Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Multiplayer Hands-On

The Soviets return for the third time in Command & Conquer, and we were lucky enough to sample the multiplayer game on the PC.

While the Command & Conquer series is revered by real-time strategy players, Red Alert holds a special place in many a fan's heart. The first Red Alert presented an alternative history of the Second World War, where the Soviets replace the Nazis as a power intent on conquering the world. The second game was released to further acclaim in 2000, but the franchise has been lying dormant for the eight years since. With Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, EA Los Angeles is planning to expand the story while introducing new online modes, new interface features, and Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions for the first time.

As striking as the graphics are technically, the art style also impresses with its nods to WWII propaganda posters.

The Los Angeles development team made a visit to the UK and invited us to play multiplayer mode and hear more about the inspiration behind the game. First off, the influence of Japanese culture is clear, and the self-confessed geeks at EA promise plenty of material for pop culture junkies. The new faction is called The Empire of the Rising Sun, and it features units that Japanophiles should recognise immediately. Yuriko is a psionic commando with neurokinetic booster braids, and she has been modelled on the schoolgirl character Go-Go Yubari from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. On the technology side, the Mecha-Tengu are similar to the Vertech from the anime series Macross, while the Rocket Angel units are inspired by the Power Suits in Bubblegum Crisis. The developers admit that they're huge fans of this sort of thing, even to the point that the tankbusters use similar lasers to the one Kaneda has in Akira.

We managed to get a short play of the game itself, facing off against a member of our video crew. We played on the side of the Empire, and our opponent opted for the Russians. We could see a huge amount of difference between the units. The Japanese mech units can change Transformers-like into helicopters, which can then fly over mountains and skyscrapers. There is a downside, however; these units can use their weapons only when they're on the ground. We loved playing around with the intricate units as if they were toys, especially with the new unit-building structures that can be built offshore. In the end, though, the brute force of the Russians allowed their powerful dirigibles to take out our major structures with relative ease, while our preoccupation with mech units left us with few resources to build ground-to-air missiles.

While we played the conventional multiplayer game, the entire story mode is also played cooperatively, even if you don't have a real person to play with. The team says that co-op is integral to the game with specially constructed levels, so you'll have to pair with an AI-controlled commander if there's no one around to partner with. In true Red Alert style, you'll have to play as all three factions in the story mode, and there will be 27 missions in total to fight your way through. The last piece of information that we gleaned from the developers is that there will be around 65 minutes of full-motion video in the game, with the entire cast set to be revealed at the Leipzig Games Convention in August. They also revealed that one or two of the cast will be "prominent" British thespians, but no matter how hard we pushed, they wouldn't be drawn on specifics.

What we do know is that the story is told from the Soviet perspective. Having been defeated by the Allied forces in two Red Alert wars, the Russians take it upon themselves to build a time machine and travel back to kill Albert Einstein. Players of the previous games will remember that Einstein originally traveled back to kill Hitler and prevent the rise of Nazi Germany, but in succeeding, all he really did was allow Stalin's Soviet Union to stand unopposed in taking over the free world. With Einstein going on to develop the nuclear weaponry that helps the Allied forces defeat the Russians, the Russians have now plotted to travel back through time and get rid of Einstein. They succeed and with the scientist out of the picture, the Russians return to find that a new power has emerged on the world stage--the aforementioned Empire of the Rising Sun.

More info on the game will be revealed at the Leipzig convention, including the full cast list for the 65 minutes of FMV.

We didn't get to play the Xbox 360 or PS3 versions of Red Alert 3, but we know that the Xbox 360 version will launch alongside the PC version. EA says that the there's no release date set for the PS3 version, but they want to make it the best game they can. Having received good feedback on the radial user interface in C&C3: Kane's Wrath, the team has decided to stick with a similar interface for Red Alert 3. They're also promising to add 20 to 30 percent more features on top, meaning that on the 360 you'll be able to use the right trigger to call up the build menu without needing to have your cursor over a base. From there, you choose options with the right stick and drill down the menus using the A button. Aside from the luscious graphics in the main part of the game, the menus and box art for Red Alert 3 are particularly stylish. After seeing an exhibition at London's Tate Modern gallery, the team decided to base the art style on World War II propaganda posters, which used stark colours and thick black lines.

Red Alert 3 is now feature-complete, with just the final polish needing to be implemented between now and the October/November release. Thankfully there will also be a demo for the PC and Xbox 360 alongside the full game, so we won't have too long to wait before we can sample the game's delights once again. Expect us to bring you more information on the game from the Leipzig Games Convention next month, and right up until the game's release.

