Welcome, %1$s. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Welcome!
 

Author Topic: Review - Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC)  (Read 3812 times)

Mark

  • Legendary Fruitcake
  • Administrator
  • Fruit-tastic
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
    • CoopGamer.com
Review - Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC)
« on: June 18, 2009, 02:37:03 PM »


Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is a real-time strategy game similar to Starcraft, Age of Empires, and a slew of other Command and Conquer games.  You harvest money to build structures and units to overrun your enemies.  There are three unique factions and battles take place over land, sea, and air.

As a fan of the Command and Conquer series, I was sold on this game when I heard that it has 2 player coop in the campaign mode.  And indeed it does!  And it is quite good.  But there are some nagging issues.

The most important thing to know is that if you plan on playing the coop campaign over LAN with another person, everyone MUST have an active Internet connection.  The game FORCES you to login to the EA authentication server before you can play a campaign game with others EVEN ON YOUR OWN LAN.  This means that when my Internet is down I can't play the campaign with Tina while she is sitting right next to me.  What in the hell kind of brain dead retardo design is that?

This also means if THEIR servers are down we can't play together.  Or even if they are BUSY.  Yes, when we were trying to play through the campaign, it was like pulling teeth trying to both authenticate and go through the terrible network interface to connect to each other.  The game would often just hang there for minutes.  Why is it that those who pay full price have to suffer through this bullshit while some twat that pirated it has probably bypassed all this jackassery?  It's ridiculous.  I am going to actively look for crap like this before I spend another dime on a C&C game.

On the plus side, the skirmish mode is independent of this anal-rific design.  There really aren't that many maps and the maximum number of players is capped at six.  However, the maps are mostly pretty decent and provide a good variety to test your strategies.

The campaign is very good.  You can actually start out with a very well done tutorial (1 player) to learn the basics.  Probably one of the best tutorials I've seen in some time.  Then, you can play any of the 3 faction campaigns (generally, you want to do them in order - Soviet, Allies, Rising Sun).

Every mission in campaign mode supports 2 players.  If you are going solo, the computer AI will get your back and it holds its own quite well without taking away too much of the glory from your own escapades.  But make no mistake, 2 player coop is where it is at.  You have your own starting bases, but your resources are pooled together.  You can also build on your teammate's base.  The roles and goals you each have are often separate, but you are able to support and cover weaknesses in your partner's army as needed.  In fact, I plan on playing the campaign a second time with Tina with our roles reversed.

There are little live-action cut scenes that develop the story between missions.  They are actually pretty good with some entertaining acting and decent lines.  I enjoyed watching them quite a bit.  They also give you tactical overviews of the upcoming mission, which are welcome.

The music in this game is excellent.  Personally, I think this is somewhere around the second or third best soundtracks of all the C&C games, only falling behind the original C&C stellar score and sitting pretty close to the Generals soundtrack.  There is a lot of variety and some of the tracks will really pump you up for the action.  It needs to be mentioned that they actually directed the sound a bit so that the music kind of starts out innocuous while you are doing early base development and scouting, but cranks up as soon as hostilities commence.  This is something that many developers overlook.  Sound and voice work is also top notch.

The graphics are of course very good.  They don't break any barriers of technology, but you'll see plenty of pretty explosions and unit animations without needing a powerhouse computer to play it.

I'm not really a big fan of the units.  There is a definite comical tone mixed in with the serious and to me that seems a bit awkward.  But they cover all the staples while mixing up some interesting abilities and specialties.  Some people may find the odd units rather endearing.

The game's stability is above average, but not great.  We get random crashes maybe 15% of the time.  This is actually unacceptable, but I've kind of gotten used to this kind of performance from previous C&C games.

Overall presentation is a mixed bag.  The title screen is really cool (and it actually lets you skip most of the EA logo garbage).  The cut scenes, as mentioned earlier, are great.  But then there are just dumb stupid things that just make you scratch your head how they got through QC.  The multiplayer setup is a pain.  The transition from match to match is terrible (get ready to see a lot of "you have been signed out" error messages).  The game doesn't even remember your last skirmish settings.  Come on guys, play Starcraft once just to learn the basics of these things.  It was done better 11 years ago...

To me, this game is overall very good with just a few extremely annoying flaws that keep it from reaching true greatness.  I give the single-player an 8.25.  The coop rating shoots to 8.75.  It actually deserves to be a little bit higher due to the fantastic coop campaign, but the forced network issues and stability problems are as welcome as a kick in the nards.

This is a great game for couples or friends that enjoy RTS games and teamwork... once it finally lets you connect to each other.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 01:09:41 PM by Mark »

Tina

  • Forbidden Fruit
  • ****
  • Posts: 372
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2009, 01:03:12 PM »
I really like it that you can play co-op in campaign mode....but as Mark said, the units are not that interesting, so if we are just playing a map, I think I like the Comand and Conquer 2 better.  But you can play campaign more then once...it will still be fun.

Tina 

semmelbroesel

  • Tangy Fruit
  • **
  • Posts: 15
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 06:22:15 PM »
Hey, guys.
I haven't checked here for a while (apparently a LONG while...) and finally stopped by to see what is new. You've been busy!  ;D

I bought RA3 a while ago and love it, but I have never played coop before with it - mostly due to the fact that I probably have to buy a second copy which right now (being unemployed) is not an option...

