Apart from work, the few days since I returned from London have been dominated by Command & Conquer: Generals, which I bought last Friday. This is the latest in the C&C family, and the first version based on a 3D graphics engine, which looks stunning. I don’t buy many games, but this was a no-brainer.
The storylines are simpler than previous versions, but it’s all the better for that. You can play as one of three factions: the USA, China, and a terrorist group called the Global Liberation Alliance (GLA). All three have bizarre and surreal elements to their organizations and weapons, especially the GLA, whose “weapons” include car bombs and angry mobs – controversial, given the current political climate.
I’ve been trying to work my skills up in a logical order, so I’ve been playing as the Chinese so far. They have their weaknesses, but they also have nuclear weapons, complete with gleeful operators passing comments like “I am the bringer of light”! More fun is had with the hackers and the Propaganda organization – apparently, troops can be harangued into healing themselves and shooting straighter. I’m also getting a lot of use from aircraft in “combat air patrol” mode – great for taking out enemies before they get near you, as long as they’re not missile-armed.
The graphics are quite astonishing, yet still very playable at the high resolution of my laptop screen (1400×1050). The engine models most things in the environment, from people and trees (neither of which can withstand tanks very well), to flowing water, and explosions from hand grenades to tactical nukes. If I can talk a few more people into buying it, we may have a few network matches in the near future.