reviews\ Nov 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - PC - Review

This is the kind of insanity that has kept the Red Alert franchise alive and running. Previous games in this series offered more "tongue and cheek" humor, but this latest game pulls out all the stops to give players one fun ride. The end result of this makes the game a blast to play, with a deeply engaging storyline that will have players up for hours on end just to find out what happens next.

The premise behind Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is pure insanity, and players will lap up every minute of it. The Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse, and they have created a Time Machine to go back in time to eliminate Albert Einstein, which is the person that has given their enemies superior technical capabilities. After the mission is complete and Soviets head back into their own time frame they find out that something has gone terribly wrong. Killing Albert Einstein has given the rise of a new enemy: the Japanese Empire of the Rising Sun. Now there are three super powers in the world each with one goal in mind: to take over the world and crush their enemies.

There are now three playable factions in Red Alert 3: Soviet Union, Japan, and the Allies (US & Eastern Europe). One of the major differences between the three factions is the way base building is done. Players familiar with the series will feel right at home with the Allies way of doing things. Players purchase a building in the build menu and when it is ready players click on the map and the building is made. The Soviet Union allows players to place a building on the map instantly and it will be constructed over time. This means they can place multiple buildings on the map and just wait till completion instead of Allies which can only do one at a time. The Japanese way of doing things is completely different. Players select what they want to build and after the build time is finished an egg shaped vehicle comes out of the main bay. Then players must guide the egg to where they want it placed for it to be built. This is a huge advantage to the Japanese faction as it allows them to expand their empire at a very fast pace, but it leaves the pods vulnerable while on the move.

Bombs away!

The game is chalked full of cliques and this is immediately made evident when players try out the Japanese faction. The reason for this is that all of their vehicles can transform into other types of unites. For instance a tank might transform into an airplane, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Other units carry this tradition with ninja's that act as assassins and crazy insane units that are almost pulled straight from anime cartoons. Not leaving the Allies out they have tuxedo wearing spies and the Soviets have canons that allows them to move any unit over a body of water, hence the parachuting bears. This game leaves no clique alone and this makes for a very good time.

Another new feature that gamers will love is the navel combat. Many games only stick to land and air combat, but always leave the water based units out in the dark. This game really places a nice emphasis on navel battles. While many of the units can go on land and sea, it is nice to have this variety in a RTS game. Players can even build a variety of structures on the water, so this provides new areas for players to have to try to defend from their enemies. In fact many of the times most of the game's resources will be out in the sea for players to try to obtain and keep.

Navel battles rock!

This game has a few different modes to partake in: campaign with co-op, skirmish, and multiplayer. Campaign mode takes place over twenty-seven missions, with each faction getting nine missions a piece to play in. The story will follow the events described on the onset of the article. Players will have fun as they try each of the faction's unique gameplay elements and find the ones that suits them best for the inevitable multiplayer matches.

What makes the campaign unique is that for the first time ever in a Command and Conquer game, players will be able to play each mission with the computer AI, or better yet another human. The co-op mode is wonderful, especially if players can find someone to play with online, since the AI is not great but palatable. This is a great addition to this series and really makes it more fun to play and adds a little more strategy. Many times players will allow one person to take care of one part of the map while they take care of another. This will allow for some pretty intense moments, especially if players do not effectively communicate to each other what they are supposed to do.

Skirmish mode allows players to instantly jump into a game, and choose as any of the game’s factions to get their Command and Conquer fix. As always the multiplayer mode really shines, because of the fast paced action that this series is known for. The only thing that is slightly disappointing is the lack of new multiplayer modes. Players will find delight in playing with the new factions, but this game would have benefited from some new modes.

One thing fans of the Command and Conquer series will really enjoy is the various story telling cut-screens. Instead of using the in-game engine or getting CGI movies, the developers get real live actors and make it seem like they are actually apart of the story as it is unfolding. Even though the story gets really "cheesy" at times, this form of storytelling really draws the players into the game more so and makes it feel more realistic. The actors did a great job of conveying the seriousness of what was happening during the game and made it really believable.

Base building time!

The graphics for Red Alert 3 are oozing with detail. Unlike the nitty-gritty realism found in Tiberium 3, this game goes for a more "comic book" style graphics. This means that the world is full of bright colors that will really pop off your monitors. Going into each location is always a treat because the world is populated by a lot of details, such as beach umbrellas that litter seashores, which is contrasted by the onslaught of incoming military vehicles; it is really a sight to behold. The same holds true for all of the units that players will have control of. Each unit is extremely detailed and it is a great to see them in combat. This is especially true for the Japanese units, since they have the ability to transform into different unit types. Players will be amazed by the transformation animation alone, as well as the new firepower it will provide.

Another thing that makes the graphics outstanding is the special effects. It seems like every so often the crown for best water effects goes to a new game, and this year it is Red Alert 3. Players will be dumbfounded by how great it looks, particularly when the sun hits it at various angles, it will almost bring a tear to their eyes. Besides the gorgeous water, everything else looks really good, from the gunfire, explosions that will rock the land, and more. Needless to say this is one great looking game.

The music and sound effects are both great. The musical score always plays the right songs at the right time, which helps players overcome any obstacle that they are currently facing. This is made even more so since each faction has its own musical themes that play during their campaigns. The sound effects will have players thinking that they are in the midst of a real battle with the various explosions and heavy gunfire. The voices for all the units are also good, and many have humorous one-liners that spurt out when selecting them.

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is rated Teen for blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes, and violence.

The system requirements are as follows:

Windows XP or Vista (32 bit)

2.2 GHz or greater processor

1 GB of RAM

8X or faster CD/DVD drive

6.3 GB of disk space

64 MB Video Card

Direct X 9.0c

Review Scoring Details for Command & Conquer Red Alert 3

Gameplay: 8.2

Fans of this series will feel right at home with Red Alert 3. Even though many gamers will see this as a good thing, it is also a smidgen bad as well. The reason is that the game does not try to expand in any one area to become more then it is. If players are fine with this then they will love what this game does provide.

Graphics: 8.9

The graphics look like a comic book come to life. Players will love the colorful backgrounds and character models. The water effects are also a sight to behold. The high framerate also makes Red Alert 3 a blast to play.

Sound: 8.8

The music is really well done. It will help players maintain their determination when they are on the cusp of defeat to try to push back the enemy and regain their dominance. Sound effects for explosions, gun fire, and more are really well done . Players will also love the actors chosen to do all of the corny cutscenes that really brings life into this game.

Difficulty: Easy

If you have played any of the previous Command and Conquer games then you will feel right at home here and understand what to do and get adjusted to the new things pretty quickly.

Concept: 9.0

Making the entire game a co-op experience was a brilliant idea! The only problem with it is the invite system needs to be better, but other than that, this will be the new "it" feature for RTS games. Players will also love the naval elements in the game as it adds a more strategic aspect to it.

Multiplayer: 8.6

The online support for Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is really well done. Getting on and playing online is really smooth and I didn’t have any issues playing online or even via LAN. EA has put in a lot of support for the original game, so players know that the support will continue for this game and that there will be plenty more battles in the future for them to partake in. The only bad thing is the co-op is a little to cumbersome to actually start playing, once it is done, it is a blast.

Overall: 8.6

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is a great RTS game that will keep players going for months to come, and a welcome addition to the Command and Conquer series. There is plenty to do with the 27 single-player missions and the plethora of multiplayer options, especially the new co-op feature. This is one game that will not leave your PC for quite some time.


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