What is it with the sheer number of remakes that are coming out this year? I’ve so far yet to play a game released this year that wasn’t a remake or a remastering with the exception of Fall Guys (and anyone who’s read my review on it will know my feelings about it) and Endzone. So here’s another one to throw onto the pile. Command and Conquer Remastered gives us a revamped version of the first 2 games in the series (Command and Conquer, and Command and Conquer: Red Alert).
Anyone who hasn’t heard of Command and Conquer obviously never played video games in the mid to late 90’s. So for those of you who were too young to remember or didn’t care for them at the time let me catch you up. Command and Conquer is a military strategy game set in an alternate history where in the early 90’s a meteor crashes near the Tiber river in Italy, on that meteorite was a substance called Tiberium (named after the crash site) which absorbed and crystallised precious metals from the surrounding soil, but in doing so terraforms the immediate area making it lethal to anyone unprotected. The coming of the meteorite was predicted by the mysterious, messianic leader of the cult The Brotherhood of Nod (Nod for short) known only as Kane, who’s followers proceed to harvest the crystals to fund the cult. By 1995 Tiberium has spread all across the planet and Nod forces control about half the worlds supply and through it’s sale amassed a global army. This rapid growth and power grab causes the UN to establish the Global Defence Initiative (GDI), a global military tasked with controlling the spread of Tiberium and to oppose the actions of Nod. Red Alert takes place in an alternate alternate history when experimenting at the Trinity site, New Mexico in 1946, Albert Einstein manages to successfully travel backwards through spacetime, arriving at Landsberg Prison, Germany in 1922 where a young Adolf Hitler was just release from prison. Einstein erases Hitler from the time line and returns to 1946. This causes the growth of the Soviet Union to go unchecked leading to global conflict with the allied forces of western Europe.
Both of these games were solid staples of my early video gaming life. I spoke briefly in my Dynasty Warriors post that I used to really enjoy linking our 2 Playstations together and playing Red Alert co-op. I also remember going to my friends house some times afterschool where we would play 1 of 3 games, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil and Command & Conquer. So it’s safe to say that there is a fair amount of nostalgia floating about when I write this review.
On the subject of nostalgia, that seems to be the games biggest selling point given that they are exactly the same games with optional graphic upgrades as pressing the space bar switches between original and remastered graphics; However, I can’t imagine why you’d want to keep playing the game set on the original graphics since it just looks like coloured squares making other coloured squares explode into bits of coloured squares. The remastered graphics certainly make the game playable in a modern era but they are hardly anything special. Gameplay wise there is no difference what so ever, given that both games were remade using the same engine as the originals it’s easy to understand why this is. There are also a tonne of bonus unlockables for completing each mission, such as behind the scenes footage or bonus art work. I can imagine that this is mainly for the hard-core fan and that most players will give a miss. The music is the biggest improvement for me. All tracks from both games have been re-recorded by Frank Klepacki (the original composer) and the fan band The Tiberium Sons, as well as some songs from later games and some that were cut or lost from the original games.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from these games when I first heard about the Remastering. I went into the game hoping for the same feelings of nostalgia I got when I originally played them all those years ago, sadly however it just wasn’t there. As much as it upsets me to say it, the years have not been kind to the original games and sadly they just don’t hold up to modern military strategy games. They feel a bit basic and simplistic. In writing this review it’s come to me that I preferred Red Alert 2 to the original games. The story campaign was much better, it was far superior graphically and the gameplay was much more varied with a larger array of units and team perks allowing for different strategies. Most importantly however, it was more fun.
Like most of the time I revisit something I enjoyed from my youth, Command & Conquer Remastered doesn’t hold up to the place that I gave the original. The game feels that it has been released far too late to be relevant (a lot like most of my reviews). The industry has moved on and Command & Conquer feels like a bit of a dinosaur now. Maybe if the game was rebuilt from the ground up in more of a modern style (like FFVII:Remake) rather than the old game with a fresh coat of paint and a few bells and whistles stapled to the side I could get into it, C&C Remastered however is a little late to the party. It’s been 10 years since the last main title C&C game and 25 years since the original game was released. You ask me this is nothing short of a money grab in the name of nostalgia, then again would you expect anything else from EA?