More Global Destruction?
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More destruction you say? But of course! After all this is Command & Conquer and the dreaded GLA has yet to be decisively defeated!
Command & Conquer Generals Zero hour is the expansion pack to the C&C Generals game. It adds more missions and some new surprises to the already impressive mix.
The graphics, special effects and game play in general is vintage Command & Conquer. Collect the resources to build the buildings that allow you to build your military to defeat the enemy. So more of what we like best of the series in my mind!
They have replaced the cinematic (or attempts at cinematic) clips with clips taken from the game world itself between missions and to introduce missions. This isa much better way of handling this and it makes for a more engrossing experience. There is a downside to this however. The introductions and wrap up for each mission are handled as if they were a news update from the battle zone. Unfortunately this includes barely audible or understandable dialog from the reporter who is reporting in via a videophone - and we all know how clear those types of transmissions are. The in game commands, however, allow you to review what the mission objectives are even if you could not understand what the reporter is saying!
They have also removed the decidedly Middle Eastern slant of the original General's release, which I find unfortunate. There was an element of satisfaction to beating on a GLA that wore turbines and were definitely modeled after mideastern terrorists! You still have the forces of the United States, China and the Global Liberation Army (GLA) to play around with, but now the GLA bases are located in the boonies of Russia and not Baghdad or some other Iraqi setting. The GLA forces do not wear turbines, but they still launch car bombs. In dropping the mideastern slant, which I kind of liked in the original Generals, they have maintained that look and feel of Command & Conquer, which is the most important thing.
This expansion offers new units, modified units and new abilities to play around with on each of the three sides. I do not remember off shore naval units being able to be controlled by the players in the original Generals but they can now with the new set of missions. Battleships provide heavy artillery support while the Aircraft Carriers provide for air strikes as you need them to soften up a particularly tough defensive position. These additions are a nice touch and only serve to enhance the game experience in Zero Hour. The attention to detail in rendering these units and indeed all the graphics in the game are a pleasure to behold.
The biggest addition, however, is the General's Challenge mode. Each faction has three generals you can go head to head against. Each General has special abilities and variety of different ways to bring you to your knees. Each General has a penchant for a particular type of unit and combat style and will pummel you with it until you kill them or give up in frustration. Do not expect to walk over these Generals as it will take knowledge of the various Generals, their strengths, their weaknesses and your ability to exploit the weaknesses while holding off their strengths to beat these bad boys!
As with the other Command & Conquer titles, those with previous experience in the system will be able to very quickly get into this latest expansion. Those new to the system remember that you NEED to have the Command & Conquer Generals game installed for this expansion to run. The base Generals campaigns will get players new to the system up and running in short order then they will be ready to dive into Zero Hour!
Each of the three factions has a campaign of five missions to familiarize yourself with the new units and formulate your strategies for defeating the Generals who await. These can either be the Generals of the General's challenge or other players on the internet. This expansion also supports my favorite, the skirmish mode, where you and a computer controlled adversary square off on a random field of battle.
So however you like your Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour has more of it for you. It is well deserving of the 4.5 overall GiN gems I have given it.
Royce Brainard is a GiN product tester. He has been heard to say "If it is a game, I have probably played it. If it is a good game, then I probably own it." He can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.