Gamescom 2018: Command & Conquer Rivals Is Fast Fun

August 28, 2018

Among EA’s titles on show at Gamescom this year, Command & Conquer Rivals was one I was actually the most interested in trying. While it’s true that it’s not what Command & Conquer fans have wanted, and in fairness deserved, after years of waiting for a follow-up to what was the king of Real-Time Strategy titles, in that it’s a quick-round mobile title. However, Rivals does a lot to capture the feeling of Command & Conquer in a little package, and I actually had a bit of fun with it.

The basic setup is simple, the GDI and NOD forces have bases at either side of the screen, with a couple of grid-like spaces in the middle to capture surrounding a rocket. The goal is to manufacture forces to move onto those capture spaces and hold them, long enough for your side to capture the rocket launcher, which will then fire a missile eliminating one unit of the opposing base’s health. The fog of war covers any areas your units can’t see, which means you might not be prepared for what’s waiting for you at a capture point, if your opponent has gotten an early start.

Apart from the shift in gameplay focus, there’s other elements that remain from the original series. Your base still has Tiberium collectors which constantly retrieve the resource throughout a round, which essentially acts as your ‘timer’ for building units or additional buildings such as the ‘War Factory’ for better units. You can choose which units each building can produce before a round begins, as well as a character as your ‘commander’ each with their own perks. Some were locked even for the Gamescom demo, including famous figures like Kane.

I have to say, in short bursts the gameplay of Command & Conquer Rivals works. Sending out units to quickly capture a point, before realising it’s already being held by a unit strong against yours, forcing you to build something to counter it… it’s a kind of super-distilled C&C experience, that moves very quickly and would be perfect on the train, or when you have a spare few minutes for a match. As to how its free-to-play mechanics work at the moment, I’m not too certain, as the Gamescom demo was simply set up for playing round after round, but I expect it may have something to do with unlocking more characters and unit types. As for the actual mechanics of gameplay rounds is solid, and fun.

Command & Conquer Rivals is being developed by EA Redwood Studios for Android and iOS devices.