The C&C series has chronicled the timeline of an epic fifteen year struggle between the forces of the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and the Brotherhood of Nod (NOD) across multiple instalments. From its original 2D standpoint to more recent 3D flavours, the series has maintained a cheesy, light-hearted storyline backed up by some serious acting skills and furiously balanced gameplay. Millions of bases have been constructed since the series' inception, and billions of tonnes of Tiberium harvested to fuel the two warring factions. Unfortunately for fans of the series, this legacy has been cut off at the shoulders - for better or worse.
You can't kill the messiah
C&C4 kicks off with his holiness himself, Kane, in cahoots with GDI. Set some fifteen years after the events of C&C3, the Scrin are nowhere to be found. Tiberium is still the world's primary power source, but it's running rampant in most areas that aren't in large cities - which is the only explanation offered as to why GDI and Kane are bestest pals ever (strange, considering they've done nothing but feud against each other). Indeed, Kane comes off as a declawed and soggy kitten in the full-motion video clips between missions, and while his badassery begins to somewhat return later when he betrays his newfound allies, our impressions of the singleplayer campaign aren't astounding.
It doesn't help, either, that you've got to log in and have a constant connection to the net just to play the game - yes there are some slight benefits to this as we've highlighted online, but they're simply not worth the hassle to be justified. Even the Tib itself has changed, with the need for an economy completely thrown out in favour of a unit cap-based setup that comes with major flaws.
Our directives must be reassessed
Gone is the iconic Mobile Command Vehicle that has defined the series until this point; replaced with a lumbering behemoth called the Crawler. The removal of the Scrin force has been somewhat plugged up with the addition of three classes for both NOD and GDI; covering Offense, Defence and Support. These ill-contrived classes restrict you to ground-based units with powerful attacks, ground-based with average attacks and some defensive stat benefits, and air-based units with weaker attacks and plenty of powers - each giving a comprehensively different playing style. In multiplayer this works impressively well, creating a thoroughly unique dynamic in matches that should ensure that no two games are the same.
However, this mechanic cripples the singleplayer game. This was highlighted every time we were feeling adventurous and chose anything other than Offense; where our forces simply weren't numerous enough to contend with the AI. To make matters worse, the standard multiplayer unit cap of 90 was arbitrarily slashed to only 50 in some cases, and the AI had access to a frankly stupid collection of four Crawlers with the full amount of units and plenty of artillery platforms to boot. While it's more than possible to defeat each alone with plenty of Engineers to repair your forces, when they gang up against your teensy force it can be hard to have a fair fight - and any fun at all.