|System: PC, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA LA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 28, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (12 online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The three factions present in Red Alert 3 make for some very interesting skirmishes. While not particularly unique in the way they gather resources (all three requiring ore refineries and power plants), the differences among the units is key. Nearly every unit comes equipped with a secondary attack mode or skill, while the Empire of the Rising Sun's units can practically transform into entirely different units with different functions. These additional modes add another level of complexity, strategy, and depth to the game.
The Chronosphere and Iron Curtain abilities make return appearances in Red Alert 3, along with a whole host of unlockable abilities that can be gained during missions. Many of these special abilities include things like airstrikes, gravity beams, and upgrades to specific unit types. Overall, Red Alert 3 brings a lot of popular traditional units to the fray while not being afraid to throw in some big changes, most of which come in the form of the Empire's units. Giant robot-like units and sea-to-air transformable units are just a taste of what is new. And, despite all the new additions to the Red Alert formula, a relative balance is achieved among the three factions. There are specific advantages that are noticeable, but, for the most part, each faction has the ability to hold its own against the others.
The musical score and sound effects can only be described as being true to the Red Alert series. Hard-sounding guitars are a staple of the music found in Red Alert 3. So, while the more lofty and classic sounding scores normally found in RTS games have been dumped in favor of a more modern, adrenaline-pumping one, it does nothing short of fit the atmosphere perfectly. The sound effects won't steal the show, but they aren't anything to laugh at either. Strong-sounding and seemingly accurate, they complement the game's style well without causing a distraction.
The crux of the Command & Conquer series is the use of live-action cutscenes and acting to tell the story. The story itself isn't anything special-full of predictability and standard plot twists involving traitors and double-crosses. Yet, Red Alert 3 understands exactly what it is, and that is a giant cheese ball of ham-fisted story telling and over-the-top gameplay. With that in mind, it is nearly impossible to find fault in the ridiculous acting and one-liners that permeate the story. Instead, these things just bolster and support the overall feel of Red Alert 3, elevating it above and making it stand out from the rest.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 isn't the greatest RTS game on the market right now. And, as far as gameplay is concerned, it is as traditional and standard as they come. However, what it lacks in the way of new gameplay design, it makes up for in flavor, attitude, and exaggeration. While these elements have mostly to do with the style of the game rather than the gameplay, they certainly contribute to the fun factor. So, whether you're playing Red Alert 3's campaign with a friend or fighting it out with a bunch of friends online, Red Alert 3 will deliver. Veterans of the series should find it familiar enough to love while being introduced to a little more, while newcomers will enjoy a less serious romp through the RTS genre. In the end, Red Alert 3 isn't the best dressed guy at the party, but he will certainly turn some heads and keep everyone entertained.
CCC Freelance Writer