I’m sick. Siiiiiiiiick. And it’s snowy here, so very snowy. I don’t feel like doing much of anything, but I can’t sleep anymore since I just got up from 14 hours of nyquil coma. I call up Wayfare to express my dilemma, and she suggests that I play a video game, which as it turns out is an excellent suggestion.
Now I haven’t played StarCraft2 for well over a month now, since I’ve been so busy not writing my thesis. And a real-time strategy game sounds like it would hit the spot… except I don’t want to play SC2 itself right now. I’ve already finished the single-player part of the game, and I’m too dopey and ill-tempered to keep up/put up with the “people” on battle.net. So I start searching for alternatives, and discover that they’ve come out with a 4th installment to the Command & Conquer franchise. Some single-player play with that sounds like it would hit the spot, so I go ahead and download it.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the RTS concept, it is generally composed of three pillars of gameplay: resource collection & management, base building, and unit control/tactics. In the C&C tradition, you send out your harvesters to collect “tiberium” which magically gets transmuted into tanks, which are built at the factories of your base, which you defend with more base structures like walls and turrets, then you venture forth across the map to complete objectives, using strategy of some sort.
For C&C4, they decided to throw all that out the window: there are no resources to collect or manage. Just a simple unit cap, which is absurdly low (~6-7 tanks maxes it out), which of course limits the strategic options, taking out the 3rd pillar. As soon as a unit is killed, you can build another to replace it — no resources to manage, so it’s “free”. With such a small force, there’s really no way to split it up and try for different objectives, especially since the computer has you outnumbered all the time. Plus, there’s essentially no base-building either: gone are the factories, barracks, airports, and defense towers. Now everything comes out of one building that you get at the beginning. So the game is basically a dull grind of build your pitiful 6-tank force, go smash it against the first objective, lose 5 tanks in the fighting, replace them, then on to the second objective.
The game was so horribly pointless and dull that after the 3rd level I decided I’d rather go work on my thesis.