Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
It probably wasn’t the sequel we all wanted from the mainline Command & Conquer series, left fallow for some time in favour of Red Alert II and Generals. I liked C&C3 anyway, and I want another game like it.
I’m not sure anyone wanted aliens in it, particularly. The third faction yanked the whole feel of C&C in a different direction, losing the post-apocalyptic feel of its predecessor Tiberian Sun in favour of more of an invasion scenario. It offered new places for the game’s absurd narrative to explore – I suspect it would have run into dead ends otherwise – but it wasn’t what we wanted.
We wanted GDI and NOD at each other’s throats again, ridiculous machines and Kane chewing enough scenery to fill every village hall in England. More of the same but in 3D, essentially. What C&C3 did instead was to hybridise the Tiberium saga C&Cs with the more conscious camp of Red Alert II, playing more to a communal memory of what previous C&C games were than to the reality of them.
In that, after the dour and uncomfortably real-world Generals, C&C3 was what we needed from the mainline C&C series. Big and knowingly stupid and over-powered and funny half deliberately and half by accident. A Command & Conquer game, for better or worse, not just a game called Command & Conquer. By God, I want this series back, and in that spirit.