Red Alert 3 Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

July 28, 2008 | 07:56

Tags: #cc #command-and-conquer #hands-on-preview #red-alert-3 #screenshots #westwood

Companies: #ea

Yellow Alert!

Actually though, to allude to the fact that there is just one single ending to Red Alert 3 is a bit of an error. EA has learned several lessons from the experience of developing Tiberium Wars and is no longer offering a single ending with three routes towards it.

Instead, Red Alert 3 is going back to the old formula; three utterly separate campaigns and three different endings for each one. It’s a great way to bulk up the replayability of the game.

In fact, EA has worked incredibly hard to make all the different factions feel and act completely different, right down to the actual units and how they’ve been designed.

Speaking broadly, the Soviets and Allies have been expanded but kept mostly the same as you might expect based on the older games. The Allies for example tend to excel at speedy units and naval or aerial warfare, whereas the Soviets are more about the big tanks and electrical attacks – Tesla coils and armoured bears are the bread and butter for the hammer and sickle.

Red Alert 3 Hands-on Preview Red Alert 3 Hands-on Preview - New Factions

The Empire of the Rising Sun however has unit types built more around the idea of Japanese culture and Beatles songs. That means you can expect Hello Kitty tanks and lots of ninjas screaming “I am the Walrus!” as they charge into battle and hop into bed with Yoko…or at least you could expect that if it weren’t for the fact that we are joking.

What you can really expect from the Empire though is lots of units inspired by the Japanese mecha culture – ninja mecha especially. And if you’re wondering what that little squealing sound is then it was the sound of Richard and Jamie exploding with barely contained excitement.

The Japanese units then are probably best described as a jack of all trades and many of units can transform between two or more modes, but are unable to excel in either or require short periods of time to flick between the two. Tanks that can move on land and water, infantry with the ability to launch into the air or helicopters that can become mounted guns – these are the staples of the Imperial Army.

As you might expect of a Red Alert game too, the unit design and types of weapons you have at your disposal aren’t just limited to the usual tanks, boats and planes genera. This is Red Alert, not the Tiberium Universe!

Red Alert 3 Hands-on Preview Red Alert 3 Hands-on Preview - New Factions

So, instead of seeing just the bog-standard jeeps and APCs of slowly increasing capabilities, Red Alert gives player access to all sorts of wild eccentricities. The Empire of the Rising Sun has access to an army of psychic Japanese schoolgirls and huge vacuum bombs that suck up all units in the area into a black hole.

And, yes, there’s armoured bears too. Big, lumbering lummoxes that are both as cute as a sleepy (and silent) spouse and as and as deadly as stopping to think about how cute that is while walking through a pool of custard.

Armoured bears though are by no means the highlight of the game – our favourite unit is probably a cannon-type launcher which is used to propel infantry right into the heart of the enemy base and bypass any enemy defences around the perimeter – useful for getting around those damn Tesla coils.

Of course, not all defences have to be mounted on land - in fact, Red Alert 3 is changing the basic structure of combat to help make the game more open and less predictable...
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