The RTS genre, real-time strategy, was born between 1992 and 1995. The first date, December 1992, was actually when Westwood released Dune II, the very first representative of the genre and a huge critical and commercial success. But that was the series Order and conquest, also directed by Westwood, to take advantage of the success of the formula and highlight the RTS genre, precisely with the first episode released in 1995.
Compared to Dune II, Command & Conquer broke new ground by creating a new IP address, entering skirmish mode, improving the quality of graphics (both computer graphics and actual gameplay) and pushing the accelerator by considering the variety and number of buildings and units available. After playing a lot of Command & Conquer and Red Alert (more), the memory of the astonishment at innovation and quality is particularly vivid in our memory.
The genre continued its path with hybridizations, different themes and in general a discreet liveliness that characterizes it to this day. Many clips of the gameplay created by Westwood remain stable in the genre, and it’s a testament to the power and quality of the original ideas from the Las Vegas studio. Although the series has continued its path with alternate fortunes (and with a quality not always up to par), the name “Command & Conquer” retains its charm and evocative power intact, especially in the minds of older players. . “.
It is therefore with a certain enthusiasm that we have welcomed this Remastered Collection whose premises are decidedly interesting. In fact, this version includes the first two titles in the series, Command & Conquer Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert, with all expansions released for consoles, for a total of over 100 missions (spread across five campaigns). The graphics have been upgraded to 4K, and you can quickly switch between the original and remastered graphics by just pressing the space bar. The music has also been remastered and the game now includes seven hours of music and a few new songs re-recorded live for the occasion.
Among other things, there are 250 maps for the multiplayer modes and four hours of ‘behind the scenes’ in the form of discarded recordings, rehearsals, nonsense and a whole series of tasty performances from the actors of the series in front of the green screen. .
The list of improvements and additions is particularly long (you can find it on the Steam page) and all together they create an absolute quality remastered version in which the gaming experience fully respects modern canons (tooltip, user interface reorganized, mod support), voiceover and localizations in different languages - but not in Italian -). This release will be spoiled for choice in terms of the modes available and is honestly a joy to fans for the care that goes into all the details and upgrades, big and small.
The gaming experience is the original. Campaigns include a series of almost linear missions (sometimes it is possible to choose between alternative scenarios) which are presented to us through computer graphics interludes and live images with real players. Needless to say, the CG is very old and particularly flat, 25 years have passed and everyone is feeling.
What has not aged is the delicious trash of footage shot with actors engaged in performances that are always exaggerated bordering on ridiculousness seasoned with cold war stereotypes of the 90s. The mix of historical and fictional characters always arouses great hilarity: Kane, Stalin, Einstein, Tanya, General Carvell are just a few of the unforgettable personalities the series has brought together to create some very unlikely cold war scenarios but extremely enjoyable in their naive theatricality.
After the absurd drama of the introduction, you descend back down to the battlefield (accompanied by the show’s splendid pressing music) and this is where you have to worry a little about the reality of the years that go by. The missions of the campaigns are indeed, as mentioned, the originals and the gameplay, it is said with some difficulty, has not aged well.
The simplicity of the experience is intimidating, and the dynamics are grim and downright boring. If you’ve been following the evolution of the genre, you can’t help but notice how trivial the exercise of collecting a resource, constructing buildings, and producing different units seems today, just to throw them away. on the enemy. The formula has been perfected by titles such as Starcraft and enriched with additional nuances and mechanics; a good RTS today is something very different from 25 years ago.
The same goes for missions where there is no management of your base … moving your units around seeing the fog of war and the hidden enemies is a trial and error exercise in which you don’t. You just have to start the mission again after learning the map layout.
The thing is toned down in multiplayer and skirmish modes, as human unpredictability gives extra emotions and “tough” AI makes life difficult and requires you to be efficient and disciplined in planning a battle plan and carrying it out precisely. .
So the campaign loop is pretty underwhelming, only helped by the fact that by proceeding you unlock the fantastic blooper gallery and “behind the scenes” footage. This was, for us, the most powerful motivational trigger that pushed us to tackle even the most boring and repetitive campaign missions. This is especially true of the first game, Command & Conquer, which has particularly bland gameplay, while Red Alert, which pushed a lot on new units and abilities at the time, offers even more burst of fun.
In short, this remastered version is the best version we can play today of two historic titles in the RTS genre. The content is stellar and plentiful, and if you’re a fan of the show, you can’t help but buy. However, you have to consider that if the “memories” value of this title is very high, the gameplay value is much lower, especially if you have no friends to challenge (and with whom to share the good memories of the past. ) and if you want to focus only on the campaign.
Time flies for everyone and it is our reworked and direct experience that softens the memory by painting the reality of pink. Knowledge will avoid searing disappointments by letting you enjoy a remastered version for what it is, a nostalgic operation that allows for a good dive into the past, but a little more in the gameplay department.