For those who had already played Dune 2, the first Command & Conquer, released in 1995, was a natural evolution of the concepts implemented in the game that laid the foundations for the modern RTS games (real time strategy). And for those who didn’t play Dun 2, Command & Conquer was the initial (and determining) impulse to become fans of the genre. Years passed and the series saw the release of numerous games and expansion packs, if we include the Red Alert and Generals spin-offs. Released in February 2006, the Command & Conquer First Decade compilation served as a reminder to the fans of the C&C series and everyone else that Electronic Arts was preparing to release a new title of the Tiberium series, initially called Tiberium Twilight – the first C&C is known as Tiberian Dawn while the sequel was named Tiberian Sun.
Eventually titled Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, this third title of the Tiberium series was developed with the idea of keeping the trademarks of the series while implementing newer RTS features which had become standard in the genre over the years. As expected, this approach couldn’t please everyone. Some players wanted the same gameplay but with 2007 graphics while others demanded a solid game, with the best features the RTS genre had to offer, even if it meant the loss of some of the series trademarks, which didn’t age so well. Overall, EA did a good job, but Tiberium Wars is still lacking regarding some aspects which could have been implemented, since it wouldn’t have interfered with the established concepts of the series.
One of the inspired decisions made by the designers was to use the newest version of the SAGE engine, used for the first time for Command & Conquer Generals (and its add-on, Zero Hour) and subsequently for all the titles in the Battle for Middle Earth series. As a result, Tiberium Wars runs almost flawlessly even on single-core systems with video cards such as the 6800GT, requiring some visual detail sacrifices when you play on large maps, whether in single or multiplayer. Despite this, the game’s framerate is capped at 30 fps, to prevent certain game speed issues from arising, specific to every SAGE based game released so far. On the other hand, the game speed can be set in the skirmish or multiplayer battles, but not in single-player, unlike the other titles of the C&C series. This aspect further underlines the producers’ desire that the single-player mode should be considered as an extensive training stage, as well as a chance to see Tiberium Wars’ story unfold, since the game has already been included on the official games list for World Cyber Games 2007.
I won’t delve into story details, because it would be a shame not to let you discover it for yourself, but in the established tradition of the series, it’s full of cinematic sequences, which are a combination of live action and CGI. Thanks to High Definition recording, these Full Motion Videos are one of the main reasons for completing the single-player campaigns, especially since EA pulled out all the stops and enlisted actors such as Billy Dee Williams, Michael Ironside, Tricia Helfer and the one and only Joe Kuchan. However, in some scenes it’s clear that the actors are filming in front of a CGI sequence.