With this year's big Steam summer sale a few weeks away, we're challenging you and our writers to pick up and play the many games you may have picked up on a whim, and never got around to playing. Simon, then, rolls his sleeves up for a bit of Command & Conquer...
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
I think I have fonder memories of the Command & Conquer series than I should. My cunning strategy of avoiding two out of every three releases in the franchise has paid dividends, as I'm blind to the slow progress the series appears to have been making. But it was time for a reunion. Armed with some warm white wine from my local Spar (it seemed fitting that I bought something from their clearout: £2.99 it cost. I was robbed), I prepared myself to fall once more for Command & Conquer.
So then, what's this? Create an account? Then create a persona? You want my date of birth? Oh sheesh. I only want to play single player, I paid cash, and I've got a note from my mum. Am I not allowed? By the time I actually get into the game proper, I feel like I've filled in a tax return or something.
Given that I missed the last game or two, I've no idea where we are in the whole Tiberian narrative, and I'm quite okay with that. The game is hardly shy of showing you cutscenes to fell you in on its exhaustive plot, but then, in Command & Conquer's defence, it's always been good at this sort of stuff. Turns out, it still is.
In fact, it's still as solid at everything it used to be solid at. The problem was, I remember playing Company Of Heroes a lot, which looked less impressive perhaps, but played a much meaner, more balanced game. Tiberian Twilight, to me, feels the same as my last venture towards the C&C franchise. I spent lots of time preparing and building up my forces, and not enough time in the heat of battle. It makes it, unfairly, feel like more of an arms race than a strategic masterclass at times, although the trade off is in the game's undeniable accessibility. Oh, and there appear to be tunnels here. I like those.
There's a sense with Tiberian Twilight of an unwillingness to cut the proverbial umbilical cord, though. That the game - whichever class you have to play as - is never too far away from the roots that stretch all the way back to Dune II on my humble Amiga. It's a lot less vital than it used to be, too. I used to live on minimal levels of sleep in the early years of the franchise, so keen was I to progress. Here, I was quite happy to trade off after an hour or two for a decent book, some Fozzie Bear slippers, and a liquid nightcap. If, for nothing else, than to lose the taste of the aforementioned wine.
Interestingly, Electronic Arts is the firm that's been critical of the ultra-low prices that Steam charges in its sales, arguing that it devalues gaming brands. I bought Command & Conquer 4 for a few quid last year, and truthfully, I was never going to stump up for it any other way, so I'm perhaps not the best person to argue either side. But, in spite of the clearly weighty work that's gone into the cinematics here, which must have cost a few quid, this is still a lightweight, interchangeable strategy game. I reckon I paid EA a rate of £2.50-ish for every hour I played it, and I reckon that's just about right.
Was it worth it?
Given the price equated to a two-night rental from the video shop, just about.