After being announced, the new Command & Conquer went quiet, sort of under wraps for a while, but at E3, the game came roaring out with a playable demo, and a new trailer as part of the lineup at EA's booth on the floor. I was able to get hands-on with the E3 demo of Command & Conquer and gather some impressions.
Our E3 demo presentation began with the recently-released E3 trailer, which focuses on the game's generals. Since Victory has revealed that this first installment in the life of C&C as a live service will draw from Generals, this focus is entirely unsurprising. The trailer features the current lineup of generals in the game that you can choose from, each with his or her own special abilities and brand of trash talking. It sets up the personalities for when you do get a shot at playing the game.
Command & Conquer will feature three factions – The European Union, Asia-Pacific Alliance, and the Global Liberation Army. This game's GLA is a more diverse one, with an aim to make it more of a global force. The roster of generals is set to keep growing after launch, as the game will be a free to play live service for the first time. There is the upside of player feedback, and a vow to work with the community and listen to what players want, both from stats in game and the old fashioned expression of opinions on features and decisions. While this may make some of you skeptical, the way Victory is creating the game just might convince you this is worth a shot.
The generals each have their own abilities that will open up as you build more and rack up experience that way. Generals also have a specialty, and as I'm fond of rockets and things like orbital strikes, I chose to try out Red Arrow.
Some of us in the room got to try single player against the AI, while myself and another pair got to team up in co-op. The slice of a level we were able to play through already had the basics set up, as well as funding and resources to build more. Obviously, when the game launches, you'll start from scratch, but this demo worked in a standard way since we had limited time. It was our job to build up our forces and assemble our units to hold off several waves of enemies, while advancing upon our ultimate target, the enemy stronghold on the other end. I can say that the feel is here when it comes to the basic game. There are some tips and inspirations to modern gameplay, but if you're going to make a C&C game after this long, it should capture C&C. This is another reason why Victory Games is made up of people who have worked on C&C and other RTSes, as well as those with a real love for strategy in general.
After upgrading my buildings a couple of times, I grouped up a couple of squads and set out to battle the enemy side. My co-op companion and I built up an abundance of tanks, turrets, and infantry and we were more than good to go. As you build, a bar under your abilities will fill up, and new abilities will progressively unlock. Seems that this will be per general, so it will make the game even more replayable, as well as enabling experimentation with different styles to find what you enjoy most.
As for the game, the first thing to notice is how good it looks. Frostbite 2 might have seemed an unusual choice for an RTS, but get in there and blow up a few buildings. They have real weight to them, and nevermind unleashing that controlled destruction is fun to watch. The higher quality, detailed graphics bring the 'Go big or go home' adage to mind, with the return of C&C intended to last for some time. The demo was just a taste of what to expect in the game, but with a beta set to roll out sometime in the summer, and release this year, we should be seeing more soon.
Be sure to also check out our chat with lead designer Sam Bass about what players can expect frm C&C.