawn or C&C95) that took the foundation and really built an amazing game on top of it. I remember playing C&C95 as a kid and utterly failing to understand the Strategy to it and so never really got into until I was teen. But now as an adult, I’ve found a much deeper love for this game and its remaster!

For those of you unaware of what an RTS is then, well, it’s a game where you control a group of soldiers and/or a base. You have to micro-manage your soldiers as well as gathering resources to expand and maintain your base. Over time you will build up a decent number of military soldiers and vehicles to attack your opponent. The trick is to manage both your units and your base’s expansion simultaneously. This is a balance that you will have to master to make it far into either one of the 2 campaigns. Which brings me to the story and lore of C&C95.

So, Command and Conquer have 3 separate universes, the Tiberian universe (this one), the Red Alert universe, and the Generals universe. During the ’90s in this universe, a meteoroid crashed into Earth, Italy to be precise and a strange alien mineral started to grow from it. This mineral is called Tiberian and it absorbs all the nutrients from the surrounding environment. Because of this, it’s an amazing energy and fuel resource unlike anything else on Earth. It quickly starts to spread around the world and two rival factions rise to battle for both Tiberian and the fate of the world. You have the UN-backed GDI born from the victorious allies of WW2 and the Brotherhood of Nod, a strange cult headed by a man only known as Kane. This story is told via FMVs and they are amazing! It’s such a shame this type of storytelling has gone out of fashion in gaming. While honestly, everyone in these cutscenes is damn near perfectly cheesy it’s Joseph D. Kucan as Kane that steals the show. This villain would go on to be in nearly every other game in the Tiberian universe and his clear love, passion, and cheese in this role are why. The quality of these cutscenes suffers in the original 95 release and while they are still watchable the remaster makes them crystal clear in both picture and sound.

In terms of gameplay, the original really falls behind by lacking features that would become obvious in later RTS games. Things like being able to queue units and vehicles in the sidebar so that a certain number of them will be built. Having to manually build each tank or infantry unit really distracts from the rest of the game leading to an unfair feeling difficulty. This is completely absent during the remaster allowing for a much fairer feeling experience. Talking of difficulty, you can now choose between easy, medium, and hard difficulties for campaign missions. Such a simple addition makes this remaster much more assessable for both players new to the genre or gamers unfamiliar to this era of it. And then you have Skirmish mode which sets you up on a map of your choosing with up to 3 AI opponents or allies. This is a mode I love and was shocked to find missing from the original 95 version. Missing this vital component really takes away from the original’s longevity. Honestly this my biggest single issue with the original game.

Lastly, we have to talk about presentation which is both visual and audible. Similar to remakes like Halo 1 & 2 anniversary you're able to switch between the original and the remastered graphics. This really shines a light on just how much better this game looks now while still feeling perfectly familiar. The colors, designs, and just aesthetic is spot on to the original game now just looking much more detailed with a higher resolution. In a similar fashion, the sound design on everything from the music to the voice-overs has been remastered.

In short, the biggest issue with this remaster is that by comparison the original is now completely obsolete. This is why I decided to review both the original and the remaster together. Because I’m going to give the 95 release of Command and Conquer a 2 out of 10 but not because it’s a bad game, because the remaster is so good. The remaster is going to get a 10 out of 10, a perfect score because this game is just that good. All of the charm, tactics, style, and overall appeal that launched the entire RTS genre updated with the ease of play, graphics, and improvements that the genre gained over the 25 years since the original. Unless you’re curious about how dated the classic version feels there is truly no reason to play it over this outstanding remaster!

C&C 95 Recommendation Rating: 2 out of 10

C&C Remaster Recommendation Rating: 10 out of 10

No comments:

Post a Comment