For many, Command and Conquer Generals is the black sheep of the Command and Conquer family, a C&C spinoff title that eschews both the standard C&C base-building format and command bar for something more similar to Starcraft. Regarded as a curious experiment by the majority of the fanbase (and featuring some of the most cringingly tounge-in-cheek dialogue ever uttered), Generals nonetheless managed to do decently well enough for itself, well enough that an expansion titled Zero Hour was published a short time later. Zero Hour refined a few of the obvious shortfallings of the first title, modified the physics engine, and (most shockingly) added a total of nine new sub-factions (ten if one unlocked the 'boss' general). Although not entirely new factions, each of the sub-factions took a particular portion of the tech tree and ran with it, so China's Nuke General began the game with both nuclear shells and nuclear reactors already researched for his tanks, and had one or two additional tech upgrades in that vein. The U.S. Air Force General couldn't field tanks but had a large advantage with the games most ruthless aircraft, etc. Although most of the changes were fairly simple, the new subfactions gave the game legs to last a little longer.
|The Devastator is a new armored nuclear tank that cuts through armor.|
In order to install Shockwave, you'll first need a working copy of Command and Conquer Generals and the Zero Hour expansion installed and running. Shockwave is a standalone mod, which means that you can still run the original Generals and Zero Hour after you've installed it, which is a good thing if you plan on playing either of those games, but mostly just means you'll need to give the mod permission to modify General's files each time it runs.
|Want superior armor? The US Armor General fields heavy tanks and firepower|
Now, as far as the game itself, I can't help but feel that your milage may vary based on how devoted you were to the original Zero Hour, but I can't help but feel that Shockwave improves on it in almost every way. Although Zero Hour's sub-factions had their differences, they were for the most part pretty simple. Can't build tanks but has an aircraft that has two additional missiles. Builds Avengers for $300 less. The most radically different was probably the laser general, with a basic tank that fired lasers instead of shells and a laser based defensive turret instead of a missile based one.
|Two Tigersharks, an APC and a Battle Fortress move out. All are new|
|No Gatling here. The Nuclear Overlord can be upgraded with Tac-nuke missiles|
|The GLA Salvage general gives the GLA access to actual heavy armor|
The AI also seems a bit more competent (although it will still be brainlessly stupid at times), fielding much larger armies and slowly adapting to your weak points. In fact, the AI can be downright frustrating with it's insistence to beat you, because it often gives no breathing room to make mistakes on the hardest difficulty. And before you ask, yes, it definitely has an advantage over you in the cash department, and it will make it quite clear very quickly.
Overall, Shockwave is an excellent mod that gives the Generals a very good reason to be installed on your computer once again. The deeper differentiation between each of the factions adds much needed replay value and extends the life of Generals in an impressive fashion. Shockwave is a must for any fan of C&C: Generals, and you can grab your copy here to make your Generals experience complete.