Normally I don’t discuss much gaming on here and when I do, I don’t make a post about a specific game, but today is a bit different. For the past week, I have felt the need to rant about the horrible death that EA is giving Command & Conquer.
Before I get into the multitude of ways that EA is killing C&C, I want to quickly address the idea of having a loyal fanbase. Like many of my friends, I have been playing C&C games since they came out around 13 years ago (give or take), and while I haven’t always agreed with every design decision, I have been loyal enough to buy the games and play them often for the great gameplay and stories. Unfortunately, EA has changed just about everything that has made C&C, C&C all of these years with the upcoming C&C 4. Gone is the gameplay that fans have been used to for over a decade to the point that many of the hardcore C&C fans that I know, and I know many of them from working in the C&C community for many years, have decided to boycott the game, myself included.
What makes this game so horrible that even fans that have been following the series for over a decade would boycott it? In short, everything. If you have played C&C at all for the past 13 years, you have a good idea of what the gameplay is like with base building, resource collecting, armies of varying units based on their strengths and weaknesses among other things like FMVs and music mainly from the awesome composer Frank Klepacki. Of that short list of things that are still going to be included in C&C 4 is just the FMVs. There will be no Frank Klepacki doing the music, no harvesting and no basebuilding. Essentially 90% of what made C&C itself, is now gone. Think those are the only changes? In the words of Billy Mays, “Wait! There is more!”
In what sounds like a move away from RTS, there is some kind of leveling system that will allow you to get new units and stuff through experience through both online and offline playing. While I will say this sounds kind of interesting, they say that there won’t be any real advantage to the units you earn, they can just compliment your strategy. To me, it sounds like a balance nightmare. The whole idea of a respawning mobile base seems to be quite dumb. How exactly are you supposed to win if the base keeps respawning at the edge of the screen? And the most annoying thing of all, an online connection is mandatory!
With gamers constantly complaining about DRM, EA has decided to scrap their traditional DRM in favor of an always online model to fight piracy. At first, I wanted to celebrate the lack of DRM until I realized that this solution is just as bad if not worse. Now, gamers will be unable to play the game if they don’t have an internet connection. Waiting for the cable guy to fix your internet connection? You won’t be playing C&C4 to pass the time. Of course if the servers ever go offline and eventually they will, you are screwed completely. They try to hide this horrible idea behind the idea that being online will allow you to get credit for the time you spend playing so that you can get upgrades to different units but in reality, it is just their way of making everybody get online so that they know if you have pirated the game. Personally, I would prefer having the DRM back over this horrible idea.
The truly sad thing about this is that we still don’t know all of the details, but as they surface in magazines, they keep getting worse and worse. The changes that they are making are a disgrace to C&C and a spitting on the grave of Westwood (The original creators of the series). I honestly think it is probably a good idea that they are saying this is the last game in the Tiberium storyline because they are screwing the game up so much in the name of attracting the casual gamer that nobody will want to purchase any future titles anyway.
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