Real Time Action
Command and Conquer: Red Alert is a series known for its complete disregard for reality or any semblance thereof. In Red Alert 3, you’ll find War Bears that are capable of being launched out of submarines – just one of many examples of complete nonesense in your units space. But you won’t care since you’ll be having too much fun.
The last time I remember enjoying an RTS this much was with Warcraft 3, and that was a long time ago. Modern RTS’s like Company of Heroes take themselves too seriously to be enjoyable. Micromanaging units and resources is only enjoyable up to the point that it gets in the way of your strategy against the enemy. Red Alert 3 eases back on the resource management much in the way Warcraft does – you establish a base, you start collecting resources, and it pretty much runs all on its own without your intervention. Much like Spellforce and Warcraft, the game lets you focus on using your units in a much more tactical setting.
Throughout the game, the ridiculous units give the game a great atmosphere of hilarity to it. The story is laughable, but in a good way. You start off the campaign having changed the history of the world by going back in time and killing Albert Einstein. This all unfolds in a series of cutscenes that show you how everything has happened. From there, the game runs wild with alternative history scenarios – each of which is increasingly funny and nonsensical. The story is the game’s high point aside from the tactical action because it works so well and the action is nonstop. Apart from that, who’s really complaining when you’ve got so many good looking women taking up your cutscene time?
The multiplayer doesn’t hold up quite as well as the single player experience – but then again I’m not a big multiplayer person. The games are ok, but they lack the funny element that makes the single player work so well. Because of this, you’re left with an RTS that isn’t quite as deep as similar games out there (Company of Heroes for instance). The sterility of the multiplayer mode doesn’t exactly thrill anyone. The units are the same, and so are the commanders, but it just doesn’t feel right without some kooky commander telling you to launch the Warbears from your submarines.
Overall, the game should be played for its campaign mode. It is there that the game shines as being innovative and highly enjoyable. Without being in the single player experience, you’re crippling the fun you’d have playing this game. So take it for what it is – a highly enjoyable romp of an RTS (the kind of which I haven’t seen since Once Upon a Knight) and one that you’ll recall for a long time to come.
OS – Windows XP / Vista (32-Bit)
Processor – XP: 2.0 GHz (Intel Pentium 4; AMD Athlon 2000+; Multiple Cores) / Vista: 2.2 GHz (Intel Pentium 4/AMD Athlon 2200+/Multiple Cores)
Memory – XP: 512 MB / Vista: 1 GB
Hard Drive – Media: 6.0 GB / EA Link: 12.0 GB
DVD Drive – 8 SPEED
Video Card – XP: 64 MB / Vista: 128 MB
Sound Card – DirectX 9.0c compatible
DirectX – Version 9.0c
Online Multiplayer – 512 Kbps or faster; 2-8 Players
Input – Keyboard, Mouse
Optional – VoIP Headset