- Title: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: EA LA
- ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
- Genre: Real-Time-Strategy
- Pros: Great presentation; solid gameplay, balanced factions; co-op focus; decent challenge
- Cons: More complicated than what you might be used to with C&C3
First off, for 360 owners making the transition from C&C3 to Red Alert 3, this is a completely different story set in a completely different world. There is no NOD or GDI or Tiberium to be found. Instead, it pits the Soviets against the Empire of the Rising Sun (Japan) against the Allies (Western nations). The story has the Soviets using a time machine to go back and kill Einstein before he helps create nuclear weapons. Then they come back to their present, thinking they could easily whip the West now that they don’t have any nukes, only to find that the world is greatly changed. The weaponry is very different (and completely insane), and the previously quiet and unthreatening Empire is now beating down their door. That is the world that Red Alert 3 exists in. And it is completely awesome.
You play through separate campaigns featuring the three factions, and their stories are told through some hilarious cutscenes. Now, C&C has always been known for cheesy FMV, but Red Alert 3 takes it way over the top. Tim Curry, George Takei, JK Simmons, Jenny McCarthy, and Gina Carano are just some of the real actors and personalities that push the boundaries of overacting and cheese. It is all done with tongue firmly in cheek and it works amazingly well.
The biggest difference is that the campaign is built around co-op. You can play every mission with a friend, or with an A.I. partner, and it completely changes the way you go about playing. A real person, obviously, is smart enough to do their own things effectively and can actually make plans with you. The A.I. partner, however, has to be used a little differently. You can’t directly control their units, but you can order them to defend or destroy specific locations and other things. You use them to kind of do the nitpicky stuff like base defense or accomplishing side objectives while you fight the main battles. It adds another layer to the gameplay that makes the whole experience feel different and fresh and really adds more strategy to the whole “real-time-strategy” deal.
Another big difference is that water is present on the maps now, and you can build structures out in the water as well as boats or amphibious units to protect them. This makes the game quite a bit more complicated because now you have to not only worry about land and air units and defenses but the water as well. Again, this adds a lot of depth to the battles and makes everything very interesting as you balance forces across multiple fronts.
Graphically, Red Alert 3 is a very nice looking game. The detail on units and buildings is a little better, but the most striking thing is that the game is very bright and colorful. Weapons produce bright colors and the environments are filled with color. Compared to C&C3, it is a pretty nice upgrade. The framerate also holds up a lot better than before as well. I also have to give props on the awesome FMV cutscenes.
The sound is also very good overall. The sounds on the battlefield are spot on, and the music is particularly good. Each faction has their own themes and musical styles, and they work very well.