Command & Conquer Renegade
Westwood enters the FPS arena with a game inspired on their never-ending license of Command&Conquer but does a good license make a good game ?
In the case of Renegade it does not.
You start off as Havoc, an out-of-control commando who fights on the side of the Global Defense Initiative who are obviously the good guys as we know from the RTS C&C games. I’m not going to explain the story much here because as everyone already has found out : most FPS games don’t have one, and the futile attempt of Westwood to create one has miserably failed although we have to admit that they’ve tried really hard.
Don’t think the storyline will get you “into the game and get you thrilled” because it doesn’t. Not like Medal of Honor did anyway…
The whole game is set up as some kind of action movie, much like we’ve gotten to know from the original RTS games from Westwood and that kinda makes the failing story forget. The cut-scene movies are full of action and pretty nice to watch and don’t get you bored easily. Havoc is some kind of Duke-impersonation and always has some one-line comment to give so you know you’re playing a hard-boiled commando and not some wuss that fights like a woman who’s afraid to break her nails.
Unfortunately, one cannot say the same of the NOD guys. Or anyone else for the matter. The AI in this game is just plain awful ! I even wonder one could say “AI” to what Westwood created for intelligence for the other characters because the last thing one would believe when seeing the other character running around is that they’ve got intelligence what so ever !
It’s not even that your enemies don’t look up when a soldier is shot while standing right next to him, or that they don’t ever feel like taking cover although their health is running out, but even your fellow soldiers are dumb assess ! They act exactly the same like your enemies and do nothing but run in your line of fire and try to stare the enemies to death. This is especially irritating when you have to protect someone to be able to complete the mission while that person is running straight for the enemy, not taking time for you to clean up opposing forces or automatic machine guns and even doing his/her best to make sure to get hit by your bullets !
Then we come to the graphics. It’s like a Quake 2 revival ! The graphics aren’t really bad, but defenitely look outdated and when looking at another character it’s like they’re constantly out of breath : their chest goes up and down all the time ! It’s just a ridiculous way to try to get a character to show some life… Also I stumbled on a butt-load of graphical bugs like when you enter a room, most stuff in the room only gets displayed when looking around. I even managed to step into thin air one time, to discover I was actually entering a chamber a few seconds later !
And that’s even without talking about the system requirements. If you want to have this gam running fluently on your pc, better make sure you’ve got alot of $$$ since even my Athlon 1400 with GeForce DDR sometimes started to stumble at 16-bit color…
Then we come to how the game is set up. Forget about changing your hardware config in the middle of the game when you notice that everything isn’t running smooth anymore. You have to quit the game to change any hardware configuration ! How ridiculous is that ? I haven’t seen a game doing that in years ! Have the guys at Westwood gone back in time with their Command&Conquer time machine to create this game with ancient technology or what ?
Configuration is defenitely an issue with Renegade. Forget about changing the default config set for your keys to whatever you’re used to play with. Several keys cannot be used. Maybe I’ve got a strange config compared with most people out there, but if I want to use the “Delete” key to strafe left, I want to be able to change the config that way. Not with Renegade though ! Resistance is futile, you’ll play as Westwood tells you to play, and only minor changes are allowed !
So, let’s see wether there’s anything good about the game. You’ve got plenty of weapons to use and you play in the Command&Conquer universe which might bring some good memories back from the time you were playing the first C&C RTS but that’s about it. The voices are pretty dull and the overall sounds are pretty flat (a Mammoth tank shouldn’t sound like a car that’s driving 20 miles/hour).
Since realism isn’t an issue in this game why not have characters get a nice square around them when pointed at. That way you can easily spot people from far when playing multiplayer and will defenitely improve sniping and get rid of sneaking up on someone. Also it’s great that a tank aims the same way and with the same speed as a normal gun don’t you think ? Yep, Westwood loves every bit of realism they can put in a game.
If you’ve got no games what so ever to play anymore, and you want to do some random blasting, you might want to pick up Renegade, but if you’re looking for quality (even for the Serious Sam style of gaming) you’re in the wrong place with this game.