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Discussion

71 comments
Destman
Destman

It's to bad that they are ruining the game with the worst DRM since StarForce. They hurt the custumer and treat them like criminals while the pirates the DRM is suppose to stop simply crack and disable the DRM. The only people EA is hurting with their ever increasing copy protection is the custumer who buys their games and pays their paychecks. I refuse to buy this or any game that EA releases that hurts the custumer. They hurt the people who actually buy their games while the pirates who they are trying to stop are not affected by the DRM. If anything EA's DRM policy promotes piracy by making the pirate's versions better then the store bought ones. This causes many of the people who buy the game to download the pirate's cracks. With a crack the game doesn't require a CD in the drive, doesn't require online registration, and has no install limits or spyware. Once they understand that they are causing people to download cracks by making the retail version worse, they will stop hurting the people who buy their games. Intill then the only thing companies like EA understand is a boycott. Don't buy any game that hurts the custumer like this one does.

leop4rd
leop4rd

i played this on the pc (the beta version) and its absolutely fantastic. if the 360 is anywhere near as good .... wow. also shut the hell up about "omg lamezor ea is crap" jesus it just gets annoying hearing the same whiney comment and the fact that the company making it has an effect on whether you will buy it is just sad

leop4rd
leop4rd

i want to know if you can play co-op on the same xbox 360 with your mate and also if there will be a drop-in drop-out system. although i think strategy games are better on pc i would get it on 360 if you could 1) ply co-op on one 360 and 2) drop-in drop-out

Kelkian
Kelkian

If EA cocks this up... There WILL be blood.

janeson719
janeson719

rolf ps3 has more capabilities than crapbox360. ps3 just have more adjustments due to the fact it's component is greater than any regular PC or Xbox. my theory is in 2 years microsoft is gonna release crapbox540

klinsi
klinsi

"Yuriko Omega, a psychic commando that wears a Japanese school uniform" WTF ??? Oh no... sign of IDIOCY detected ! Since when THERE ARE ANY SCHOOL GIRL battle using Japs school uniform hah ? Why not using NURSE or TEACHER or SWIMSUIT uniform too ? Either its IDIOT or PERVERTED mind ! Very UNREALISTIC beyond UNREALISTIC design ! Even RA 2 is BETTER in term of design... there are no SCHOOL GIRL in war, especially a HEROES too ! And WHY ALL THE HEROES ARE FEMALE too ? What a bum ! not just we get ONLY 1 heroes for each side... its very unrealistic too ! Give back YURI or Crazy Ivan for God sake...

mishkawy
mishkawy

well I dont think it will be anything new I think it will be just like the old ones red alert 2 and yuri's revenge just few stuff in graphics and ofcourse other units and different story I think Yuri's revenge should've been the good end of red alert!

BJAY2
BJAY2

Vasot: yes it is true that EA did say they had ceased production but if you read this taken from the above "EA says that the there's no release date set for the PS3 version, but they want to make it the best game they can" is making a game "the best they can" something you can do if you've ceased production? not really, since there wouldn't be a game at all, so it looks like they started it up again

Xomonuchi
Xomonuchi

if this game doesn't come on ps3 i am gonna kill myself

Vasot
Vasot

MR AARON01 READ THIS: "A PlayStation 3 version was announced, but EA stated that the production for this version had been "put on hold", and now may not be released, due to difficulties with the system's architecture." ---------------------------------------------------------------------- As about the actors and heroes of the game.... SOVIET UNION Natasha Volkova A folksinger and Commando, Volkova is a legendary sniper with a great reputation for marksmanship. According to the game, her talent was supposedly discovered at a young age, but questions exist as to her identity, personality, and abilities, with some suspecting that aspects of these may have been fabricated for the purposes of propaganda. Her precise role in the campaign has yet to be confirmed, but Volkova will appear in cut scenes and as a playable character. She will be portrayed by Gina Carano. ALLIES Tanya, who appeared in Red Alert and Red Alert 2 is listed on the official "factions" page to return for this game. She has a new weapon called the "Chrono Belt" that teleports her five seconds into the past. This creates a great escape if things get too ugly. Further details are unknown. Lt. Eva McKenna, a recently announced character portrayed by Gemma Atkinson. EMPIRE Yuriko Omega, a psychic commando that wears a Japanese school uniform. She possesses telekinetic abilities powerful enough to levitate and capsize a destroyer, as well as a "Psychokinetic burst" that can knock back enemies in a 360

Richmaester6907
Richmaester6907

Why cant anyone ever say anything nice about any game

fzaynoun
fzaynoun

65 minutes of videos, i love it !

