Red Alert 3: Uprising
key review info
- Game: Red Alert 3: Uprising
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Red Alert 3 was one of the most expected titles of last year's holiday season, as fans were eager to see where one of the most beloved series in the Command & Conquer series would take the story. The hype campaign surrounding it was unprecedented, with the team at EA Los Angeles pulling out all the stops to promote its games, bringing in big celebrities to star in its trademark cut scenes and story clips.
Now, as the dust has settled on the original game, the team has released via digital download the PC-exclusive standalone expansion, Red Alert 3: Uprising, which picks up where the first title left off. With three new stories for each of the factions in the game, plus a special one dedicated to Yuriko Omega, Uprising promises to be a welcoming experience for any player and, priced at 20 dollars, it seems quite reasonable. But is this expansion worth you time and money? Read on to find out.
There are four main single player campaigns that you can play through, one for each faction: The Soviets, The Allies, The Empire of the Rising Sun, and a special one, focusing on the troubled story of the Empire's Psychic Commando, Yuriko Omega. While they are pretty short, each containing about three of four missions, they rival in difficulty and complexity with the ones you would complete at the end of the original Red Alert 3.
The situations of each of the factions are the prettiest, as each side has to take care of itself and can't afford many new battles. The Soviets are now on their knees, desperately trying to organize themselves after their leaders were arrested, the Allies are trying to quell the rebellion in the territory of Japan by defeating each of the remaining warlords and the Empire is trying to regain its military power and to protect its territory against the Soviets.
Even though these stories are pretty interesting, interpreted by a truly star studded cast, the one focusing on Yuriko Omega is much more appealing, as it plays out like a dungeon crawler type of title. You can only control Yuriko, as she wages three battles against people who are trying to torture her. As you progress through each of the three missions, you can collect intel that will help Yuriko gain new abilities or improve what she already has.
Gameplay-wise, there aren’t any big differences, as it handles just like the first game in the classic real time strategy fashion. The team at EA LA tried to spice things up with fresh units and much more elaborate mission design, but, in the end, the tried and true tactics used in the original Red Alert 3 will also be effective here.
The units aren't extremely numerous, but in some cases, they manage to bring new things to the battles. The Soviets now have Mortar Cycles, Reapers, Grinders and, my favorites, Desolators, each of them offering fresh attack strategies. The Allies can use Harbinger Gunships, Pacified FAVs, Cryo Legionnaires and Future Tanks, all of them extremely powerful and able to decide the fate of a battle. While gaining the least amount of new units, in the form of the Steel Ronin and Archer Maidens, the Empire of the Rising Sun can now use the Giga-Fortress, which is a huge floating head bearing a devastating anti-surface beam.
The fresh units have, just like the old ones, two modes of attack that you can change in the midst of battle depending on what the enemy throws at you, thus ensuring your victory. If you played the first game and completed it, then this expansion won't pose much of a threat, but be prepared to waste some time and a few nerves in the final sections of each of the campaigns.
The already familiar build a base, construct a huge army, and go on the attack recipe is still present in almost all of the missions, but it is neatly interrupted by moments where you will lead only a small battalion of troops that you need to micromanage carefully in order to ensure your success.
In order to save the add-on and add new things, the team at EA LA introduced the Commander's Challenge mode, which has an underlying story, as you are a commander for the FutureTech Corporation that has to defeat enemies in order to steal their technology. The missions are very varied and offer unique scenarios in which you can test out your skills against other commanders from all of the three factions. With 50 missions being available for unlocking, it will surely keep a lot of players busy.
Also, there isn't any multiplayer option, neither in terms of an online mode, nor matches against friends over the Local Area Network, so you'll be left to experience this expansion on your own. That means that there will be no more co-commanders left to help you in the missions as you are alone to lead your armies.
The concept behind Red Alert 3 is a pretty interesting one, offering a unique perspective on what happens when wars end. You may have led your separate faction to victory in the first title, but you will now lead it to stability, as each of the three super powers are in very sticky situations.
The stories are engaging and thanks to the full motion cut scenes, they will keep players attracted to the game. Fan favorites Gemma Atkinson and Ivana Milicevic return to brief you on your mission, while actors like Malcolm McDowell or Jodi Lyn O'Keefe play new characters vital to the story.
The Commander's Challenge mode also brings fresh stuff to the game, and will please those who want new missions that are more difficult than the ones in the single player mode. The multiplayer is very well balanced and offers the same great experience like the one in the original release.
Visuals and Audio
Visual-wise, you won't see anything very different as opposed to the first title, the water still looks gorgeous if you play it on maximum details, the units are very detailed if you zoom in to see the battles waged, and the special effects when unleashing super weapons or destroying buildings are top notch.
A unique aspect is the Yuriko campaign, where her attacks are much more detailed than the ones she had in the original release. You can see a lot of the details when she lifts up enemies and when she uses her Psychic Smash ability to throw units into one another.
In terms of audio, the game is also very good, as the unit taunts are pretty interesting and varied enough so they don't hurt your ear. Battles sound just like you expect them to and are a beauty to watch and hear, especially if your units are winning.
Also, the orchestral score is top notch, even though in the heat of battle you won't be sitting around to listen to it. The music is perfectly suited to the mayhem and is custom to each of the sides that you are playing.
Red Alert 3: Uprising is an entertaining experience. It takes the tried-and-true recipe of the first game, includes a few fresh units, removes the multiplayer and adds the Commander's Challenge mode. Almost the same actors are there, the stories are newer and the Yuriko one is certainly something that, with further development, can lead the C&C franchise into new grounds.
But it is worth 20 of your hard earned dollars? The answer is up to you, if you liked the original's single player campaigns, then this expansion will offer more of the same thing for a reasonable amount. If you took pleasure in the multiplayer matches of Red Alert 3 and only tried some of the single player campaigns when the Internet connection was down, then Uprising won't be something you will enjoy very much.