C&C Red Alert 3: UprisingPublisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC Exclusive
UK Price (as reviewed): £14.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price ((as reviewed): $20.99 (ex. Tax)
Electronic Arts’ continued plugging away at the Command and Conquer
series has provoked mixed reactions from fans of the franchise, with EA itself even admitting that it mangled the integration of Westwood
studio with the rest of the company. When the series was first revived with C&C 3: Tiberium Wars
it seemed that while EA had got the basics of the RTS right a lot of the personality of the series had been lost.
Since then though, the series has slowly been getting back on form, with each title released (and in true EA style, those releases have been coming thick and fast) being an incremental improvement on the past games. Tiberium Wars
may have been a slow start, but since Red Alert 3
things have been looking up.
doesn’t shatter that optimistic outlook either, instead accelerating the series even more with some rather drastic gameplay changes. Set as a sequel to the original games, Uprising
takes the usual tack of assuming that Gemma Atkinson’s wimpy but well-endowed Allies won the war, pushing back the Soviets and Japanese.
At the start of the game it seems like there’s actually very little fighting set for the future then – the Russians and Imperials have been clearly stomped, with the majority of their forces being taken as willing captives. The Allies, goaded on by a private military firm called Futuretech Inc., are simply in the process of rehabilitating the world.
Or so the news broadcasts would have the populace believe anyway – it turns out that not everything is so glossy and happy as Holly Valance’s wartime reports would imply. In actual fact a number of small splinter groups remain scattered throughout the supposedly-former USSR and Empire of the Rising Sun. Splinter groups that are very, very angry.
When the gameplay first kicks off you have only one option and that’s to jump in as the Soviets. Ever the aggressors, the fractured remains of the Russian government are hoping to marshal their forces and start the war afresh. They start off with only a small group of soldiers and scientists, but are quickly able to liberate the bulk of their forces and soon prove a genuine threat for the Allies.
It’s a similar story for the Imperial army who, just like the other sides, have somehow managed to research some ma-hoosive new mega-units that help make the game more deliriously camp and explosive than ever before. For the Imperial army the focus is definitely on the camp, rather than the explosive though; their major new mega-unit is a huge floating head that romps across the battlefield levelling buildings with its short-sighted gaze. At first it seems kind of silly, but did we mention that it can also collapse itself down into a huge robotic tank that looks like a massive lotus flower? Much more serious now.
The new units for the other sides are equally impressive and unbelievable, such as a new Soviet tank that compensates for a lack of turrets with the ability to simply crush entire buildings, or the new Soviet infantry that specialises in coating battlefields in toxic waste and acids. As for the Allied side though, well we’d best not ruin the surprise.
The new selection of units may make you raise an eyebrow at first, but in actual fact it’s all quite brilliant. EA and Westwood hasn’t been timid this time around and has quickly tapped into what a Red Alert
expansion should be about; complementing the already tongue-in-cheek game design with a selection of utterly ludicrous and almost game-breakingly powerful ultra units and a selection of increasingly difficult levels.