The Command & Conquer remaster gets the treatment it deserves and gives the series the shine of the past.
in the Revue de Command & Conquer: Collection Remastered Yvo relives his first steps in the RTS genre after 25 years.
The unique atmosphere has always caught the attention of Command & Conquer. Quasi-futuristic “installers” with progressive bars and rotating logos; Kane’s exaggerated briefings, among others, where you imagine yourself in a B-movie; and the monotonous voice of EVA which regularly shares the course of events on the battlefield. Everything is cheesy, but perfectly sets the tone for what makes games so special. So, but also now. Welcome back, Commander.
Which Command & Conquer: collection remasterisée far from a half-baked facelift, the game emerges immediately. By pressing the space bar, the graphics are now changed. Units and buildings are no longer blurry objects, but now have much more detail and are therefore more recognizable. For example, you now clearly see the engineer wearing a hard hat, whereas previously you had to make this link using literally two yellow 2D sprites. In the remaster, you can even increase the resolution to 3840 × 2160 – like wearing glasses for the first time after 25 years of hyperopia.
In addition to the graphics, the remaster UI has also been revised. For Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert, the developer created a new sidebar, but one that feels old-fashioned. Aside from a paint job, the UI has also received a few functional tweaks. No need to scroll through the list of soldiers, vehicles and buildings, or click on the units one by one (including waiting time) to build: these small irritations have completely swept the builders. It might seem like trivial side issues, but the difference is in the details. It’s a relief that Electronic Arts took the community’s feedback seriously.
Then, of course, there are some wonderfully kitsch cut scenes. However, what do you do if the original cast are now retired or dead and the original source files have disappeared from the face of the earth? The team embellished the archival material using artificial intelligence. Videos with flesh-and-blood actors can still seem blurry, but it’s a great example of a remaster nonetheless. Only computer generated videos are rare, but you can ignore them like then. It’s a wonderful encounter with these legendary sequences and we quickly get lost in a fog of nostalgia.
The audio for Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection has also been reworked. Where the clatter of weapons seemed high-pitched, unit weapons now have a deeper sound. The overlay used can also be heard mainly in the soundtrack. With original and refined versions, there are over two hundred tracks to listen to. Additionally, Frank Klepacki & The Tiberian Sons have entered the studio, giving you an additional studio version of the iconic titles Act of Instinct and Hell March. In the Jukebox, you can easily create a playlist that lets you break into the enemy base as usual under drums and guitar squeaks. Top notch fan service.
Unlike the audiovisual renovation, the gameplay has remained virtually intact. An alternate timeline in modern history is all about collecting resources, building a base, and building an army until the time comes to ruthlessly wipe your opponent off the map. The classic RTS gameplay clearly hasn’t lost its luster. However, what has also been carried over from the past is artificial intelligence, sometimes worthy of unitary grids. Think about logistical mistakes or ignoring enemy troops attacking you. These are small imperfections, however, a strong transfer.
When you’ve gotten through the fifty hours of campaign missions in Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert, the collection offers you even more. Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection also includes The Covert Operations, Counterstrike, and Aftermath expansions. In addition, there is the offline Skirmish mode and the online multiplayer mode in which you can fight countless battles against AI and human players respectively. On top of that, you get a map editor and mod support, and take a look behind the scenes with four hours of archives. Electronic Arts is bombarding you with artillery fire of content and again, attention to fan service is a huge plus.
Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection is not a lazy copy-paste, but a complete remasterer. The classic gameplay is largely proud of, the audiovisual presentation has been brought up to modern standards, and the amount of content is a potential threat to your precious free time. The remaster is clearly a passion project that gives the early Command & Conquer games the respectful treatment they deserve. Tanya, Tiberium and Tesla coils are reborn like never before. Mission accomplished.