Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

With the largest Hollywood cast ever to be used in a video game and such outstanding graphics for a RTS this game instantly piqued my interest. RTS is far from my favourite genre but something I do dabble in when the mood takes me so having been highly disappointed with C&C: Tiberium Wars on the 360 I thought I should go in and have another look at this long lasting game series (can you believe the first one was released in 1995?!). For those of you who have not played any of the Red Alert series it is set in an alternate reality in which WWII never happened and the USSR is still a force to be reckoned with. In the first two outings of the series the fight was between the USSR and The Allied Forces (USA and England) but Red Alert 3 introduces an interesting twist when a time machine trip (don’t ask) to eliminate Einstein creates yet another change and introduces the Empire of the Sun (Japan) as a further mortal enemy to the Soviets.

Obviously one obstacle that this genre suffers from is the transformation from a PC game to a console game, and whilst there will still be plenty of people determined to stay with their keyboard and mouse the control system in Red Alert does give it a level of accessibility that wasn’t there in previous next-gen RTS. One improvement is the selection of troops which no longer requires a box to be drawn around the troops but is almost a “colouring in” method of scribblng your area over all the troops you want. Although this seems bizarre it actually leads to far easier organisation of troops although I’m not so sure how effective it would be on the PC version.

So lets start at the beginning, the tutorial. Whilst C&C games generally require you to play at least some of the tutorial to become accustomed to new features Red Alert 3 successfully created one of the most irritating and unnecessarily long-winded tutorials known to mankind. As it has been a while since I played any C&C game I sat down and started to plough my way through the tutorial only to find it “hosted” by three tanks, one from each army, talking to me in aggravating voices whilst fighting amongst themselves. Although this concept may amuse some people for 2 seconds the fact that their mucking about is unskippable is immensely frustrating. I’m sorry, but in my opinion a nice friendly voice and a pop up box with instructions is far less innocuous than talking tanks! After completing the tutorial I was displeased to say the least that I had already spent almost two hours on the game with much of the tutorial being filled with aimless banter or advanced tactics that 90% of people will never remember let alone use.

Possibly the most ingenious new feature is that of a co-commander, which can be replaced by a friend if you wish to play co-op. The co-commander is assigned according to the mission and although you cannot control his/her resources or troops directly you can issue orders to the co-commander as a separate command to your own troops. The AI on the co-commanders is excellent and although it takes a while to get use to directing him/her as well as directing your own army it is well worth it as flanking is always handy. Additionally if your own army is too weak you can always get the co-commander to plan for an attack to make sure you are not out-gunned. Resources such as credits are shared between yourself and the co-commander which must be remembered at all times to ensure funds are distributed where needed. The only issue with the co-commander set up is the colour coding. Whilst your troops are red (soviet), blue (allied) or yellow (empire), your co-commanders troops will then be dark green and if you encounter as I did reinforcements they tend to be purple. Although it makes for a very pretty map with all these colours on it it does make it a lot harder to instantly know what you can interact with, who the enemy are etc.

All RTS eventually make you fight horrific naval battles that make you want to hide under the duvet till it’s over but Red Alert 3 has made naval warfare a major part of the game, therefore expanding your options whilst at sea and making it a far more comfortable experience. A major difference between Red Alert’s technique and those that have gone before it is the introduction of amphibious vehicles which are able to change in a transformer type manner to travel on both land and sea, sometimes even changing weapons to aid the transition. This leads to warfare that is far less terrifying and far more flexible, meaning you don’t have to be a strategic genius to survive out in the water.

The maps are realistic in detail (ok I can’t verify the ones in Russia but I did find the Palace Pier in Brighton) and the all-star cast makes for a very well played out story that doesn’t make you cringe. Each faction is noticeably different to play as with unique building styles for all with weaknesses and strengths to fit. Each army obviously has their own specialties too although they may not all seem fair – whilst the Allies have fighting dogs, the Soviets have trained bears, and the Empire….well they have giant samurai robots!







2 responses to “Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3”

  1. Thomas avatar

    What do you think of the new expansion?
    Myself, i will only buy it to obtain the new units for multilayer however i was only to find that they may not be in it? I know this is not written in concrete yet but the campaign missions just bore me and i just want to start building my new strategies with cool new units. why does red alert staff hate me ><

  2. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    I’m amazed it took this long to get Red Alert 3 reviewed! I’ve been hypothetically making love to this game since November!

    Still, absolutely love this game, really brings the series back on track and hope they don’t stop.

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