ESRB Rating: T
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Review by: John Gustafson
Red Alert 3 makes definite strides in refining and improving the RTS experience in the Command and Conquer series but also makes damaging design choices specific to consoles that hamper the overall enjoyment.
Longtime fans will love the campy story with accompanying live action videos featuring respected actors and personalities. Like any good B-movie, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes a point to hammer that fact home to the player. The best examples for newcomers are the wacky units available to different factions like grizzly bears and Asian schoolgirl killers.
Gamers choose to play as the Soviet Union, Allied Nation, or the (new) Empire of the Rising Sun in campaign as well as in online skirmishes. As always with C&C, the nations are well balanced with obvious weaknesses and strengths for opposing units that demand the player memorize and exploit in battle. The campaign also features full co-operative gameplay with an AI partner or a friend online. Surprisingly, the AI is competent and more times than not makes intelligent decisions during play.
Additionally, the campaign and online feature naval warfare…a bit too much. It is nice to see a rather misrepresented aspect of combat on display and in action, but it is gets too much time in comparison to traditional play.
The downfall to Red Alert 3 is its awkward control scheme. In an effort to give the depth of control players need, a wide assortment of commands and instructions are available to the player via multiple button presses and a radial selection menu. Instead of being a streamlined process, the system is cumbersome and buggy. Unit selection and assignment are randomly accurate, which in frenzied sieges cannot be tolerated. Most frustrating, though, is the times when it does work, amplifying the madness in the instances it does not.
Yet, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 does provide a steady amount of entertainment for RTS fans. The story and actors really set this game apart from the competition.
For more info, www.commandandconquer.com