Command & Conquer Rivals was announced at EA Play 2018 and is a free-to-play mobile game on its way to iOS and Android. Though it borrows many elements (including the name) from the original RTS Command & Conquer series, Command & Conquer Rivals brings a convenient, handheld spin to keep matches fast-paced.
I went hands-on with Command & Conquer Rivals at EA Play, and though the initial interface made me feel a touch out of my element, I quickly got the hang of what to do. Fans of the RTS genre will find plenty of familiarities here in unit types, strengths and weaknesses, and the kinds of strategies needed to win. But Rivals has a fresh take on the series specifically suited to short, bursty matches on small playing fields. That mobile brevity opens the game up for better accessibility for newcomers and, potentially, new types of strategies.
What is Command & Conquer Rivals?
Command & Conquer: Rivals pits two teams against one another on a battlefield of hexagons. Each side has a base, with the goal of the match being to destroy your opponent's base before they destroy yours. You can send troops to attack it, but they won't make much of a dent. Your goal instead is to capture a large missile in the center of the map before it fires. If your team owns the missile when it's ready to launch, you'll blast your opponent's base with it. Two missile hits will secure the match.
The missile is captured by troops occupying designated spaces on the board. If your team occupies a certain amount and more than your opponent, the missile is yours.
How do you play?
To capture the missile, you'll need to deploy troops, and to deploy troops, you'll have to build the buildings that produce them. Each troop and building has a certain cost in a currency of green crystals, which you gain at a steady rate throughout the match. Once you have enough, you can build the building, which will let you deploy the troop for the remainder of the match, though there's also a global cooldown to prevent you from saving up then sending out a huge wave of troops at once.
There are different types of troops assigned to different buildings, which you can select before the match. Each unit type has different strengths and weaknesses--some attack from range, some get up close. Tanks may be strong against one unit, but weak against another. You want to bring in a well-rounded team to each match so you can adapt to your opponent throughout, but also ensure you're efficiently capturing space.
Once troops are deployed, you can move them anywhere on the map by tapping them and the space you want them to occupy. You can instruct them to hold a space, such as for the missile, or attack an enemy. Simply sitting on the missile isn't enough unless you have a rock-solid defense. You'll want to send units to fight off your opponent or perform other tasks, too.
How do you win?
You win by destroying your opponent's base, which can be accomplished by hitting them twice with the missile or, if you have troops strong enough to directly attack the base, that can play a role. Mostly, you want to endeavor to hold enough ground longer than your opponent to claim the missile when it launches, but there are other factors at play.
The first is Harvesters. Harvesters do not fight and cannot be directed, but will automatically mine green crystals for you. They can be destroyed by the enemy, but as long as they're active, you'll gain power faster and be able to deploy more units. You can have multiple Harvesters active at once...but so can your opponent.
Another factor to consider are the commanders. Your team leaders have special, powerful abilities that can be used to do many different things, such as heal damaged units or do massive damage to enemies. Timely use of these abilities can result in a decisive victory, so make sure to choose your commander wisely as well as your units!
What else is there to do?
Winning and playing matches and completing achievement objectives will earn you currency, which you can spend to unlock new unit types, new commanders, and other rewards. Though we haven't yet seen what those rewards will be, unlocking new ones will be key to increasing your rank and playing against tougher players.
It's also worth mentioning that there are multiple different battlefields. I played on two different types, one with three missile capture points and one with two. Different maps will call for different strategies and units, so you'll have to plan accordingly.
When can I play?
The game hasn't launched yet, but it will have a worldwide launch for iOS and Android when it does. You can pre-register at the official website. Android players who pre-register will have a chance to be invited to a pre-alpha test of the game.
If you want to know more about Command & Conquer Rivals, ask me in the comments!