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Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (Windows)

82
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.3
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  CKeen The Great (145)
Written on  :  Aug 23, 2011
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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Summary

Screw the haters, this game is awesome.

The Good

Incredibly addicting oldschool RTS gameplay.

Stays true to the formula of the two precedent games but has enough improvements to make it feel entirely fresh.

Coop campaign is an awesome addition to the series.

Three diverse factions and tons of skirmish maps provide for endless hours of fun.

The Bad

The people that don't play it.

The Bottom Line

From since when I was a child, the Command & Conquer franchise was one of the best games series in my opinion. I remember playing Red Alert 1 when I was 3 years old and was completely blown away from it, even though I really had no idea on how to play and often just lost. When, later, Red Alert 2 came out, I downloaded it to see if it was any good and hell if it was. It is probably the finest RTS ever made. Since I liked it a lot I decided to buy it along with the expansion pack Yuri's Revenge which I found to be another classic in the C&C franchise. After some time though, I started to wonder if they would ever make another great chapter in the franchise. I've been waiting for a very long time for this game to come out, and fortunately, I am not disappointed about it. In fact, this is an excellent game and a true sequel to Red Alert 2. While it is not as amazing as Red Alert 2, this game is incredibly addicting and will have you spend hours on skirmish and online play in intense battles against all kind of opponents.

If compared to Red Alert 2 this game comes with a lot of "gameplay experiments" that make the game tactics very different if compared to the Red Alert 2 ones, although if you know how to play red alert 2 you will learn how to play this game in around 30 minutes. Some of the variations include a great expansion of naval warfare: Most buildings now can be placed on water and many units are amphibious, making the waters a vital part of the battlefield, unlike Red Alert 2 where navy was indeed useful, but in most maps it was mostly a land-air war.

The storyline is actually not as great as the first two games, but somewhat manages to be interesting enough to make it passable. After the events of the Red Alert iPhone game (Released after red alert 3 but it is a prequel of it, set between red alert 2 yr and red alert 3) the soviets find themselves surrounded by Allied forces. It is at this point that the soviet leadership decides to use the time machine, based on the plans of the original time machine deployed in Yuri's Revenge, which were stolen by the soviets (during the RA iphone campaign), they decide to travel back in time and eliminate the man behind the allies' advanced technology: Albert Einstein. They travel back and eliminate him in the same manner as he eliminated Hitler in red alert 1. When the soviets arrive back at their time, they find out they're winning the war against the Allies in Europe. Unfortunately for them there are also some bad news: Albert Einstein's non-existence prevented the development of nuclear technology and so, nukes were never dropped on Japan, causing it to become a superpower just as powerful as the USSR and the Allies. The soviets quickly find themselves overwhelmed not only by the Allies but also by this new Empire of the Rising Sun. Only the alliance between the Allies and the Soviets will be able to stop the Empire, but will the alliance between the two factions endure? You will have to find this out by yourself!

Like in the precedent Red Alert games, there is a campaign for each faction where you, a newly-recruited commander, need to drive your country to victory against its enemies. The campaign missions are good, although I find them to be too easy, but this also applies to the Red Alert 2 campaign anyways. The missions are introduced by full-motion videos, just like in the older chapters. The videos are extremely well done and the actors perform very well. So basically, the briefings are just like how you would expect them to be in a C&C game.

The MCVs return in Red Alert 3, but their function has been modified a little to differentiate the factions further. The Allies build just like in the other red alert games: A structure can be ordered to be constructed on the sidebar and once it is ready it can be placed on the battlefield. The soviets however, will have to place the building which will be constructed directly there. The empire of the rising sun MCV instead produces nanocores, small robots that can be transformed into buildings by ordering them to deploy at a selected location. This makes the empire much more mobile than the allies and soviets, but however the empire buildings are significantly more costly than the Soviet/Allied ones. There are a lot of new units and some of the Red Alert 2 ones return in this game, like the almighty Apocalypse tank, the powerful tesla coil and the devastating Kirov Airship, as well as many others, making it feel just like the good old red alert days. The game is not PERFECTLY balanced (but then again, are there perfectly balanced RTS games? Red Alert 1/2

