The Command & Conquer series has not been able to return to the brilliance for years, although a light has appeared in the tunnel. Electronic Arts, thanks to Petroglyph Game and Lemon Sky Studios, refreshed the first two parts of the series, offering players the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. The kit has received a number of improvements, but is still filled with the classic spirit of the series. How is the game played and what does the collection offer? Read our review.

The community of real-time strategy fans has been waiting for years for the return of the Command & Conquer universe. Electronic Arts does not pamper players, trying to transfer the classic experience to a mobile game, but over time the company’s management realized that it is worth reaching for this brand and taking care of it a bit. The publisher decided to follow the path set by many others – at the beginning we receive a collection that encourages players to wait for a full-fledged continuation. How does the reviewed Command & Conquer Remastered Collection fare? Amazingly good.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection – what is included in the package prepared by EA?

The remasters of the classics can be approached in a variety of ways, and Electronic Arts, Petroglyph Game and Lemon Sky Studios wanted to spoil all players. The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection includes Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn (1995) and the sequel to Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996). The developers did not face a full game refresh, so both titles can still offer a classic experience, but the production team approached the package with considerable respect.

In the discussed Command & Conquer Remastered Collection we will find all the challenges from two games and three add-ons – it’s over 100 missions that we have access to at any time, because developers allow you to check individual events. The package also includes tasks originally created for console players. Of course, we can still get acquainted with the whole according to the previously outlined scheme, although thanks to the proposed change, you can easily choose the most interesting tasks and jump into the very vortex of the fight between GDI and Nod or the Allies and the Soviets. As it happens in real-time strategies, during the game, we collect the appropriate raw material in order to then build units, be able to develop our base, and ultimately destroy enemies.

Nothing has really changed in this regard, but care has been taken to ensure that the experience itself from classics even 25 years old on the back of the neck is perfectly refreshed. Now all missions can be checked in a refreshed setting, which, however, does not turn the graphics upside down – it is still a very traditional experience and the fact that the productions were not artificially changed was the best decision. However, if you want to see what the missions looked like more than two decades ago, all you need to do is click the spacebar to smoothly turn on the original setting on the screen. This option works at any time, making a great impression during the most demanding meetings. With the right hardware, we can even afford to play in 4K at 120 frames per second – although some adjustments had to be made, as some players complained about unusual drops in animation that should not be the case in such a classic.

The developers provided a number of improvements but they still let players experience the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn in all their glory, so there were classic or modernized controls in the menu. Electronic Arts made a decision that surprised almost everyone – the reviewed package was decided to be developed together with the fans, so a group of devoted supporters of the production was gathered who contributed to the project. It was they who suggested that EA give the source codes of the items to players, and although no one expected approval – the relevant files were published before the premiere. This means that both games have full mod support and we are not talking about the usual map editor, which is also available, but about the ability to create new units, more buildings and influence the entire gameplay. All mods can be downloaded from the game menu.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection – These are not only additions, they are also improvements

In the reviewed Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, we not only received full content, but the developers were somehow forced to refresh the gameplay in both classics. It would be difficult to talk about any pleasure if it was not decided to group units, queue armies in production buildings, the ability to quickly access soldiers by double-clicking one of the characters, the option of using two mouse buttons, and it’s all here – interestingly, options we can turn it off to see how everything tasted years ago … And I have to admit that it is an interesting experience to turn on classic graphics and add a few restrictions. The creators even decided to improve the sidebar – so that everything looks better and offers a much more pleasant experience.

An interesting option is also a jukebox, thanks to which we have access at any time to a wide set of great pieces prepared by Frank Klepacki – the composer returned to the series to renew his favorite notes. The developers of Command & Conquer Remastered Collection came up with an unusual idea: in the game menu, we can create our own playlist from all available songs, which will be played in different ways. This way, we always have access to great music, and what’s more, we will list our favorite songs. Probably the system did not require much work, but it works 100% – the creators released different versions of the songs (original or refreshed), so we can easily move to the 90s and check again how it all sounded years ago. There is an add-on gallery in the games, in which we will look at the previously unlocked materials – all for dedicated fans of Command & Conquer.

In 2020, it is difficult to talk about the full experience of strategy without proper modes. In Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, apart from the two campaigns, we will also find the option to play individual missions and a well-prepared online mode. In both games, we can participate in quick ranking missions in which players have their ranking points, and during the game we will meet many fans of the series. To be honest, non-standard matches turned out to be much more interesting for me, in which you choose from a variety of maps (also created by users) and rules – we will adjust the game speed, technology level, starting units, credits, resource regrowth, and even cover renewal, we will choose appropriate balance (original or modern), or we will turn off the option of queuing units, appearing chests, moving MCV. Players can also build and deploy super weapons or units and weapons from the Aftermath expansion. The options for viewing replays and joining the game as an observer are great – even while writing this text on the second monitor, I watch other players’ matches. Developers are still working on improving and expanding the collection, thanks to which the LAN mode has appeared in one of the updates – it’s worth adding that the set will not include any microtransactions.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection – Do the classics offer the right experience?

How does it all taste? The reviewed Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is back in the quality I had hoped for before the release of the third WarCraft. Blizzard wanted to meet the high expectations of fans, which completely failed. Electronic Arts offers players a return to the 90s and to be completely honest – I did not expect that such a great package would be provided. Campaign missions can be very difficult, sometimes I had to struggle to complete some of the quests, but it tasted the same good 20 years ago when I had the opportunity to explore the series as a kid. In concert, the smooth switching between the original and refreshed frame works, zooming the camera is also an interesting option, and when I listen to the returning classics on the headphones during the game – you can return to the years of carefree childhood. All the improvements are working well, because without them this pack would not make much sense and wouldn’t offer the full experience. It’s good to check again how Command & Conquer charmed us years ago, but you quickly realize that at least unit queuing is the basis in modern strategies. My only regret is that the creators did not decide to improve the artificial intelligence, which often fails – units can block collectors, the army can stop by the river instead of smoothly walking around it, during larger fights we have to control individual units, because some vehicles can go crazy and react badly, and The plane sent to attack will try to fly past dozens of rivals in order to find one, instead of attacking the nearest target. It all affects the gameplay.

At the same time, I must point out that after many years, I most often discover missions and maps created by the community. Command & Conquer Remastered Collection turned out to be a recreational production for me, which I turn on to chat with one of my friends – he is tired of the editor since the premiere. Community creations work best, and there are already some very interesting designs among the mods. The game is still a very classic RTS, so if you didn’t fall in love with the genre years ago, you still won’t find many nice moments here. These are classics coming back in surprisingly good shape and it is surprising that we had to wait so long for this moment. One downside to the whole set is the atmospheric cutscenes – EA did not record new materials, but tried to refresh them using various techniques, which was average.

Is Command & Conquer Remastered Collection worth being interested in?

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn (1995) and Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996) are the most important real-time strategies for many, so Electronic Arts, Petroglyph Game and Lemon Sky Studios had to face the task. How can you improve a classic without destroying the experience that comes from it? The reviewed Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is a full-fledged remaster that offers dozens of missions, two graphics modes, a nice network mode and numerous gameplay improvements. Could it be better? We could always talk about a full restoration of the setting or even a new campaign, but in this situation we would have to talk about a remake, and EA did not want to go on such a mission. I have the impression that in the case of Command & Conquer, the remaster was the best solution, because although the games come back with nice refreshes, both productions offer the most important: more accessible (with improvements) and a classic experience … Now it remains only to wait for a full-fledged continuation.

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