In the 1990s, real-time strategy games were in their infancy, with only a few games in the genre. Then-Westwood Studios’ co-founder and president Brett Sperry, who developed the original Command & Conquer series, actually coined the term real-time strategy itself. This meant a new reality for those who played turn-based games: decisions had to be made in real-time, much like military strategy dictates who will win and who will lose.
I have a close personal connection to the series itself. One of my first forays into the real-time strategy series was with Command & Conquer. When I was going to school in the Philippines almost 20 years ago, my cousin and I started regularly playing Red Alert 2 at Internet cafes. The experiences with the series stuck with me, although learning that many of the original team had left after the completion of Zero Hour stuck with me. Upon hearing of the release of Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection, I strongly believed that Electronic Arts wanted to make things right for the fans of the series.
While Electronic Arts bought Westwood Studios in 1998 and merged it into EA Los Angeles in 2003, many Westwood alumni formed Petroglyph Games in 2003. Almost two decades later, the chance to remaster Command & Conquer became a reality. Fan demand for a remake or a remaster had been building for decades. At EA Play 2018, fans wanted another game on the PC, and EA contacted Petroglyph Games. With some of the original development team back along with graphical improvements, and constant solicitation of fan feedback, what was there not to like?
The gameplay is similar to both Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert, with graphical improvements and online matchmaking. Over 100 campaign missions are now available, as The Covert Operations, Counterstrike, and The Aftermath are now available, along with missions and videos from the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation ports. This truly brings both the console and PC experiences together.
Like in the original release, you construct a base and then acquire resources to build units and defenses to conquer your opponents. This takes place in an alternate history timeline. The original factions return, such as the Global Defense Initiative (GDI), the Brotherhood of Nod, and in the case of Red Alert, the Allies and the Soviets. Each faction has a campaign that you can play through. You can even set up skirmish games over the Internet so you can face your friends and complete strangers to see who is the true master of war.
Overall, the updated graphics just enhance the gaming experience for fans of the series and newcomers to the series as well. You get all the fun you had at Internet cafes trying to beat your friends and online opponents. This is definitely a nostalgic pickup for anyone who is a fan of real-time strategy games, as this is one of the best games in the genre—except now you can enjoy it in 4K.
Developers: Petroglyph Games, Lemon Sky Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Words by Jose Alvarez
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE July 2020 Issue