Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight is the latest instalment in EA's long-running RTS franchise.

While its overzealous DRM is sure to draw plenty of criticism, Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight offers up plenty of wortwhile gameplay tweaks and a solid multiplayer experience that's sure to appeal to long-time fans of the series.

The RTS (real-time strategy) genre has undergone a lot of change in the past few years. When the genre was first established, most games adhered strictly to the three basic fundamentals of harvesting resources, building bases and fielding massive armies of throwaway units. But as the genre has matured into games such as Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, there's been a movement towards "streamlining" the overall experience while established genre tropes were either pared down to a bare minimum or eliminated altogether.

Relic's Dawn of War 2 famously did away with both base building and the resource gathering, relying instead on off-screen reinforcements via resource-ticking control points.

That a stalwart franchise like the Command & Conquer series would also do away with such concepts is a sign of just how far things have come. Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight doesn't have any resource harvesting; the only gathering you do involves single hunks of Tiberium used for research points which unlock higher tiered units or upgrades.

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight also streamlines the base building concept by introducing the Crawler, an all-in-one super base capable of switching between build and mobile modes in addition to handling unit construction, defensive buildings, upgrades and powers. The mobile base comes in three different flavours, each tailored to a specific strategy: Offense, Defense and Support (the US spellings are in the game).

The Offense base gets the most unit variety and allows you a greater level of strategic flexibility; it has the tools to deal with pretty much any form of resistance the enemy may put up. The Defense base focuses on infantry and defensive structures, some of which to bunker your infantry. Finally, Support Crawlers can fly, build airborne units, and possess powers which allow you to reveal large chunks of the map or lay waste to your foes from across the map.

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight - crawler works well

And largely, the Crawler actually works well in Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. At first I had a hard time allowing my Crawler to get anywhere near the battle, but there's not much of a penalty when you lose one. Assuming this happens, you simply wait a few seconds, click a big button next to the mini-map on your UI, re-select your class type and choose where in your side's deployment zone you'd like to drop down. Plus, each of the three available technology tiers adds weaponry and armour to your Crawler, transforming it into a powerful unit in its own right.

Unfortunately, the Crawler has a strange effect on the single-player experience: you're forced to pick one of the three different versions, which essentially cuts your strategic options by two-thirds. Yes, it's possible to trade your Crawler for another during a mission, but as a solo strategy it's not ideal.

Personally, I'd recommend playing through the single-player campaign cooperatively with a friend; each player can then pick a different Crawler, which increases your tactical flexibility. Having an ally on the battlefield at all times also allows you to utilize strategies like flanking and diversionary tactics.

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