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Kane's Wrath Review

By AgmLauncher - 1st April 2008 - 22:38 PM

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We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve been holding our breath for Kane’s Wrath. Once the novelty of Command and Conquer 3 wore off, the cold reality set in that the game was basically about build order poker and winning simply because you gathered a larger amount of money in less time than your opponent did. Patches improved the game balance here and there, but usually skirted the larger issues which prevented Command and Conquer 3’s full potential from stepping into the lime light. Before we got our grubby paws on Kane’s Wrath, we could only ask one question: is Kane’s Wrath better than Tiberium Wars? The simple answer is yes, the complex answer is below. Read on.

What’s Different
The most notable difference of course is the addition of six new sub-factions to the original three, bringing the total to nine playable factions. Nod, Scrin, and GDI each got a brute force faction, and a finesse-style faction, with the original falling somewhere in between. Finding a faction that suits your play style is certainly not difficult.

There are lots of new units, with some being shared by all sub factions within a particular group, and some which are exclusive to a specific sub faction only. The distribution of the new units really helps the new factions have a unique identity and play style, something that was a bit lacking in the relatively homogenized factions of Tiberium Wars. The epic units worked out to be excellent additions to the gameplay. They are rewarding to customize and micromanage, and satisfying to counter (EMP weapon anyone?). They’re also fairly well balanced, being just scary enough when you hear your opponent build one, but also easy enough to counter without needing one of your own.

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In terms of nuts and bolts gameplay mechanics, there are a number of subtle changes to Kane’s Wrath which do improve gameplay in various ways. For starters, harvester health has been reduced considerably in comparison with Tiberium Wars, making them far more vulnerable to harassment and raids by fast units like Attack Bikes, Pitbulls, and others. There are now some powerful area effect units such as Spectre Artillery, Zone Raiders, and various EMP weapons. Area effect weapons in a game predominantly about building massive armies of tanks and infantry is just what the doctor ordered. The repair rate of buildings has been slowed down, making it easier to destroy them without needing Patton’s entire third army to do it.

There are of course new player powers, but truth be told most are point and click destruction, and add more flash than substance. As if Tiberium Vapor Bomb and Catalyst Missile weren’t enough, now you can unleash hell in the form of Tiberium Vein Detonation to really make sure you can beat that dead horse for a little longer.

2v2 maps have come out in force in Kane’s Wrath. Some maps are better than others, but on the whole they are a very welcome addition to the lacking 2v2 options of the original game. Also, there is a new official map lineup on the ladder, and any maps with blue tiberium now start off with their blue fields set to zero. This helps to avoid a bloated early game economy as much as possible.

Lastly, there is brand new gameplay mode called World Domination, which is a Risk-style strategic meta game that plays similarly to the War of the Ring mode from The Battle for Middle Earth 2. It’s singleplayer only, but it does give Kane’s Wrath an extra level of replayability. Unlike the War of the Ring, there are no pre-defined territories. Instead, you conquer the Earth by controlling numerous cities or by wiping the AI off the map entirely. There are quite a few options you have each turn, including the ability to customize and deploy your own strike forces. Be warned, these games can take a long time, but you can always save them and continue at a later date.