I was one of the lucky few to get the Renegade demo BEFORE the servers got clogged and hellishly slow. That means, for those of you who are unaware, I have had the demo for a good while now, and I am well versed in the game... well... that one map. So, I've decided to write this little article to let all of you know what I think of the game thus far.
First, I have GOT to commend Westwood Studios on their excellent job of bringing the feeling of Command & Conquer down to the level of playing as a single soldier. When I joined my first server, I immediately felt like I was in the world of GDI and NOD. I looked around me, and saw towering in the sky, and Obelisk of Light. VERY cool. As I walked through my base, I noticed a Tiberium Harvester pulling up to a refinery, then promptly having its crystalline contents emptied out in a nice, smooth animation. I walked inside the Hand of Nod and was amazed at how much it felt like 'this is what it's all about'. I glanced into one of the Purchase Terminals (PTs) and belovedly saw all my favorite vehicles. I quickly strapped down the cash to buy a Flame Tank, and walked outside to see it delivered onto the airstrip by a C-130! Not to ramble, but the point is that the game does justice to the CnC universe in a way that even I couldn't have imagined.
Well, another thing I have to compliment WWS on is the audio. Everything from the gunfire of an automatic rifle to the sound of Tiberium crystals crunching under tank treads is done just right. The sounds all seem like they should, although I have to admit that I still don't understand why I hear a 'boink' every time I slay an enemy. Oh well.
Graphics wise, I was a bit disappointed. I'm an avid Unreal Tournament player, which means that I'm used to high-res textures and fancy effects. However, playing Renegade, I didn't see that. When I walked up to a wall, instead of seeing little pock marks and such, I saw pixels, those dreaded little blurry boxes that every FPS player hates (or should hate, anyway). But, at the same time, the graphics are appropriate and nice. There is a great amount of detail in all of the models (maybe too much on Sakura ;) ) and everything does look smooth, without any signs of polygonal faces or bodies. Also, I liked the green glowing effect with the Tiberium.
Detail was great. Everything fits the CnC universe perfectly. The characters you want are there, and done nicely. The Flame Thrower troop looks like he should, carrying a tank on his back and scorching foes. The GDI Officer (AKA Mini-gunner) looks just like he would if you could zoom in 100 times in Tiberian Dawn. Also, the programmers did pay detail to some things that even I had forgotten about, such as Tiberium poisoning. That's right, just like in the other Tiberian series games, in Renegade, if you step foot into one of those green fields, you WILL die, and rather quickly, at that.
Gameplay is definitely the best feature of Renegade. I have to say that it is excellent, and is the reason that I've been skipping work to play the game. I was hard pressed to actually disconnect from my clan's server and write this article, because that game is addictive like any drug you can get on the street. The game seems a bit slow at first, but once you get into it, time flies by and you are constantly on the run trying to repair buildings, defend harvesters, and get rid of that accursed sniper hiding behind that rock. Team work is essential, and if you can't get an organized attack going, then chances are that you aren't going to win the match.
Of course, this demo is Multiplayer, so it would be foolish for me not to comment on the way that this was done. Excellently is the way I would have to phrase it, as that is exactly what it is. The game runs fairly smoothly most of the time, and only lags on bad servers. If you happen to snag a good server that isn't full, then you will be able to appreciate the game the way it was meant to be appreciated. I think that CnC mode is probably the most innovative multiplayer mode that I have ever seen, and it truly sets Renegade apart from other games.
In the end, Renegade is everything I expected and then some. The only complaint I have is that I wish that Westwood had done a slightly better job on the graphics. Still, everything else is truly done right. A game truly worthy of your hard-earned dollar.