Command & Conquer Generals


posted 2/19/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
Real-Time Strategy games, as it seems, are a dime a dozen nowadays. Actually upon reflection, it’s a very fitting analogy for a genre that has become rather stale in recent years. For every Warcraft III there are ten Highland Warriors and for every Europa 1400 The Guild there are fifteen Platoons. It’s a genre that has been dealt a cruel hand due to the Johnny Come Latelys who have made it their duty to drown the genre with their shallowness.

Then something happened.

The founding fathers of the genre decided that enough desecration has taken place and that it was their duty to restore the genre to its former glory. Thus we have Command & Conquer: Generals, the latest and perhaps greatest entry into the storied franchise.

Gee, I wonder who's going to win...

Numerous changes have been made to the classic formula yet the core gameplay remains unchanged. Build a base, provide it with ample defenses, gather resources and build a better army than your opponent. It’s strategy gaming that is basic to the core yet for some reason, it feels remarkably fresh in this forum. Maybe it’s because the game received a much needed facelift or perhaps it’s the designers’ decision to abandon the FMV cutscenes and focus more on the core gameplay. We can’t quite put our fingers on it but whatever it is, it’s a miracle worker.

The game unfurls over a span of three campaigns which while well-produced, are painfully short. Each of them consists of only seven missions apiece and to make matters worse, the first five or so often feel like filler material for the latter missions. There’s still a lot of fun to be had here, however, as completing the missions never quite feels like a chore. Mission objectives range from small things like destroying enemy bases and compounds to protecting a convoy of friendly troops from enemy fire. There’s enough variety here to keep the game from becoming too repetitive and unpleasant, a downfall of the majority of today’s RTSs.
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