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SummaryA novel campaign set in the C&C universe is fine and dandy, but the real attraction here is the stunning multiplayer.
- Art design is appealing and true to the RTS games
- There's plenty of novelty to be had seeing the C&C universe in first person
- Good graphics for the time
- FANTASTIC multiplayer
- Lengthy campaign
- Good sound effects
- Single player campaign can get dull at times
- Pathetic artificial intelligence
- No Single player Nod campaign
- Have to use GameSpy arcade to find servers
- Mediocre story
The Bottom LineI love Command & Conquer. They are fast paced and a ton of fun to play, they may not be the deepest strategy games on the planet, but they're still fun as hell; especially the bloody awesome Red Alert 2. C&C Renegade takes a different approach though, instead of being tasked as a commander, you are tasked as being a commando; a fan favourite character from the first game. You also aren't playing a strategy game, but rather a first person shooter.
You play as Havoc, a GDI commando who unravels a Nod scheme to create an army of Tiberium mutants, as well as the standard Nod scheme of trying to use Tiberium as a weapon. The plot isn't especially interesting, and is bogged down by a cast of uninteresting and forced characters that the game expects us to know simply by showing us their model and a text scrawl in the installation screen. Havoc isn't a particularly interesting character, he pretty much is just a generic C&C Commando even if he talks more.
There is plenty of novelty to be had in both the single player component and the multiplayer component. Entering the Tiberium universe; circa the events of the first game, so its not quite as dark or dreary as Tiberian Sun; is a very cool thing and it is handled well. You'll storm Nod bases, drive both Nod and GDI vehicles, and use weaponry such as the GDI Ion Cannon. It certainly is a treat to enter a Hand of Nod and see Nod soldiers training and seeing the inner workings of a base.
The campaign is fun, but it isn't without some flaws. Firstly, some maps are gigantic. This isn't a problem for some shooters, but Renegade simply doesn't know how to pace a huge map. There's one map maybe 3 or 4 levels in that is enormous, and en route to a Nod base you have to shut down you'll travel about 30 minutes in a vehicle and 45 minutes on foot before you'll find another enemy to shoot. This makes some maps confusing, dull, and frustrating. To add to these frustrations, bases can sometimes be confusing as well with winding corridors and inconsistent floor plans and key card events.
The AI is also pathetic. At least the zombies in Doom would actually walk and try to avoid your bullets. The soldiers here, once they catch sight of you, just stand there shooting at you while you tear them apart. The only way to get a challenge from the basic soldiers is to crank up the difficulty. To be fair, more advanced characters and vehicles pose a greater threat but regardless, the AI is just bad.
I also would've liked to see two campaigns, both to even out the pacing and to stay truer to the traditional C&C style. Playing as a Nod soldier would've been cool, but we don't get that treat save for in multiplayer but that's still not quite the same thing as having a story driven Nod campaign to play.
The multiplayer is the star here though. I am not joking when I say its easily one of the best and most overlooked multiplayer components in a first person shooter. It plays exactly like a regular C&C game, there's a NOD base and a GDI base, Tiberium is being harvested, and they must build an army and destroy the other base. But, naturally, you are playing as a soldier on the frontline. You can buy weapons, vehicles, and special characters using Tiberium credits; but remember, your team shares the income. In fact, your team is very important. There's still some strategic depth here, to win you must be able to coordinate attacks and move in squads. Both bases have defenses that must be taken down, though several maps do provide secondary passages to the enemy base if you are sneaky enough to find them.
There are plenty of maps to play on and playing with 32 or even 64 players is a joy, and the units you can control are all quite fun and unique and the action is always pulse pounding but it never sacrifices the squad based elements.
The only real flaw I find in multiplayer is the server interface. Before they were forced to close their doors by EA, Westwood Online was the primary method of finding servers and the easiest. WOL is gone now, and even then it was buggy. To be able to play Renegade online now, you must use GameSpy arcade which is a bit of a nuisance with its ads, lag, and poor Windows 7/Vista support. But even then, it is still worth playing simply for the multiplayer. There are servers up and there is a wealth of maps to play, and there is a mod called Renegade X being made on the Unreal 3 engine which is going to replicate the multiplayer experience of Renegade for free and with modern graphics. Very cool, but if you haven't checked this game out, its fairly cheap now and I highly recommend it to C&C fans. It has a decent campaign, but the multiplayer is the real meat and potatoes of this particular package.