Command and Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath is definitely the single best RTS I’ve ever encountered, which is surprising considering it’s got EA’s logo slathered all across the front cover. Akin to Yuri’s Revenge, Kane’s Wrath is an expansion that gives a colossal boost to gameplay quality from the original. Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars offered a long, immersive campaign, three unique factions, and a large pool of maps to choose from if you just felt like skirmishing. Expanded, it offers double the maps, triple the factions, and a new mode that requires a different sort of strategy. Counting super-units and new support powers, this expansion has quite a bit to offer. We’ll talk more about that later, though. Meaning right now.
First of all, I’d like to cover the standard factions and their typified playstyles. Shouldn’t take too long. GDI are the straightforward, build to conquer group that are well-suited to aggressive, persistent tactics. The stealth equipped Nod are skilled at harassment and sabotage, along with ranged bombardment and all-around sneaky tactics. Scrin are extremely skilled at forward base expansion and swarming, whether by air or by land. Suffice it to say, a whole lot of people hate the Scrin because these strategies are simple, effective, and incredibly annoying.
The expansions of these three are even better, considering they allow nearly any strategy to be adapted. Let’s take this one step at a time, doing GDI, Nod, then Scrin subfactions. Steel Talons are GDI redesigned for cheap production and swarming warfare, then heavy railgun pushing if the battle drags out long enough. ZOCOM are specialized in small groups of expensive and powerful elite units. They are dangerous to leave alone, but their base defenses will take out most early rushes.
From Nod, the Black Hand. They have no air units and no stealth, which might seem bad at first, but once you factor in the raw force even their lesser units exert, the outcome of the battle will start to look bright. The Marked of Kane take stealth tactics to the extreme, superfocusing light rushes and hardcore sabotage. The power of their later units are dwarfed by the swarming capabilities of their earlier ones due to the supercharged particle beam upgrade.
And finally, Scrin’s subfactions. Reaper-17 minimizes air force for brutal ground based weapon power. That said, their tiny striker planes can still provide solid pester alongside their cruel tanks. Traveler-59 takes speed and sabotage to a whole new level. They are the only faction that has mass-produced mind controlling units, and the many mobility and teleportation upgrades they have can make them a formidable, nearly globally present opponent.
Following nothing, global conquest! The new-fangled war simulation mode that makes you hate mammoth tanks. Take control of one of three lump factions and send out some base constructors to claim as much of the world as possible. To win, all one needs to do is wipe out all enemies, or meet their faction’s secondary objective. Nod needs to bring 24 cities to red level unrest, GDI needs to own 33% of the globe’s landmass, and Scrin needs to construct 9 Threshold Towers at tier 3 bases. Some objectives are easier than others (easy to hard: Nod, GDI, Scrin), but that doesn’t mean that conquering the world is impossible. Whether you duke it out in real-time or you let the computer auto-resolve your skirmishes for you, global conquest will give you that warm and fuzzy obliterate-your-enemies-to-claim-the-planet feeling. Good times.
Since this is a review of an expansion, I don’t think I need to cover the basics. But just to be inclusive, I’ll give you a rundown. Build a base, harvest Tiberium, put up some base defenses, build a force, murder your enemies. Do it fast, slow, build a huge base, build several tiny bases, do whatever. It’s your game. Kick tail however you want to. Don’t forget to purchase Command and Conquer 3 first, though. Kane’s Wrath kinda sorta really needs it to function. So buy both. Yeah!