Currently Playing: Command & Conquer: Renegade (PC)

Westwood has been very established for the past few years with great games like the well known Command and Conquer series. They are also well known with other types of genres like adventure and role playing. But this time around its different because this is the first FPS game that they ever made. Would they make their mark from other competing developers? Here’s our review.

Renegade is set in the Command and Conquer universe where the people in our world are dependent on resources called Tiberium. This is the basis of both RTS games Command and Conquer and Tiberian Sun. Note that Red Alert and Red Alert 2 was set in the past / present before Tiberium came to our planet. You play a character named Havok and your role in the game is a Commando which is very important character in the series.

Installation was very interesting, since the interface looked like your game screen and everything was in 3D. So the initial setup itself already tests your system for incompatibilities before it installs itself. So while it’s installing, you get to see 3D characters that you will usually see and meet within the game. Some of the weapons will be also shown while installation is occurring. But all in all it still feels the same as recent Westwood games; nothing is different in the inside.

The introductions and cut scenes are made pre-rendered in-game graphics. That part was disappointing since Westwood had a good reputation with live action cut scenes. That was their asset even though it wasn’t really great. And their in-game graphics is not too perfect to make it for cut-scenes and you will see how imperfect it is. If you notice how Havok moves his mouth, it’s usually looks flat and it’s funny. But they are starting a new type of style in this game. The good thing about the movies they made is that you’re not put away in the game; at least you still feel that you’re still in Renegade and not any other game.

The looks of the game is really a mixed bag. Sometimes it looks great and at times it looks horrible. But you should always think that this is Westwood’s first attempt on the game, so I feel like giving them credit. At external locations the textures and buildings look amazing, even though its 3D it stays true to the Command and Conquer universe. You see how big everything is supposed to be and how it operates, planes and other vehicles are in great detail. Everything that you thought about how C&C would look like is pretty much answered here. I love what they have done to that. But since this is their first 3D/FPS game there are a lot of things that you would really notice. Even though the buildings themselves look great on the outside, is not the same on the inside. The graphics looks really dated when you get in, too flat and not much detail. Somehow Doom had better detail than this one.

The sounds are still one of the best things about Westwood. They still have real quality on their hands here. Though there are still minor pops and cracks which many may not notice anyway, their reproduction is great, clear and crisp. I also like what they did, that you hear warnings here and there which are similar to the C&C RTS games. Anywhere you go you will always feel that even though this is a FPS game, you know its still C&C. The music too is maintained, just changed to set the pace for the FPS game. Maybe they added other music too but in any case it’s still the same game.

The artificial intelligence here is pretty much goes nowhere. They are very predictable and dumb. They do react when they see you which are pretty normal, but most cases they just stand up and do nothing. They don’t try to hide from you where you try to kill them face to face. Facing an enemy is not a challenge; the challenge is really the number of bullets coming at you. Though I found out that friendly AI really helps out when engaging the enemy.

The game itself is pretty simple and straight forward. It plays like old games like Jedi Knight but with other simple objectives that are incorporated in the story. Not much puzzles to face but you have to find keys to open door this or door that. That style did fade away for a while, but it did return here. Since the AI is silly enough you won’t have a hard time going through the levels. You have a small radar on the bottom left of the screen that helps you got to your objective and a map screen. Though game play feels much like old dated games, where you pick up items which are scattered all over locations you can’t even imagine why they are there.

Multiplayer is very refreshing in this one. It feels like a C&C version of CounterStrike. By the way buildings here are very important. They supply you with the things you need similar to the real C&C. But you’re not the commander now, you’re just a regular soldier, but you buy the weapons that you need. You are supplied with credits which are maintained as long as you can protect your harvester while it’s gathering Tiberium. You can get weapons and vehicles in the game. So if you have lots of credits and people to play with you can make a full scale battle with vehicles and soldiers. C&C rules still apply here, so destroy the buildings as much as possible to disable any production of units and vehicles.

So, this was an interesting game to review for. Looking at Westwood from making a great product like RTS game and transforming it to a FPS game has been something I’ve been looking forward to. For me they did a successful job on how the game should feel. The audio and visuals are great with professionalism but it fails to show in some points. But there are also a lot of problems that you will find during the game but you may overlook it since the game seems fun as it is.

This game is not for everybody. It looks like it was designed for fans of the C&C series, since it totally feels like the same game but in first person. Maybe new gamers would like this since its pretty simple to play and you really don’t have to think too much on how to accomplish missions. But if FPS games are your life, you may need to reconsider since it may bee too simple and the graphics is not anything like Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament.

Requirements:
Windows XP/ME/2000/98/95 (Windows NT not supported)
450 MHz Intel Pentium or 500 MHz AMD Athlon processor
64 MB RAM
4x CD/DVD-ROM drive
500 GB free hard disk space plus space for saved games, Windows swapfile, and DirectX 8.0
16 MB DirectX 8.0 compatible video card with OpenGL support
DirectX 8.0 compatible sound card
Keyboard
Mouse

Tested on:
Windows XP
AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1100MHz processor
512 MB RAM
50x CD-ROM drive
GeForce3 Ti200 64Mb
SoundBlaster Live!

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