But you already knew that
When EA announced Command & Conquer: Rivals for mobile devices, it didn’t exactly get the warmest reception. It’s been eight years since the last proper entry in the series and that game, Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, didn’t exactly set the PC world on fire. During the late ’90s, Command & Conquer was one of just a few PC games I played with any sort of regularity and I recall many late nights spent at war with friends in Red Alert – Retaliation. But since the property was purchased by EA, and the developer dissolved, I haven’t had much reason to return to the franchise. With this new app, the sentiment remains the same.
Available now in Early Access for Android in the US and Canada (and on iOS/Android in Brazil), Command & Conquer: Rivals is an online multiplayer strategy game where two players face off for control of checkpoints on a hexagonal battlefield. The checkpoints control the nuclear warhead. As players occupy these points, the meter on the missile fills, firing on whichever color player isn’t currently in control. If too many checkpoints are in contention, they glow yellow and the missile launch is called off until one player’s troops are eliminated. First player to strike their opponent with two missiles wins.
Staples of the Command & Conquer series are adequately woven into the gameplay. There is tiberium to be farmed and player bases can build a barracks, war factory, helipad, and tech lab to produce more units for battle. Farming tiberium is done automatically as it’s the currency on which everything in the game runs. Helipads aren’t unlocked until a player reaches level 5 and you won’t be able to access Nod forces until level 4. Commanders with GDI and Nod have special talents they bring to battle, such as the ability to set up a turret or drones that can heal your forces on the battlefield.
The battles here are fairly quick and units employ a rock-paper-scissors strategy in combat. Having the right troop in the right position can do much to change the tide of battle, but it’s also incredibly easy to get steamrolled or annihilate an opponent who comes at you with a shitty strategy. Just ask the player I right whooped before writing this. Unit movement is often too slow to for last-minute saves.
It has the look and the namesake of the Command & Conquer franchises, but for all intent and purposes, Rivals is just another Clash Royale derivative that fails to bring any new or exciting ideas to the genre. It lacks the unique battlefields and incredible production value of something like Titanfall Assault and the lootbox system has, up to this point, been resoundingly stingy. Obviously, games get better over time, but there are many more similar titles that are quite good right this second. Command & Conquer: Rivals isn’t outright awful, but for the thousands of fans who have been waiting for a proper return to the series, it’s certainly not enough.