For your comment about the somewhat comical graphics: I think they tried to go with that nostalgic old-fashioned look, and that they did well IMHO. Also, they tried to stay as close to Red Alert 2 as possible which my wife and I are still playing today!

Here's a question about multiplayer:
You mention that up to 6 players can play (and I am not talking about missions, just about plain multiplayer).
Can two human players play against computer opponents, and how many maps are there to play? Did you find any maps online? (There's dozens for RA2!)

Mark

  • Legendary Fruitcake
  • Administrator
  • Fruit-tastic
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
    • CoopGamer.com
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 01:47:53 PM »
Here's a question about multiplayer:
You mention that up to 6 players can play (and I am not talking about missions, just about plain multiplayer).
Can two human players play against computer opponents, and how many maps are there to play? Did you find any maps online? (There's dozens for RA2!)

Yes, two (or more) humans can play against the CPU.  Up to three different teams or free for all.

Tina and I usually play 6 player maps with us two on one team and then two others teams of 2 CPUs each.  Those other teams will also fight each other, which adds a little bit of variety and randomness to the battles.

Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of maps.  Dare I say you can count the number of 6-player maps on one hand.  Once again they focused on 2 player maps which are completely useless for coop players.  Still, there's enough to have a good time with.

I have to say, this game has grown on me even more since we first started playing it.  The gameplay is really solid and I just adore the sound design.  There are a lot of advanced strategies that aren't immediately noticeable, but become very satisfying as your knowledge of the game grows.

Sorry about the job loss.  My sister got laid off recently as well.  I hope things pick up for you.

Hey, I'm not sure if this will work, but try loading up the game on your second computer and see if you can at least play a skirmish game together.  I can't test it myself since we have two separate copies registered, but it's worth a shot if you are short on dough.  If I recall, the game does not connect to the EA servers for the skirmish games. 

Once C&C4 comes out, the price on this game will tank and you can get a second cheap copy to play the campaign together.

Mark

  • Legendary Fruitcake
  • Administrator
  • Fruit-tastic
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
    • CoopGamer.com
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 01:53:43 PM »
This reminds me of something.  I really wish developers would implement special licensing for local play.  Like $5-$10 to add an additional game license for local play only.  Wouldn't that be nice for us families that just want to play together? 

It's really irritating to have to buy the same game twice (or more) just to play together.  It's actually more cost effective to just buy the game on console and play split screen.

Wishful thinking I guess.

semmelbroesel

  • Tangy Fruit
  • **
  • Posts: 15
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2010, 04:44:25 PM »
Thanks for clearing that up, also thanks for the video link about House of the Dead.

Actually, there were a few games that allowed one second person free playing in multiplayer - Diablo 1 allowed you to install a networking version for free, and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter had a multiplayer CD along with it (and I have still to this day not seen anything to circumvent the copy protection of that game... weird...).

I'll probably give it a try to install RA3 on her computer as well, but so far she's not so convinced that it's still fairly easy to play - when she watches me play she keeps saying "This looks complicated..." - oh well, I'll convert her sooner or later ;-)

Mark

  • Legendary Fruitcake
  • Administrator
  • Fruit-tastic
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
    • CoopGamer.com
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 10:40:50 PM »
Just to clarify, it's actually Versus > Network to play together.  "Skirmish" is single player.  Had to play it again to get the terminology straight.  From Network, you basically create the game and the other person joins.

Haine

  • Ripened Fruit
  • ***
  • Posts: 153
  • 70% Fiction
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2010, 08:30:46 AM »
Gah, I want to buy this game, but C&C/Red Alert has always sucked up way too much of my life. Not good when I'm back at Uni and preparing for my promotion exams at work.
You make your choices and you live with them and in the end you are those choices.

Tina

  • Forbidden Fruit
  • ****
  • Posts: 372
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2010, 01:43:24 PM »
It's a great game, we are still playing from time to time.  After your Exams if you did good and get the promotion, go buy the game for your reward =).  But school first!  I miss going to school sometimes....

tina

Mark

  • Legendary Fruitcake
  • Administrator
  • Fruit-tastic
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
    • CoopGamer.com
Re: Review - Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert (PC)
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 01:04:46 PM »
Gah, I want to buy this game, but C&C/Red Alert has always sucked up way too much of my life. Not good when I'm back at Uni and preparing for my promotion exams at work.

Command and Conquer 4 comes out in a couple months.  Chances are the price for Red Alert will tank, so you might as well wait at this point anyway.

In any case, definitely go for it once you get your studies in order.  Super fun game.

Mark

  • Legendary Fruitcake
  • Administrator
  • Fruit-tastic
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
    • CoopGamer.com
Re: Review - Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC)
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2010, 12:43:49 PM »
GoGamer.com has this on sale for $13 for the next 48 hours.  If you were thinking at all of getting it, I would recommend doing so now.   ;)

http://www.gogamer.com/viewproduct.htm?productId=93369186&extid=Jan012610

 




Enterprise © Bloc