Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GDI Strategy & Tips (Command & Conquer 3)

Command & Conquer 3 can be a challenging and rewarding experience. If you are unprepared, playing the game on harder difficulties can be extremely painful. Odds are, if you are reading this than you are in need of a little help, and fear not, below I have compiled hints and strategies to help you overcome those challenging encounters.This article is great for those who are new to the RTS genre and people who want to improve their strategies for C&C. Keep in mind that this is merely a place to begin and that everyone has their own tactics that work well for them. Use this guide and keep an open mind as to how you may elaborate on the tips mentioned below. You may want to experiment a little to find what works best for you.  

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First of all the most important thing in just about any multiplayer and / or tactical game is knowing the lay of the land. Take time to scope out your surroundings. If you need to start over, that's fine, but understanding where tiberium is located can make a huge difference in a match. This is of course advised in a single player skirmish map. When planning out the start of your match it is good to find the best available position for acquiring tiberium. More tiberium means more resources for constructing buildings and training units and this is of course a very good thing. Running out of tiberium at an inopportune moment will almost always end in a loss so do your best to make sure that you have a continues, steady flow of tiberium coming in and survival will remain a possibility. If you are starting a match on a map with patches of tiberium that are close together, as long as it is not very far away, don't be afraid to pack up base and move to a better vantage point, this is usually best at the beginning of the map. Once you have reached the set cap of tiberium you will be told that you need to build silo's. This is not recommended, odds are if you are hearing this a lot than you are doing something wrong. The idea is that you want to be spending tiberium as fast as possible, and as long as you are spending you shouldn't be reaching the cap. Just as it is important to know the map you are fighting on, it is also important to be familiar with the faction you are using. Knowing where everything is and what you need to expand your army is key, the less time it takes for you to figure out how you want to further expand your army the better. If tiberium is getting tight or the enemy is attacking a base that you no longer need. Don't be afraid to sell unwanted buildings for tiberium, doing this has saved me many times.

C&C 3 is a very fast paced RTS. In other games such as Starcraft or Warcraft, there is a certain amount of leisure that allows you to think about your next move, plan out your units and so forth. If you take this sort of laid back approach in C&C you will lose. You must constantly be on your toes and ready to defend as well as attack. If you often find yourself waiting for a building to be constructed or units to be trained, you are setting yourself up for failure. To ensure victory you must make sure that you are never at a standstill. When something is in que, quickly move to the next thing you need, make sure there is always a steady flow of production, because while you are sitting there idle, your enemy is not. Could you use more power plants? How about turrets? Another War Factory is never a bad thing! It is just as important to make sure that you are spending tiberium as it is to make sure you are earning it. 

In some RTS games it's a good idea to build up your defenses before preparing to strike. Though some turrets can help your defenses greatly, in the case of C&C, your offense truly does make the best defense. While you amass your army, strategically place your units so that they are properly defending your base. Mixed unit tactics is a very good idea here, but with the GDI, I tend lean tword ground units. With air units you need to build extra buildings and add some upgrades and though this is not an enormous hassle, that time is better spent on increasing your army, as there is little your air units can do that a massive mob of ground vehicles cannot. Once you have gotten close to reaching the cap for your units, this is a good time to start your assault. Make sure that when you are heading out with your troops to attack the enemy you have a steady flow of units ready to be made. This ensures that once your current mob is dead there will be more units waiting for you. Try and keep a steady driving force in this manner and not only will you be dishing out a lot of damage but it will also be difficult for your enemy to build more units for an offensive assault as they try and fend you off and rebuild their losses. 

Now that I have covered some of the more basic strategies of Command & Conquer, I'll move on to some tips that are more specific to the GDI.  And since you start from scratch I'll discuss some of the base management for the faction first. Once you have found a good position to start things from, the first thing you are going to want to do is build a power plant and two barracks. These are obviously essential and can be constructed quickly. As soon as you have your barracks build some units. Your rifleman are going to help clean up some of the weaker enemies but the big thing here is your missile squad. Missile squads are some of the best foot soldiers you can get as they are great for taking out air strikes and a large group of them can make quick work of any armored units that may attack. From here you want to build a crane, which is vital to your base. Having an extra building que can make a world of a difference. Move onto filling both your que's with refineries (to get a bit more out of my tiberium, once I have constructed two refineries I will then destroy one and build another. This way you will get some of your resources back and will have 3 harvesting units for your 2 refineries.), then factories. At this point you are going to be in a phase of keeping up with resources, building units, and buildings structures so that you can get some of the more powerful units. This is also a good time to start building some turrets to help with your defenses. The machine gun turrets at first are a good option but the sonic defense turrets are where its at. The sonic defense turrets will shred any oncoming ground units and help keep your unit numbers up while preparing to strike. Make sure you at this point you are keeping a steady flow of power plants coming as these turrets soak up a lot of your energy.  As for the air units, let your missile squads take care of them. As you build up your units, make sure that you get the jump on the enemy as soon as you are nearing the unit cap. Getting an early assault in with a full army can give you a huge advantage, completely changing the momentum of the battle. This is the point where you will be using a lot of tiberium, so make sure you are well stocked on refineries and make sure you keep those units coming! Guarding your refineries with turrets is usually a safe bet.

