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Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Review
developer: EA LA
PIV 2000, 1GB RAM, 6GB HDD, GeForce 6800/Radeon X1800 or better
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 28, 08
|» All About Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 on ActionTrip|
These days one is inclined to think real-time strategies are a few steps short of being a dying breed. There are still a number of franchises considered as worthy contributions to the genre. EA's cancellation of the shooter Tiberium turned out to be a step in the right direction for EA, which meant they could invest further into C&C as a strategy game. After all these years, C&C relies on a strong community and Red Alert 3 was built around that very idea.
Thiz azzholz vil zoon feel the reth of Russia!
You don't wanna go for a swim in these waters.
Each scenario in the main campaign was designed to make players feel that they are not alone in their fight. If you cannot find a chum to watch your back in co-op, the game provides you with an AI-controlled ally to assist against enemy forces. For those who like to keep things solo, Red Alert 3 offers a rich and challenging single-player campaign, divided into plenty of missions to try out with three different factions - complete with unique units, structures and a variety of well-designed maps. In terms of co-op, there are some drawbacks. You cannot experience co-op play on a local network and getting into a co-op game online is not as intuitive and straightforward as we thought. For example, nothing appears on the screen to indicate your invite was sent. In other words, if online co-op is your thing, you usually won't be able to jump into the action straight away.
Before entering the fray, players may choose to fight alongside the Soviet Union, the Allies or the Empire of the Rising Sun, each giving a sufficient amount of content throughout the main campaign. Storytelling is not something to look for in this game. Expect the occasional chuckle thanks to the appearance a few familiar actors in over-the-top military attire. Scantily clad female heroines are more likely to raise your eyebrows (amongst other things). Regardless, the narrative serves its purpose and goes well with the game's colorful graphics and overall flashiness.
Red Alert 3 relies on traditional C&C gameplay mechanics, at the same time adding numerous elements from the RA series. Naval battles are the key addition here and can be a blast. There's a huge selection of amphibious units at your disposal, making way for a variety of tactical approaches during missions. Factions base their power and military might on completely different technologies, which places a considerable choice of units into play. It may take some practice before witnessing the true benefits of each unit. The aspect of individual special powers has its advantage and nuisances. During one of our co-op missions, we were able to organize attacks by coordinating the use of specific abilities of certain units. When playing with Allies, I'd send four or five Cryocopters and a few Assault Destroyers into an enemy base, while my teammate offered support with his ground forces. The Cryocopters starting firing their ice beams at units and structures just in time for the Assault Destroyers to obliterate any frozen objects that lie in their path. My friend's tanks and infantry would sweep the remainder of the opposing army. It's quite a ride actually. Meanwhile, both our bases were well-defended and fortified with turrets and additional troops. Keep in mind, I've just scratched the surface here. There are so many ways to enjoy this game.
Now, it takes some time before you can grasp all the skills and powers of individual units. However, I enjoyed the diversity of combat and the unique tactics of the factions. The Empire of the Rising Sun's, for example, features Imperial Warriors who can perform a daring battle charge while wielding their katanas, but they also prefer to occasionally upgrade their vehicles with explosives - if near death, these units detonate and cause extra damage to surrounding enemies.
Using Top-Secret Protocols is another strategic benefit. The Ruskies like to employ the Iron Curtain for temporary protection and a mighty useful space tractor beam, which sucks even the largest enemy units off into space. Later on, the same enemy units can be tossed back onto the ground using Orbital Dump - if you haven't grabbed enemy units, satellites will be thrown at designated targets.
8.2 Very Good
Co-op is awesome and there's a solo play can be gratifying, great visuals, kick-ass soundtrack, each faction is fun to control, a huge number of different units and special powers;
Some micromanaging, pathfinding, joining co-op not as quick and easy as it should be.