GC '07: Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath First Look

Evil mastermind Kane is back in this expansion pack that will cover 20 years of Command & Conquer history.

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LEIPZIG, Germany--A little more than a week after announcing its existence, EA gave us a first look at Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, an expansion pack to this year's hit real-time strategy game. Kane's Wrath, which will ship for the Xbox 360 and PC, will tell the story of how the evil Brotherhood of Nod recovers after its defeat in the Second Tiberium War, as seen in 2000's Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun Firestorm. However, the expansion will also cover a 20-year stretch of C&C history, right up to and beyond the events seen in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.

The campaign will focus mainly on the Brotherhood of Nod, and it will come in three acts. The first will cover the aftermath of the Second Tiberium War. The second will cover a parallel story to the events in Command & Conquer 3. The third and final act will extend to the future and involve Kane's "ascension."

Perhaps the biggest new feature in the expansion is the global conquest mode, which will mean that the linear mission-to-mission campaign is dead. Instead, you will be able to conquer the world your way, choosing which territories to attack. Armies will be persistent in this mode, so if you enter a battle with certain units, they will appear in the battle. And if you build units in a battle and they survive to the end, they will transfer to the strategic map for use in later battles.

Fans will also likely appreciate the many new units in the expansion. These will help address existing weaknesses in the various factions. For instance, the Global Defense Initiative has long been vulnerable to air units. That won't be the case with the new slingshot, which is an antiair scout vehicle that can take out enemy air units. The hammerhead is a new gunship that has unlimited ammo, which gets rid of the hassle of having to constantly return to base to reload like the orcas do. At the same time, it's vulnerable to enemy air units. Nod gets the new specter stealth artillery, among others. And the alien scrin get new units, like the ravager, a centipedelike biotank.

Another nice new feature is that each faction will have two subfactions that are geared toward different styles of play. For instance, if you like to "turtle," or play defensively, then you can draw upon a faction that has modified units and special powers geared toward defense. If you like to play more aggressively, there's a special subfaction for you that packs extra punch.

Longtime Kane actor Joe Kucan will reprise his most famous role, but EA says it will announce the rest of the cast at a later date. C&C3 had a pretty impressive cast, including Michael Ironside, Billy Dee Williams, Lost star Josh Holloway, and Battlestar Galactica stars Tricia Helfer and Grace Park.

Another interesting aspect of the expansion is that it will also come in a stand-alone Xbox 360 version. The PC version will require the original game, but a similar requirement for the Xbox 360 version would be too cumbersome and inconvenient for customers on that platform. Kane's Wrath sounds like a compelling addition to C&C3, but we'll have plenty of time to learn more about it in the coming months, as it won't ship until spring 2008.

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