Earlier I spoke of a mixed units tactic and I'll elaborate on that a little to make sure you have your offensive strategies in order. The bulk of your army is going to be made up of missile squads and either mammoth tanks or juggernauts. Which ever of the later works for you is fine but I prefer the mammoth tanks. For defense against infantry keep some APC units on hand and maybe a few rifleman. Throw in some predator tanks as they are cheap and can be made quickly and split up the different type of ground vehicles between your factories. Once you send in your army the idea is you want to target buildings that the enemy really needs. Take out refineries, air bases, factories and buildings that are essential to creating some of the more powerful units. Destroying power plants can also be a big help but these are a bit easier to rebuild and are pretty cheap. Of course there will be some units attacking you and trying to stop you. Instead of focusing your fire on defending units, take out the more powerful defenses and keep hammering on vital structures. Focusing attacks on simple units will only be counter productive and you will take a lot of damage, so get in there and destroy whats important to your enemy while you can. The tanks have a lot of HP so within the time it takes the enemy to fight off your units you should almost have another army ready to continue where the previous one left off. Continue this strategy and you should be able to achieve a fairly swift victory. Near the end of the battle the enemy may start attacking your base in a last ditch effort to take the heat off them. As your army starts to diminish new units will spawn to take their place, don't head back with your attacking force, instead use the units that are already at your base for a little defense and keep on the offensive.

Use some of the tactics I have provided here in combination with what works for you and you should see a huge improvement in how often you are victorious. I hope these tips helped you out, feel free to share what works for you in the comment section below. Within a short time I should have some other strategies up for other factions in C&C.

Is It Just Another Rockstar Title? (Red Dead Redemption Review & Discussion)

I am no die hard fan of Rockstar games, but to be fair I am not adamant about hating them either. The ever popular Grand Theft Auto series has gained massive success over the years and there are some really great idea's brewing in the pot, but at the same time I have always felt that there is still much to be desired. GTA4 was a huge step in the franchise and by far the the installment that I enjoyed the most, so the idea of picking up Red Dead Redemption had been somewhere in the back of my mind for a while now. But after playing the agonizingly boring title, LA Noir, it was extremely difficult to muster up the courage to shell out for this title, especially because when it comes to Rockstar I find a lot of the big reviews for this game to be deceiving to say the least. Well obviously somewhere along the line I buried my fears and rolled the dice. Do I love Red Dead Redemption? Is it ground breaking? Is it better than GTA? Was it worth the money? In reality the answers to these questions are not so simple.


