Command & Conquer Renegade Review

Strategy gamers are very familiar with the Command & Conquer games from Westwood Studios.  Now action gamers have the opportunity to enter the world of GDI and Nod with Command & Conquer Renegade.  Renegade also has something to offer the strategy gamers who have been with the series since the beginning by offering them the opportunity to 'get inside' the game.  Players take on the role of Havoc, a GDI commando, and come face to face themselves with Nod's arsenal of weapons - and even to get the opportunity to enter such familiar structures as Hand of Nods and Tiberium Refineries and take them out from the inside.

Renegade can be played as a single player game or in multiplayer mode.  The single player campaign game features the adventures of the GDI Commando Havoc as he takes on a new threat from Nod.  The campaign is played as a series of missions that are introduced by cutscenes that set the stage for the mission, and generally introduce the mission's main objective.  In order to successfully complete the mission, the player will have to complete all primary objectives.  During the course of a mission, additional objectives are often added, including secondary and tertiary objectives.  These additional secondary and tertiary objectives are not critical to the mission, but completing them will earn bonus items or other benefits, either immediately or down the road.  There are also secret areas in all of the mission maps, so it is advisable to players to fully explore all areas.

Players receive mission updates and information on the location of objectives and enemies via the game's head's up display.  There is also an objectives screen which can be used to get information on completed and pending objectives, as well as a map of the areas passed visited so far.  The map is small and hard to read, though, so it is not of much use.  

In addition to the variety of weapons available, players will often have the opportunity to hop into vehicles.  This feature will be a bit of an extra treat for veteran Command & Conquer players as they will have the opportunity to handle Mammoth Tanks and other vehicles from the strategy games.  The vehicles are controlled from the third-person view, using the same movement and fire controls used to control Havoc.  In addition to the extra firepower, vehicles provide players with the bonus ability to run down Nod foot soldiers, just like in the strategy games.  Should Havoc's vehicle be destroyed, he will continue on foot, no worse off than when he entered the vehicle.

Once a mission has been completed, the player is given a break down of his/her performance and is rated based on the number of objectives completed, the time to complete the mission, number of enemies killed, and a few other factors.  This adds to the missions' replay value, as players can try the missions again to get better ratings.

Veteran shooter fans will not be challenged too much by the game's single player campaign, even at the top difficulty level.  Powerups are plentiful, and you'll often leave most of them behind since your ammo will be maxed-out.  The enemy AI is not very intelligent, and most of their attacks consist of charging right at the player.  Enemies are often unfazed by the deaths of compatriots in close proximity and don't really work together well in meeting Havoc's threat.  They'll even cooperatively approach the player's vehicle from head-on, making them easy targets for road kill.  One interesting feature, though, is that Nod officers can call in reinforcements.  Additional waves of enemies will appear via parachute or helicopter drops, and will keep coming until the player can take out the officer.

While the missions in the single-player campaign are interesting enough, the campaign will probably feel a bit short to most players.  Luckily, Westwood continues their tradition of excellent multiplayer support with Renegade.  Before venturing online, gamers can play the multiplayer game in an offline practice mode.  This helps players to become familiar with the multiplayer maps and some of the basics of gameplay, but it is not really a viable alternative to online play.  The bots, both friendly and enemy, are not very intelligent at all and won't provide much challenge.