The newest in the fine series of Command and Conquer computer games. This is the first to be produced by Electronic Arts instead of Westwood. It was released on February 11th, 2003. It has a teen rating from the ESRB for violence.
Windows XP/Me/2000/98 CPU:
800 MHz Intel Pentium
3 or AMD Athlon
128 MB CD/DVD-Rom Speed:
8x Hard Drive Space:
1.8 GB Video:
32 MB AGP video card using the Nvidia GeForce
2, ATI Radeon
7500, or more recent chipset with DirectX 8.1 compatible driverSound:
DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card Input: Keyboard
Generals is set in the near future, about 20 years after the "War on Terror" ends. During this time, China has been modernizing it's culture, politics, and military, and are now on equal footing with the United States. Terrorism still exists in the form of the Global Liberation Army, or the GLA.
The game contains three campaigns, or series of missions (one for each team), a "Skirmish" mode, which allows a game against computer opponents of varying difficulties on a map of the player's choice, and multiplayer over a network or online servers.
This is the C&C RTS franchise's first foray into the realm of 3d games. It utilizes the new SAGE engine, which adds some beautiful detail that is only recognized and appreciated after you play it for a while. Some examples would be the dust kicked up by moving vehicles, the death animations of individual units, the shells flying out of AK47s, and the moving treads and tires. Some more time could have been spent on things such as the firearms carried by foot soldiers, which upon close inspection look like shiny black sticks...
In terms of gameplay, this is the best Command & Conquer game yet. The wide field of available and successful strategies for each side is enormous. This is due to a system of experience that can be gained by the player over the course of a battle. You start each game as a one star General, and can place a point into one of many special powers, such as the ability to build SCUD launchers for the GLA, or China's Artillery Barrage, which allows off-screen cannons to pummel the enemy at regular intervals.
As you gain experience through combat, you are given more points and upgraded to two star General, three star General, and so on, up to five stars. More powers are unlocked as you become more experienced, for example, the United States can't order Fuel Air Bomb strikes until the player becomes a five star General. Also, some abilities can have more than one point invested in them. For example, the Chinese Cluster Mine Drop drops more mines for each point you add to it.
This game's interface includes a below-screen bar, a major difference from all the former C&C games, which had a right-sidebar. It is evident that this change over was hard on the developers, because the interface seems clumsy and underdeveloped at times, such as when I wanted to find out the name of an enemy tank and found that clicking on a unit doesn't tell you a lot on the bar, in fact the bar really doesn't tell you anything about the unit but rather allows you to use the unit's special abilities. You have to hold the mouse over a unit and wait for the tooltip to appear before the names shows. This is aggravating for anybody who has just purchased the game and cannot yet tell the difference between tanks that fire shells, and tanks that spew streams of lethal Anthrax(one of my favorite units: the GLA Toxin Tractor).
Whether this game is the Warcraft III killer that was promised is definitely up to the individual player, if only because Command & Conquer games have such a different feel and style to them than the various Blizzard RTS titles