Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Review
Xbox 360 | PC
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 box art
System: X360, PC 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: Nov. 11, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

There's a lot going on, and there are a lot of ways to spend your scarce resources. You mine ore for money, and have to spend that money creating and supplying an army. Pretty much everything you make is vulnerable to attack, and your various units have seemingly numberless abilities. Some can cross water, others can take over certain types of enemy units, some can attack airborne enemies, others are vehicles that change function depending on who's driving them. You'll have to learn slightly different systems for each of the three sides.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 screenshot

Also, in this tutorial you get to see the in-game graphics, and they're not nearly as pretty as you might have expected given the photorealistic cutscene you just experienced. There's not a whole lot of detail to anything, the colors are dull, and the shadows of trees seem to flicker (perhaps that's supposed to look like wind).

After trying to remember so many tutorial instructions, you'll probably look to the campaign with some trepidation. There's a pleasant surprise in store, however; the game recommends taking on the three stories in the following order: Soviet Union, Allies, Rising Sun, and the onscreen commands provide quite a bit of guidance. During the first mission, for example, you'll pretty much be told how to win each step. You'll still be at a loss now and then, but it's encouraging that the developers didn't assume you'd be able to just dive in.

The three-tiered difficulty system (easy, medium, hard) will also be a blessing to those who haven't beaten countless RTS before on PC, with the easy mode letting you find your way around without getting beaten to a pulp. The game's co-op aspect (you can either play with a friend, or have the computer control the other general) adds a little complexity and sometimes causes minor glitch problems, but by and large it's not too much of an issue.

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The title's bizarre sense of style really comes into play in the campaign mode as well. For some reason, there's a lot of heavy-metal music, which was probably included more to appeal to the game's target young-male audience than to capture the spirit of a sci-fi battle. In addition to taking liberties with World War II history, Red Alert 3 spruces up the technology of the day: you'll fight with, among other quirky weaponry, bears and mecha. (Regarding the latter, EA has no problem exploiting Japanese stereotypes for a few laughs in the face of political correctness.)

In the end, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is a game that future console RTS titles should imitate in a lot of ways. Its radial system is perfect for squeezing a computer keyboard into a current-gen console controller, and even if it's a little too complicated for genre newcomers, it makes a protracted and sincere effort to keep them up to speed. The cutscenes are a bit too bad (even though it's intentional), and the game's style is far more over-the-top than it needs to be. But, it has its fun moments, and there's a sense of accomplishment in learning how to beat a mission.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.5
Graphics
The live-action cutscenes look great, but the in-game visuals lack definition and feature some odd flickering.
4.9
Control
At last, a console RTS that isn't miserable to navigate, though we wish you could zoom out more.
3.1
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Sound effects aren't all that immersive, and the heavy metal music doesn't seem to fit the scenes.
3.4
Play Value
Despite its flaws, it's reasonably fun to play.
3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • It's always better with someone else. Fight your way through three campaigns solo, or join forces with your friends or one of nine, in-game commanders, each with unique personalities and play styles, in missions designed from the ground for co-op play.
  • Star-studded storytelling. Command & Conquer's trademark live-action videos return in HD, with over 60 minutes of footage featuring the largest cast in the history of the Command & Conquer franchise.
  • Command the seas, conquer the world. Experience gameplay as for the first time in the series, waging war on the water will be every bit as important as dominating by land and air. Gain strategic advantages by controlling resources in the seas and mounting three-pronged attacks from all directions.
  • Ready your man cannons! Armored War Bears and anime-inspired psychic school girls join your favorite Red Alert units like Sonic Dolphins, Tesla Troopers, Attack Dogs, and the ever-popular Tanya.
  • A New threat from the East - The deadly Empire of the Rising Sun is a technological terror, with designs influenced by a mixture of anime, science-fiction, martial arts and robot culture.


  • Screenshots / Images
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