Command & Conquer: Rivals seeks to bring the storied series to mobile devices, and manages to create a competent and frantic real time strategy game. Longtime series fans will likely walk away quite disappointed, but the kind of deep, engrossing long-game experience that the older series entries offered isn't what Rivals is all about. This is a game about short bursts of progress toward a goal, and it manifests itself accordingly in gameplay. Essentially, there will be one or more objectives on a map that you and an enemy will be fighting over. This enemy, outside of the game's tutorial, will always be another real human playing the game. The objective is to plan out your use of specific types of units, when and where to put them and what to have them do, in order to gain control of the objective, destroy the enemy base, or sometimes both.
Background: The Command & Conquer series has always been known for an engrossing storyline, exploration, deep and careful unit planning, and running a long, grindy game with a goal in mind. To properly enjoy this title, you'll have to throw away everything you know about Command & Conquer. The name is here, as are some design conventions and the in-universe lore. That's about it. With expectations stripped away, you'll find that this game is just deep enough to fulfill its purpose; it's a frantic and fast-paced real-time strategy game on as small a scale as possible, optimized for PvP. You'll pick your units, figure out where best to put them, and change up your strategy by the second. Whether you want to suppress your enemy with a steady stream of medium-strength units, use foot soldiers to control an objective and fearsome mechs to defend them, or lull your enemy into a false sense of security before unleashing your titan and wiping them off the map, you can do it all. That particular series mainstay, the freedom, is at the core of this game just as it has been at the core of the series for decades. You'll earn new units, upgrades, and other goodies as you progress, or pay, of course. This is a mobile game, after all. These goodies change up the meta and open up new ways to approach the same goals, but the core game remains.
Impact: As the game stands, it's hard not to see it as threadbare, even if you try to come into the experience without the baggage of previous series entries. EA will likely fix this over time, and turn the game into a real treat. As it stands, it's serviceable enough. The promise is there, especially in light of EA launching a Champions tournament in-game not unlike the one found in FIFA, where better play at any level can put you at the top of the ranks. The company is planning on throwing this game into its mass competitive mix, so it's obvious that fixes, new content, and updates meant to change the balance and the multiplayer meta will all come in due time. For now, pick this up if you want a core real time strategy experience and the thrill of outsmarting other players.