Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Uprising review

  • Playing with old favorite units
  • Cool new units
  • Playing as telekinetic Yuriko
  • Disobedient units
  • Obnoxiously limiting missions
  • No multiplayer whatsoever

See if you can guess which RTS we’re talking about here: “Your units’ pathfinding abilities are somewhat erratic, they’ll frequently stand around watching a friendly structure get destroyed, and controlling large numbers of them is awkward.” Correct! It was the one you said. And all of them. So we’re used to this stuff. We occasionally conducted shrill, incredulous and rather one-sided conversations with some of our less cooperative soldiers in Red Alert 3, but it didn’t spoil the game for us. We loved it.

It spoils Uprising, a non-costly standalone episode of new single-player campaigns and game modes. There’s a small speck of spittle on our screen as we write this, and the number of heated, profane rows we’ve had with 50-pixel computer game characters in the last few hours is enough that we don’t even recall which was so exasperating as to trigger an actual ejection of saliva mid-vituperation. It’s not something we’re proud of.

There are two reasons Uprising causes particularly acute levels of impotent nerd rage. The first is the missions. They suck conspicuously. Red Alert 3’s campaign had a few duds too, but its prevailing philosophy was that when it took away your tools (like the ability to build a base) it would give you something cool to play with instead (like the KING OF ALL ROBOTS). Uprising’s philosophy is that when it takes away your tools (which almost every mission does), it gives the enemy something cool to violate you with (which they do vigorously). When the few units it does let you use start to behave unexpectedly, it’s pretty much Game Over.

The first Soviet mission, which for some reason must be completed to unlock any of the other faction campaigns, is a perfect example. It starts you with a limited number of the most boring unit in the game, and ends with you facing new Allied artillery pieces that can wipe out your entire force before you ever even see them. When your objective instructions are clear, it’s Simon Says: you just have to do what you’re told when you’re told to do it. When they’re not, it’s Simon Wordlessly Incinerates Everyone You’ve Ever Known, Pausing To Flick A Smoldering Cigarrete Onto Their Blackened Bones Before Turning Away In Disgust.

In addition to a mini-campaign for each faction, Uprising also adds the Commander’s Challenge mode: a global campaign in which you choose which mission and which faction to play. The idea is to unlock new units by defeating a commander who uses them, which sounds nice until you consider the obvious implications. As well as giving each of your opponents a cool toy you can’t use, it means you start with no interesting units whatsoever. For mission after mission after mission, it’s tank rush, tank rush, tank rush.

More Info

Release date: Mar 12 2009 - PC (US)
Mar 12 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
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


  • Stabby_Joe - April 1, 2009 11:28 p.m.

    Why did the previews put so much emphasis on the Yuriko character? Its a school girl... and given the portrayal of the live action actresses, to get anything in terms of sex appeal is just... ewwww... ...this isn't Japan...
  • Spybreak8 - April 3, 2009 7:18 a.m.

    Yea I'll probably get this for the Commander's challenges some time as I loved the challenges in Generals Zero Hour.
  • Zeldrin - April 2, 2009 11:41 a.m.

    With regards to the file name. Kane's Wrath for C&C3 was "Cnc3ep1.exe", which kinda kills your theory. To me, the campaigns do suck, but I love the Commander's challenge.
  • Entrepreneur - April 3, 2009 4:13 p.m.

    I always wished EA could spend more time on their C&C releases, the series are legendary and games are quite enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but EA always seems to push the developers to release as early as possible thus lower overall quality and leaving many bugs to be ironed out and some to never be fixed... Zero Hour was a good example of how a good game can be ruined by such practices... nevertheless I'll cop this and check it out, I can never get my full RTS fix from C&C, it's always inviting!
  • magicwalnuts0 - April 3, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    I can't believe how crappy RA3's A.I. is, and I can't believe they didn't fix it with this one. Keep the units on the standard guard stance, and they will sit by while some unit without splash damage will systematically decimate the entire force one by one. Put them on aggressive stance and some will wander off to get slaughtered while the rest often run to their deaths too. It's been a long time since I've seen AI in an RTS this bad, they all have their pathfinding problems but this is BAD. It's a shame too cause like the reviewer said, I still love Red Alert, and everything about this game is 100% Red Alertesque.

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