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Command and Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath Review

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Developer: EA Los Angeles Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: June 24, 2008 Also On: PC and Xbox 360

A year after the rebirth of the legendary strategy franchise Command and Conquer, EA is at it again with an expansion pack. Known as Kane’s Wrath, it was released for the PC in March 2008 and on Xbox 360 in July 2008. It takes place directly after the events of the first game and focuses players on Nod and its radical leader Kane. With a number of single-player modes and online multi-player, is Kane’s Wrath a worthy follow-up to Command and Conquer 3?

Unlike computer expansion packs, Kane’s Wrath for the Xbox 360 does not require the original game in order to play it. It also has the added benefit of being a discounted game, retailing for $40 instead of the usual $60. There certainly is a lot less content than what we got with Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars last year, considering you could play as three different groups in the single-player of Tiberium Wars. Nonetheless, they were sure to make sure there is plenty to keep you busy.

Starting with the single-player campaign, Kane’s Wrath will offer up thirteen levels for gamers, each with three difficulty settings. For those familiar with the Command and Conquer universe, all of the storyline is done in live action video. It adds a certain level of cheesiness and comedy as it always has throughout the history of the franchise. You play as a commander in the Nod military.

The assumption of many is that Kane is dead, resulting in a splintering within Nod sects. It will be your job early on to reunify the Brotherhood and once again establish Kane as the unquestioned prophet. That’s not to say that GDI and the new alien race introduced in Tiberium Wars don’t play a role in the story or gameplay. You will oddly enough be fighting against all three (including the rogue Nod factions).

If you are not well versed in Command and Conquer’s history, GDI are the “good” guys, a group of allied nations meant to protect Earth and its citizens. The Brotherhood of Nod is a military, political and religious sect that is headed by Kane, a self-appointed prophet. The Brotherhood worships Tiberium, which acts as a currency source for the harvesters in the game. The aliens are sort of the Protoss of Command and Conquer.

There are two other game modes offered in the single-player campaign. One is the traditional Skirmish that you come to expect in most real-time strategy games. The other is a mix between the Campaign and Skirmish called Kane’s Challenge. Essentially it is a set of ten different missions for you to complete. There are nine different groups you can select, three of which are each affiliated with Nod, GDI or the alien race. The missions don’t change, but you can play through as the different groups for a total of 90 potential Kane’s Challenge combinations.

As far as gameplay is concerned, depending on the mode you choose, it will range from destroying the enemy base to escorting an important person out of the area. The campaign mode largely involves building up your own base with traditional Command and Conquer structures such as the Hand of Nod (barracks), War Factory, etc. Each building uses power and will require power plants to operate. Low priority buildings like the Tech Lab lose power before high priority buildings like the War Factory.

Units should look familiar to anyone that played Tiberium Wars. You have infantry, rockets and heavy infantry units, as well as light tanks, stealth tanks, flame tanks and so on. You also have air units, such as venom aircraft and bombers, which can be particularly devastating on enemy bases. There is a Tanya-like character, known as the Commando, who can kill most units in one hit and buildings with her bomb. There are also stealth units, gliding units and so on.

An obvious topic of interest for a game like this is the control system. Remarkably, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars controlled well on the Xbox 360. Kane’s Wrath is no exception, although analog sticks are still not a substitute for the keyboard and mouse. Selecting units is done by hovering over them and pressing A. Double tapping A will select every unit of that type on the screen. Pressing the left trigger and then A selects every unit on the screen. You move the camera with the left analog stick and zoom in/out with the right analog stick, as well as change angles.

Now, to answer the question from earlier in this review, “is Kane’s Wrath a worthy follow-up to Command and Conquer 3?” The answer is definitely a yes. With a large number of single-player campaign missions, an offline Skirmish mode, Kane’s Challenge and online multi-player, you should definitely get your $40 bucks worth from this package. The storyline won’t give Hollywood a run for its money, and it will likely confuse you if you have never played a Command and Conquer game before, but who plays strategy games for story anyway? The budget price makes this an easy choice for strategy fans, but buy the PC version if you have a high-end computer as the mouse and keyboard are preferable to a controller.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.1
Written by Kyle Review Guide