Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath Review
An expansion game can take one of three approaches. It can completely alter the gameplay of the original game, it can add new complimentary features or a new faction, or it can essentially give you more of the same. Kane's Wrath falls into this latter category, extending the experience of Command & Conquer 3 more than it changes or expands it. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, since C&C fans certainly enjoy the game's trademark fast-action gameplay.
At the heart of Kane's wrath is a new campaign that puts you in control of Nod forces in battles that span the C&C universe's timeline. It may be a bit hard to follow for those whose first introduction to the world of C&C began with Tiberium Wars, especially since you do not play as the same character throughout the campaign. The campaign does more than fill in some of the gaps in the C&C mythos, though; it also serves to introduce the game's new sub-factions. The sub-factions don't radically change the game or effectively add new factions to it, but rather add a new unit here or there in place of one of the main faction's unit. The resultant change is more subtle, but enough to add some variety to the game.
The game's new campaign runs for 13 missions and features plenty of new live-action cutscenes featuring the C&C series' signature over-the-top melodramatic acting. Since it is knowingly cheesy and doesn't take itself seriously, the result is as enjoyable as is has always been in the C&C games. The missions tend to take some time to complete, so you certainly get your money's worth out of them. Often you'll think that you've beaten a mission only to be given a new set of objectives to complete before you can enjoy your hard-fought victory. The gameplay is always fast-paced, so even if a mission takes an hour to complete, that hour will fly by. The new faction added to the series in Tiberium Wars, the alien Scrin, again feels underutilized and exploited in the game's campaign, but you have to wonder if it is part of the plan to feature them in a future expansion.
All factions get some new units with Kane's Wrath. Some are functional, such as the GDI Hammerhead, which is a helicopter that gives the faction air transportation support. Others are more unusual like the Scrin Mechapede, which can grow in size and function by adding new pods to it from the four types available. All factions get new epic units, which as the name implies are powerful and expensive units that have more of an impact on the end game than on the earlier phases - which is a bit of a surprising addition considering that C&C games have always tended to favor fast-paced rush-oriented gameplay.
Probably the biggest change to the game is the addition of the Global Conquest mode. This mode is typical of those found in most strategy games these days and brings Command & Conquer 3 inline with games that feature similar modes such as Dawn of War. In this mode the globe is divided into a number of territories on which you move armies in an attempt to conquer the world. When you move an army onto an enemy territory the game switches to the normal real-time battle mode and your goal will be to eliminate the enemy from the map. Succeed in this and you'll be returned to the global map to find that the territory is now under your control. There's not a lot to do at the turn-based global level other than move your armies, so Global Conquest has the feeling of being simply a string of skirmish matches rather than a strategic game of conquest. It's fun in so much as playing the game in skirmish mode is fun, but there's not enough to Global Conquest to justify alone the purchase of this expansion.
Kane's Wrath is enjoyable, but most of that enjoyment is derived from playing through a new campaign. If you're the type who skips the campaign and goes straight to skirmish or online play, you may find that there's not that much here to motivate you to get this expansion. Overall it's recommendable, but it would have been nice to see more new units or a deeper conquest mode.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 78%. Kane's Wrath may not be a "must have" expansion for Command & Conquer 3, but the campaign is enjoyable enough to recommend to fans of the series.