To start things off, the visuals are nothing short of stunning. Even with recent releases such as Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption holds its own as one of the best looking games to date. Often I found myself at the edge of a cliff looking out across the landscape and wanting to just savior the moment. The art style is perfect for this western adventure and there is a lot more to see here than just cacti and miles of sand. Red Dead Redemption offers a rich and authentic environment for you to explore and its all too easy to get lost in the games beauty, sometimes just riding around on your horse and enjoying the view can be entertaining enough. When it comes to visuals, its hard to find a game these days that has such an immense amount of detail packed into it, and the land you traverse appears to be alive and thriving, adding to the immersion of the experience. The presentation and story here are great as well. Not perfect, but very enjoyable none the less. The thing that really stands out, is the character depth, especially in the case of protagonist, John Marston who is simply one of the best characters in gaming history. John feels very real and you will grow to love and feel for him as you guide him through this epic tale. Just about every character you will come across in your adventures is memorable and will feel well thought out. All speech is fully voiced and Red Dead Redemption undeniably has some of the best voice acting you will find in a game. The quality of voice acting here is comparable to that which you may find in a lot of animated films and it would be wonderful if this was something we got to see more often in other titles. To go with this great scenery and well defined characters is a Spanish and classic western soundtrack that is amazingly well put together and flawlessly fits the part.
Unfortunately as far as innovation goes I found myself wishing there was a bit more to be had. Red Dead is its own experience yes, but it heavily barrows from the GTA series in a lot of ways. You will travel to town, go through a small and somewhat interesting cut scene which will lay out the upcoming mission for you, you will then ride along with an npc and listen to them babble about some less interesting things before ending up at your destination where you will engage in a short lived but enjoyable gun fight. Rinse and repeat. Though there are some interesting aspects such as hunting, I still find myself wishing that Rockstar would take some more risks and stretch its wings a little. If this is something that has not bothered you in other recent Rockstar titles than this may not be so disappointing to you, but this is something that is really starting to wear on me. One thing I do find to be extremely frustrating in Red Dead Redemption is its lack of a competent auto save feature. The game will often save during missions but to hard save you must build a campfire or be in a house that belongs to you, from these locations you may also fast travel. Unfortunately you cannot build a campfire near a settlement, on flat land or near a road, and you will constantly find yourself unable to build one, only to get on your horse and ride a bit further out to find that you still haven't traveled far enough. This game would have greatly benefited from a more intuitive save mechanic, as well as a more accessible fast travel system.  
Red Dead Redemption feels good but doesn't sport the most solid controls on the market, at times actions will seem fluid and responsive and sometimes not so much, this is especially noticeable when traveling by horseback. You may find yourself wondering why you are creeping along while riding your horse even though you are mashing the button to speed up with a full stamina bar. This doesn't present an enormous problem but can occasionally pull you out of the experience. When a game does some things as well as Red Dead Redemption it is all too easy to crucify some of the smaller short comings you encounter and Red Dead Redemption is a perfect example of this. Like most Rockstar games, combat is always enjoyable but Red Dead Redemption lacks diverse weaponry which can make a lot of the guns feel the same, fortunately though the action can be at times few and far between, it is always fast paced and occasionally challenging. The bullet time like dead eye mechanic can be a lot of fun and adds spice and a breath of fresh air to combat. By far my biggest problem with the game is its flow. To me flow is very important as it affects how much of the game can be digested at once. The flow of Red Dead Redemption is extremely abrupt, even for a Rockstar title and as the game progresses it seemingly gets harder and harder to play for many hours at a time. I would find myself doing a mission and having a great time with it, but by the time the mission came to an end it just seemed a great hassle to travel to my next destination to pick up a new mission. For casual gamers this isn't such a big problem but for hardcore gamers like myself, this can be a huge turn off.
If you are anything like me than a big part of the quality of a game is content and in Red Dead Redemption you will find a lot to do. Random side jobs, catching special horses, hunting and skinning, addictive mini games, completing challenges and finding herbs are just a fraction of what there is to be found in Read Dead Redemption and a lot of this stuff can easily soak up hours of your time. As if all that wasn't enough the multiplayer is a whole new experience of its own. When entering multplayer mode you will be placed in an open world lobby where you can explore the map, gain experience, party up, hunt bandits, duke it out and much, much more. At anytime from this lobby you may open up a menu and join one of a great many different game modes such as death match, capture the flag and poker. There is a lot to do here and all of it is a lot of fun. Multiplayer also has a lot of customization, which can add a lot of fun to free roam and the best part is that free roam can even be accessed from single player. So if you find yourself getting bored with the same ol' same ol' or if the poor flow of the campaign has got you down, getting in the action is only a click and a load screen away.

I can understand how some people could be a little upset over the score I have given Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar fans tend to be very loyal and I'm sure there is a very good reason for this. Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things this is not a bad score by any means and I'm not saying that Red Dead Redemption is a bad game. Redemption has a lot of really great qualities and the majority of the games qualities are good, unfortunately it is very hard for me to get around some of the games bad qualities and these are areas that just so happen to be very important to me. If poor flow is a deal breaker for you, Red Dead Redemption is not the game you want to be shelling out for, but if you are a fan of recent and similar Rockstar titles, you will probably really enjoy Read Dead Redemption. This is also a great game for casual gamers who may not want to sit in front of a game for more than an hour at a time. 


Pros:

- Amazing visuals 

- Lovable and memorable characters

- A lot of content

- Great audio

Cons:

- Agonizingly bad flow

- Lacks innovation 



Score:

8.4 / 10