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The Command & Conquer series began with the video game Command & Conquer, released on August 31, 1995, and it is widely considered as the title which originally defined and popularized the real-time strategy genre.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Command & Conquer introduced the warring factions of the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and the Brotherhood of Nod. Command & Conquer was well received and was widely praised by critics: "Command & Conquer is one of the finest, most brilliantly-designed computer games I have ever seen" said GameSpot reviewer Chris Hudak. Command & Conquer has attained 94% as an aggregate score from Metacritic[7] with the less well received Covert Operations expansion pack obtaining an aggregate score of 72% after its 1996 release.[8]

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, released August 27, 1999, takes place approximately 30 years after the events in its predecessor. While the original Command & Conquer plot was centered around an allegorical world politics setting, Tiberian Sun shifted this to a more sci-fi-like setting against the apocalyptic background of Tiberium beginning to assimilate vast portions of the Earth's ecosystems. In 1998 Westwood Studios, the developers of Tiberian Sun was acquired by Electronic Arts, however EA had no direct part in the development of the title. Compared to its predecessor, Tiberian Sun relies heavily on science fiction technologies, and introduces a new isometric game engine featuring varying level terrain to give the impression of a true 3D environment.

The full motion video is also scripted differently; while the cutscenes of Command & Conquer and Red Alert were filmed from a first-person perspective, Tiberian Sun used traditional cinematic shots for its FMVs featuring well known Hollywood actors such as James Earl Jones of the original Star Wars trilogy and Michael Biehn of Terminator and Aliens.

Tiberian Sun was not as well received as Command & Conquer with an aggregate score of 80% and 73% for the title and its expansion pack, Firestorm, respectively. However the solid storyline, new concepts, more realistic graphics, atmospheric soundtrack and traditional gameplay were praised by critics, making up for its weaknesses.

Command & Conquer: Renegade, released February 26, 2002, takes place in the final days of the events of Command & Conquer and was the last Command & Conquer game to be created by Westwood Studios before their liquidation in 2003. Unlike any other games in the series Renegade is a first person shooter[9] giving players their only chance to see the Command & Conquer universe from a first person perspective. Although receiving average reviews, with an aggregate score of 75% on both Game Rankings and Metacritic, Renegade was praised for its online features: GameSpy awarded Renegade its 2002 "Wish it had been better" award, condemning the single player but saying that "C&C: Renegade's multiplayer was innovative and fun".[10] Many reviewers especially liked how online play encouraged teamwork and coordinated assaults unlike other first-person shooters.[11]

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, released March 29, 2007, was a return to the real-time strategy roots of the Command & Conquer series. As a direct sequel to Tiberian Sun, Tiberium Wars is set approximately 17 years after the events of Tiberian Sun and features the introduction of a third faction, the Scrin. The sequel was highly anticipated by fans and critics alike and attained an aggregate score of 85% from both Game Rankings and Metacritic. PC Gamer U.S. gave the game its "Editor's Choice" rating at 90%, stating that "One of the greatest RTS franchises of all time returns to glory", while PC Gamer UK gave it a more reserved rating of 82%, stating that it was "A welcome, but limited, return."

Shortly after the release of Tiberian Wars an expansion pack, Kane's Wrath was announced. Released on March 24, 2008, Kane's Wrath limited the player to only the Brotherhood of Nod in the campaign mode, though the original factions and six new sub-factions are available for the new strategic mode and skirmish mode. Reception was mainly positive with the expansion attaining an aggregate score of 77%.

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, released on March 16, 2010, sees a big change in gameplay from the previous Command & Conquer by removing the resource gathering and base building elements in previous games as well as the removal of the third faction, the Scrin. It is a direct sequel to Kane's Wrath (however not directly following on from its storyline), and is set 10 years after the games' final events, a time when Tiberium has advanced to its next evolutionary stage, and is rapidly spreading across Earth, making it soon to be uninhabitable for humanity. The only positive comments were aimed at the multi-player mode; the main criticisms were the problematic control scheme, the departure from the traditional Command & Conquer basics, the fact that the game seemed more adapted for multi-player rather than solo play, the short campaign and the troublesome unlock system.

References

  1. Paul Mallinson (2002-05-31). Games that changed the world: Command & Conquer. CVG magazine. Retrieved on 2006-12-22
  2. Will Porter. Command & Conquer - Origins. Computerandvideogames staff. Retrieved on 2008-05-29
  3. Command & Conquer. Metracritic. Retrieved on 2007-04-25
  4. Dan Adams (2006-04-07). The State of the RTS. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-05-22
  5. Bruce Geryk. A History of Real-Time Stategy Games. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-05-22
  6. Mark H. Walker. Strategy Gaming: Part II. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2008-05-22
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CNC1MC
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CNC1GR
  9. Command and conquer:Renegade, on IGN.
  10. GameSpy's Game of the year awards 2002. GameSpy (2002). Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  11. Game Over Online Magazine - Command & Conquer: Renegade. Game Over Online Magazine (April 9, 2002). Retrieved on 2009-08-12

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