Like C&C, except it’s boring
Okay, I admit it. Command and Conquer was a great game. Putting out one great game does not, however, give Westwood the right to slap the ‘ol Command and Conquer name on any pitiful excuse for a game. And then they expect us, the players, to swallow it. That is exactly what Command and Conquer: Sole Survivor is: an extremely basic game whose little publicity will come from the fact that it has the Command and Conquer setting, not to mention the name.
There’s really nothing at all to Command and Conquer: Sole Survivor Online. As any chimp will realize, it’s strictly an online game. The only offline feature is to practice against the computer. Considering how boring playing it with REAL people can get, it’s hard to imagine anybody playing offline for more than two seconds. Nevertheless, the option is there.
Those who are farmiliar Command and Conquer remember that it incorporated the basic click-and-your-unit-moves-type of controls. While one could control a large number of units and resources in Command and Conquer (the major strategic aspect of the game), Sole Survivor Online lets the gamer play ONE unit. Yes, you heard me. One unit. There are a total of twenty three possible units including different infantry, vehicles, tanks, and dinosaurs, all recognizable from the original game, which adds some variety. One fact still remains the same: YOU CAN ONLY BE ONE! What kind of strategy is involved in clicking around a map moving but one unit? The answer: very little.
With your one unit, there are three basic modes of play available. The basic free-for-all incorporates running around a level (many will remember old Command and Conquer maps), collecting various crates that have different power ups including shot power, speed, rapid reload, range, radar and health. The final objective is to kill as many people as possible. Because attacking a unit is a simple as clicking on that particular unit, there is absolutely no strategy involved.
Capture the flag is basically the same deal, only on top of collecting crates and killing units, one must take a flag from an enemy base and plant it in their own base. Capture the flag actually does require some strategy as well as a team effort. Teams must work together to destroy other bases and at the same time protect their own. For those not quite up for this, ‘football’ uses the same idea as capture the flag, only the bases are unprotected and, as a result, there is less strategy and teamwork involved.
The overall game sounds and graphics are similar to the original Command and Conquer. Graphics include tiled backgrounds, and all objects on the screen are 2d sprites. Sounds effects use the same simple blasts and crashes… even the CD music seems the same!
One aspect that Westwood did not botch up, probably the most important aspect of online games in general, would be the Sole Survivor network. Games are easy to play, there is virtually no learning curve, and Internet latency is at a minimum. To meet the needs of the less computer-literate, all patches and updates are automatic and easy. So Westwood did a good job with the online support and speed for all Sole Survivor customers, if only they had done better with the game itself.