The Hunt for November

blogging anime and life

Red Alert 3 – Thoughts

So after playing a few hours of Red Alert 3 (sampling the campaign, but mostly playing skirmishes against the AI) I have to vent a bit about the game. There’s a ton of good things (including the beautiful ex-Playboy playmate playing Tanya in the cutscenes), but some really clear faults that really need to be addressed for the game to reach its potential.

First, the good. To my knowledge, the Red Alert franchise is the only major RTS title to have naval warfare as a integral part of combat. Unlike Starcraft’s aerial islandhopping or Warcraft 3’s limited naval battles, Red Alert 3 sports three unique navies that can actually turn the tide of any game; that is, a player can build their economy and military force around its navy. Whether it be the Allied destroyers and carriers, the Soviet dreadnaughts, or the Japanese ships of the line, the naval element is a cornerstone of any battle that cannot be ignored.

The AI is also surprisingly skilled, and the ability to give vague commands to your AI allies is also incredibly powerful. The AI is built around three leaders for each faction, with different tendencies (such as aerial, ground, or naval-based), so that you can tailor your skirmish to focus on a certain aspect.

And now the bad;

There’s a plethora of balance issues, starting with the “hero” units: Natasha, Tanya, and Yuriko. These units are incredibly powerful, and having them around allows you to level an enemy’s base very quickly. In my limited playtime, I’ve found that the best way to demolish a base is to have some anti-air tag along (generally either MiG’s or Apollo Fighters) with your hero, and just let them have at it. This is probably the most fun to do with Tanya, as she can jump in a building, C4 it, then move onto the next one with virtually no delay in a clustered base. Either way, having these units around breaks whatever balance the base units had, with Natasha able to call down airstrikes to destroy any surface vehicle or building, Tanya’s C4, or Yuriko’s ability to not only levitate and destroy surface units, but air units as well.

There’s also a huge amount of clipping issues; you have to be incredibly careful about where you deploy a naval facility. All too often, the ships you produce will get stuck halfway in the land, where it will be useless. This is especially apparent in “Reef Madness,” where I have lost several dreadnaughts and Akula subs to these clipping issues.

Overall, it’s a nice game, but I wish that it were more polished when it was released. The controversial anti-piracy method EA employed is also pretty underhanded–read more about that at the wikipedia entry.

December 15, 2008 - Posted by | games | , , ,


  1. The way I look at every Red Alert game is with a pinch of salt. There was a bunch of frustrating stuff about 2 and especially the first one, but the series makes up for it with it’s great comedy value. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and it never tried, and it should be seen as a positive thing that EA are willing to move back to roots for this franchise by keeping this humour in. C&C3 kind of lost it for me, and I didn’t expect much from RA3 either. Until I heard about the Bears.

    At any rate, there’s patches, and there will be an expansion inevitably. The thing I’m hoping for now is something Dune-ish again, I really miss that series.

    Comment by Kaze | December 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. Red Alert is probably my favorite RTS franchise; yes, even better than Starcraft. I just dock points from Starcraft because of the lack of a naval element.

    I know other RTS’s have sea elements, but no other RTS treats the navy as dynamically as RA3 does.

    Comment by sakagami | December 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. Starcraft doesn’t rank in my top 10 RTSes, by the way.

    inb4 rage.

    Comment by Kaze | December 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. rage.
    in after rage.

    Comment by sakagami | December 18, 2008 | Reply

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