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Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 review

Solid
AT A GLANCE
  • Very funny
  • Very inventive
  • Designed for co-op play
  • Very awkward controls
  • Some co-op plays separately
  • Might be too goofy for some

High above a laser-crossed battlefield, a 700 kilo Brown Bear wearing a metal hat floats gently toward Earth, four paws dangling limply from his parachute harness. It’s hard not to like this game. Red Alert’s always been a hardcore strategy series, but a deeply silly one. Twelve years later, and on a different platform, it’s still both those things.

The plot is that Tim Curry has gone back in time to kill Einstein, in order to prevent the US from achieving military supremacy through nuclear weapons. Curry plays the Soviet Premier, but the scheme also benefits Japan, and so the three superpowers battle it out in this brand new timeline. They’re impressively different: the Allies rely on deception, with tanks that disguise themselves as rocks, the Soviets field Tesla-powered force, and the Japanese Empire use flexibility to compensate for their lack of an airforce. Each faction has their own campaign, and each campaign is designed for co-op play. That’s unprecedented and a profoundly good thing. If you play alone, an AI commander takes charge of half the friendly forces.

Co-op is excellent, but Red Alert 3 doesn’t quite pull off the coup it could have. Too many missions place you and your co-commander miles apart, and give you no reason to cross paths – essentially then, you end up playing single-player games in tandem.

The bigger problem is that there’s still no slick way to control a game this complex on a 360 pad – it’s like trying to have a conversation via a translator. Technically there’s nothing you can’t say, and it doesn’t take much longer to say it, but some of the immediacy is lost, it’s needlessly circuitous, and the whole thing just feels uncomfortable.

Each unit in Red Alert 3 has a special ability, and selecting which of them should use it and when is fiddly. But on PC the fiddliness is the fun – a mouse is designed for fiddling. A controller isn’t, and using it for this just isn’t satisfying, even once you get quick at it. That’s its only major issue. The campaigns are glorious trash, hilariously hammed up in the cutscenes by an expertly chosen geekgasm cast. And the units are inspired: psionic dolphins, human cannonballs, dogs in cars, and yes, parachuting bears. It might not feel at home on 360, but it’s still hard not to like Red Alert 3.

Nov 11, 2008

More Info

Release date: Oct 28 2008 - PC
Mar 23 2009 - PS3
Nov 11 2008 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Los Angeles
Franchise: Command and Conquer
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
16+

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10 comments

  • PatHan-bHai - June 29, 2013 11:27 a.m.

    This game is truly awesome but it's a shame how people keep thrashing it to play crap like COD.......
  • redalert3 - July 19, 2010 5:28 p.m.

    this is not a 7 out of 10. I got this monthsa ago and still can't put it down, it's a great game, one that is underestimated. The simple controls are all you really need to win matches. trust me, this is a really good RTS, and it's been misunderstood by many of my friends
  • Akiira - November 12, 2008 8:26 a.m.

    get it on the pc
  • chester_spartan - November 12, 2008 12:46 a.m.

    First! definitly a rent
  • O0o0ELEMENT - December 8, 2008 1:49 a.m.

    i played the demo.. its awesome
  • 9813 - November 14, 2008 3:47 p.m.

    they shoud bring a new type of remote or touch pad espetially for strategy games cos they could probibly find a way since it's microsoft cos my laptop isn't good enough for the computor version or i would get that and its cheaper
  • jar-head - November 12, 2008 1:07 p.m.

    agreed^. Some RTS Can be played on the 360, like End war(Wheres their review!!!) and the future Halo Wars, both were Ment to be easy to play on the 360, but CC Never got a great foothold other than pc, same goes to starcraft. for most enjoyable fun, play this on the pc, but goodluck pimping your computer for graphics cards...
  • Simonskusek - April 25, 2009 11:08 p.m.

    lol war bears are the shit
  • Gonzo4Life - May 4, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    "lets findsome, flat land"-MCV
  • Gonzo4Life - May 4, 2009 9:06 p.m.

    "lets find some flat land"-MCV

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