The skirmish gamemode returns as well and is just as enjoyable as before. While the maps are different due to the new gameplay, for example the ore fields being replaced by ore nodes, that work like the supply depots in Generals and the ore mines in Warcraft. Unlike before, you can pick a precise AI commander as an allied or enemy. This AI has its own personality and tactics, and will say a number of things when facing the player. For example, the Soviet commander Zhana specializes in air force and uses swarms of Twinblades and Kirovs to overwhelm her enemies, while the Soviet commander Oleg prefers to use tanks and other vehicles to crush the enemy. The AI is also smarter than before and will expand and construct better bases. It will also do a number of things to make a player's life harder. For example if one wants to capture the AI Construction Yard with an engineer, the Construction Yard will unpack into an MCV before the engineer can reach it, making it impossible for him to capture it. The AI manages to be fun and, to an extent, challenging, but of course the real fun comes when facing human players in gigantic and epic battles. Red Alert offers excellent online play up to 6 players on a skirmish match and up to 2 players can play the original game campaign in cooperative, making it definitively more enjoyable than playing it in single player.

I think this game is great, yet not everyone agrees with me (obviously). There are some people that seem to hate the hell out of it for reasons that are for me senseless. Now, I'm a respectful person regarding other people's opinions but by reading some of the reviews here and there I was very disappointed at how they gave a low score to the game without coming up with REAL reasons to do so. I respect everyone's reviews but I feel the need of commenting some of the critics given to this game:

"The campaign is too easy. I beat all missions on the highest difficulty in very little time. It's just not fun.": Tell you what, I beat the whole Allied campaign of red alert 2 on hard in less than one day. Yet the people that give this game low scores seem to praise the hell out of Red Alert 2 while it has the exact same problem: the campaigns are too easy. Therefore, this critique is 100% invalid.

"The graphics are cheesy and make this game look like a game for children!": I don't judge a video game from its graphics: The gameplay is what makes a game fun. So I suppose that since video game classics such as Doom 2, Commander Keen or Warcraft 2 are cheesy and stupid because they use bad graphics by today's standards right? Well I still play these games and I consider them to be masterpieces no matter the graphics. The graphics in this game are good and fit extremely well the overall comicality of Red Alert 3 that was present in Red Alert 2 as well (Floating Discs and Giant Squids, anyone?). The only thing I can agree with is that while this game certainly doesn't have the most advanced graphics out there (and I don't mind), it requires you to have a super video card to play it. Frankly, they could have avoided this.

"The plot makes no sense! Why are the Soviets traveling back in time? There was no war between Allies and Soviets at the end of Yuri's Revenge." : Play Red Alert iPhone and you will know. The plot may not be the greatest in the red alert franchise, but it works and makes sense.

"The new faction is stupid and some of the new units of the Allies and Soviets are stupid as well. What are those Sickles and Cryocopters?" :As I pointed out already, this game is not meant to be taken 100% seriously. Red Alert 2 introduced some comicality (As I said already, Floating Discs and Giant Squids, anyone?) and Red Alert 3 expanded it further, and I consider this to be a good move. Regarding the new faction, just because one person doesn't like it it doesn't mean it is awful. I think it's a little overpowered because of a few units (urghhh rocket angels are just too strong because they can attack all targets and are effective against all of them) but then again it is a welcomed variation and it is overall well-constructed. If you don't like the comicality of Red Alert 3 you probably don't like Red Alert 2 either, so I suggest you stick with Red Alert 1 which is a little more serious.

What's up with all these women on each faction. Apart from their look, it's almost like a porn movie for how they act towards the commander." It frustrates me how this idea was taken straight from red alert 2 and people don't want to realize it. Do I really need to mention how Zofia makes a proposition to the commander at the end of the Soviet campaign? And do you think Eva Lee acts completely differently from Eva McKenna? (The ending of the allied campaign in red alert 3 is JUST LIKE the one of Yuri's Revenge). Ok I might agree that they could have avoided certain attitudes, but I really did not find anything wrong about the women. They looked nice (the advisors), and briefed you. What's wrong about this?

As I said already though, everyone has their own opinions but please, back up your claims with facts, and please FINISH the game and play it online before reviewing it. I really don't think it is THAT bad that it can't be finished.

But anyway, the bottom line: Red Alert 3 is an amazing game that is especially fun to play online with friends. I enjoyed most of it and while it does have a few flaws here and there, it is another great game in the C&C franchise. I think if you played and liked Red Alert 1 and 2 (but even if you didn't), you should buy this game. It manages to be fun without being complicated unlike many RTS games that come out today. And this is all a game needs to be: fun!