Red Alert is back with this third installment and I have to say its a mixed bag for me. This game was so long in emerging from the gaming abyss that what we have ended up with is not what we should have gotten.
After 8 years of waiting for this game there are some downsides which have tarnished an otherwise refreshing RTS and I will get these out of the way first.
Firstly, although I like playing online with friends I usually buy RTS for the single player aspect as some times you just want to have a gaming session all on your own and save the world just the way you want to. The single player campaigns seem to be getting smaller and smaller with each new release, this time its 9 missions per side with the first 2-3 being practically training missions and only a couple providing a challenge. I miss the days when a campaign was a campaign that actually felt like you were engrossed into the event, not some kind of quick tour de force that feels like its over before it started.
Also the Co-op system while unique and inspiring provides an instant level of easiness when playing with NPC's probably more so when playing with other players. I could just let my NPC partner do the entire mission for me while I ate crumpets and sipped tea on a lounger. I think in their zealous nature to bring out a new system they over tweaked its ability somewhat, that being said its an intuitive feature that I hope to see evolve and included in future games, but for Red Alert 3 it falls somewhat short.
Those issues aside, Red Alert 3 brings more of the cherished and much loved cheesy-ness back to our gaming systems and this time with a plethora of great actors to back it up. Red Alert has never really taken itself seriously and once you look past this the acting/cut scenes actually become enjoyable albeit to short for my liking.
The actual gameplay is smooth, fast and has some of the nicest effects and graphical nuiances Ive ever seen and the ability to build on water now adds a new dynamic and flexibility the game needed. The new units types with their secondary modes offer new gameplay tactics and while some secondaries are pretty poor, overall they are a welcome addition especially when it comes to the Empires mechs. I also like the fact that some units are both useable on water and land with battleships rolling onto land via tank treads which appear and units being able to swim and boat through water. As a base commander it makes you think about your security all the more now that the coast isnt safe...
All in all I enjoyed the game but it was way to short for my tastes and the story was relatively incoherrant, jumping all over the place with no real world domination campaign coming to light. This game is more aimed at multiplayer gaming rather then single player gaming which has made me sad in a way.
I think they could have done a lot more with the game to be honest which is why Im giving it 3 stars. I love Red Alert but they seem to be getting very lazy with each new release which for a fan is worrying. This game falls into a sunday afternoons gaming but nothing more involved unfortunately.