It was somewhere between me launching armoured bears out of cannons, and a giant samurai face opening up its mouth and blowing half my base up with a giant laser beam, that I realized that Red Alert 3, and our focus of today Red Alert 3: Uprising is one of if not the craziest RTS games I have ever played. Whether this translates into a great game is the topic of discussion today.
So let’s begin where I always start, which is of course with the looks! From a technical standpoint the game looks great, there are no major improvements over Red Alert 3, but this is to be expected since this title is only a few months younger. The Water is a standout for me personally, it looks fantastic, and looks even better when the Russian’s use their magnetic beam to suck up a carrier, but that’s a different story. All three of the different countries have their own distinct look for both their buildings and units, on top of unique animations for some of the more interesting units, such as the transformer wannabe that is the Giga-Fortress, or the Japanese special unit Yuriko Omega who is able to lift single units into the air and then puff them up till they explode. Of course I would be doing the entire Command and Conquer series a dishonour if I didn’t mention the OH SO campy cut scenes that are hard to not just outright laugh at, which in the case of C&C is a very good thing.
On the performance side of things, this is defiantly not another Empire Total War, my 4 year old gaming PC was able to play this on medium to high settings with little dip in performance, and I’ve seen it being played on a school issued laptop. This of course is not to say that you won’t be treated to a far prettier game if you decide to crank the settings to maximum.
From a gameplay side this is where things get a little dicey. On the one hand this is an enjoyable experience, the levels are for the most part fun to play, even if they do boarder on unforgiving in difficulty, and the inclusion of single player only units with overly overpowered abilities, makes for some really fun firefights, but that is about it for this title. Even at its budget price of 20 dollars the small campaigns which have removed the Co-Op part that was so popular in the Red Alert 3, and lack of any multiplayer feature really hurt this title. I know the thought process behind this, you don’t want to give out the most wanted feature at 20 dollars, but it’s a needed feature for any RTS. The only real shining jewel is the addition of Commanders Challenges, which set you up against the AI in different scenario’s and see how well you can do, there are 50 of them and they rack up in difficulty as you go along.
Which frankly confuses me a bit, when a publisher makes a standalone expansion pack most of the time, they usually slim down the single player as they have in this, but they leave in the multiplayer, the purpose of a standalone expansion pack is to get the customer interested in the franchise at a lower entry point, in the hopes that they will like what they play and pick up the older titles, or future titles. Without a multiplayer feature to really suck the player in; this bit of gaming seems to be only targeted at fans of Red Alert 3, which may have been their goal to start, but then most people don’t play Red Alert for its single player, and without any additions to the multiplayer they too will find it lacking. This would have done better as a more complete and attached expansion pack, one that people who already bought Red Alert 3 would be excited to pick up to breathe new life into what they would be still be playing which is multiplayer!
Although even with its problems I still found myself having fun, trying to figure out your plan of attack when the enemy could drop a satellite on you at any moment, or freeze half your base, and watching those oh so iconic Tesla coils charge up and fry some poor soul who walked just a little too close is always fun. There is also nothing funnier than watching a massive doomsday tank run over a pack of war dogs as they so eagerly charge to their death. It also makes the loss of multiplayer a little less painful when you enter into a skirmish match and don’t find yourself walking all over the AI even on easy. On the hardest difficulties you’ll wish you were playing some sap over the internet as your base is quickly overwhelmed by giant Russian Zeppelins bombing you back to the Stone Age.
Overall if you’re a fan of the Red Alert series and you have 20 dollars to spare this is a nice addition to your collection that will surely add some more playtime to your single player experience, however if your someone new, who wants to see what all the fuss is about, this isn’t the title you want to pick up, but don’t panic just move your head slightly to the left and I am sure you’ll find the full Red Alert 3 there just waiting for you to pick up.