The Command and Conquer franchise made its PC debut all the way back in 1995. In the two decades since, the game has garnered a rabid following with dozens of sequels and spinoffs. In 2018, the C&C experience returns to mobile with the free-to-play Command and Conquer Rivals, which EA debuted ahead of E3 2018 on Saturday. I was afforded a brief hands-on with the title during the EA Play event and this C&C strongly reminds me of the original. In that I had no clue as to what I was doing through most of it and lost almost immediately to a 12-year-old.


Like its desktop-based ancestors, C&C Rivals tasks players with balancing force and resource production against attacking enemy positions, a la Clash Royale. In this case, two opposing players situated on either side of a central missile silo attempt to destroy one another's base. True to its C&C lineage, Rivals players can play as either the GDI or Brotherhood of Nod with each faction offering unique super moves like the ability to set auto-turrets or zap remote targets with an orbital laser cannon.


The goal of each match, which thankfully last just a few minutes at a time, is to control a majority of the three platforms surrounding the missile silo. Control two or more platforms when the missile launches and it will detonate on your opponent's base. Strike their base with these missiles twice to win the match. Easy, right? Not quite.


The pace of these matches is, well, frantic. Your Tiberium reserves, which fund the production of your troops and vehicles, regularly replenish so you don't spend the first quarter-hour of each match mining enough minerals to get going. Instead, you must start pumping out grunts and mechanized infantry as fast as you can, sending them out to either attack your opponent or defend the silo platforms, or preferably both at the same time.


Battles between unit types are essentially a fancy game of rock, paper, scissors with each offering an advantage or disadvantage depending on what you send it out to attack. Turns out that light infantry are comically inept at taking down tanks regardless of what you saw in Saving Private Ryan. Who knew, aside from the 7th grader that wiped the floor with me, that is.


The Volume Ltd 2018