Vasot
Vasot

Sorry but this game will be only for the XBOX360 and for the PC It will probably not get released in PS3 Why is this news in the PS3 section ?? ------------------------- Mr uberjannie The Xbox360 also supports keyboard and mouse. So your post was useless Read here http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/747/747585p1.html

hagren
hagren

Those who are not impressed with the beta either played against bad players, did not yet figure out how to play the game, or are biased some way towards EA. Why? Since it feels nothing like TW/KW, it's simply a very different game- The sides all build different, which is a very huge change and step-up on its own, the gameplay is much slower (Average 20 mins), and since the units are so specialized, rushing and spamming most of the time simply won't work- Constant vigilance is needed for countering, scouting and capturing ore nodes are necessities, as well as microing your units, using their abilities and your support powers at the right place in the right time. You also need to mix units, as you have to exploit the transition from water to land. Shortly, a complete counter-experience to TW/KW, very challenging, and therefore satisfying, since strategically deep, and it's also beautifully designed and a blast to play. Most users are impressed, since EA listened to the fans and combined the classic look and feel of RA2 and blended it with pristine gameplay, superior leveldesign and kept the fun next to the challenge. Even the music rocks! A must for RTS fans and CnCers alike.

commander1122
commander1122

played the game........the tank and ship in the are too small...!!!

Rakuho
Rakuho

2 words: mouse support

bankyoyo
bankyoyo

I've played a beta one this evening. I think it's very hard to play on the another way it's challenging for who want to get better and better.

jpnz-hm
jpnz-hm

OMFG can't wait for this, looks like will be awesome

bangell99
bangell99

As nice as it sounds, I think it will be average. RA2 kicked anus.

lordray02
lordray02

I have Command & Conquer on the PS1 and it has bad control's but Command & Conquer 3 on the xbox 360 the control's are really good.

uberjannie
uberjannie

Vasot : what are you talking about? RTS on a console sucks! the only console except PC an RTS actually might be good on is a PS3. PS3 supports keyboard and mice.

Vasot
Vasot

Fortunately it will be released for XBOX360 for sure YEA !!!! The chances of this getting released to PS3 are small.... PS3 is losing again...

CVM_123
CVM_123

looks sweet! i hope it comes to the ps3

2122
2122

and thank god we all don't listen to typerseries who compares a game that's not even made to a beta of yet another one

zerander
zerander

Yay command and conquer!

typeRseries
typeRseries

ppl who have tiberium wars or kanes wrath shouldn't get red alert 3 cuz the feel is still the same. The beta did not impress me. I would wait till starcraft 2 for something completely different.

tom4000
tom4000

This looks cartoonish? EA rush there games whereas Blizzard spend years on theres and SC2 still looks utter bollocks, roll on DoW2 or something more by relic then I'll pay attention.

Vasot
Vasot

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

chickenfeed9
chickenfeed9

this sounds like it is coming to the ps3 afterall! i just hope its released at the samer time...

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

But its been confirmed that Red Aleart 3 wont be coming for the ps3... hope it is.

Crazy_M_Tz
Crazy_M_Tz

Red Alert 2 was the best, Tiberium Wars 3 was the worst. Well, that's my opinon and I'm sticking to it =) However, Red Alert 3 does looks slightly cartoon-ish in gameplay and graphical design :/

Assassor
Assassor

Starcraft 2 still looks better :-)

Annihilator-X-
Annihilator-X-

Whatever that Japanese bomb like thing with parachute with Japanese written on it is, the Japanese makes no sense. 飛行の死 That means "Death of flight", which is strange and makes no sense. It probably meant to say the flying death, which still is a bad name to me. Well the noun and verbs are messed up.

vigvigler
vigvigler

I'm counting down the days.. this is going to be sick..

BioHzrdSco
BioHzrdSco

RA has always been a great series this is looking like it will live up to the name !

Nekromenos
Nekromenos

Does look a bit **** to me. :/ I still prefer Zero Hour.

Kolossi
Kolossi

I cant wait what RA3 looks like in widescreen. This is going to be awesome.

g3n3r41xan
g3n3r41xan

i just really hope my computer runs it even at low. i can run CNC3 at medium so im hoping i can run this at low, although it will be terrible experience with all the settings on low but its better than nothing. ill be upgrading PC very soon after the release of the game.

hama666
hama666

New C&C ?! ....awesome! *sees EA tag*.....awwww

majidok
majidok

Looks amazing :D To Guy Cocker : Image 1 shows image 2 upon clicking

RekeHavick
RekeHavick

PS3 version is on 'indefinite hold' - let's hope they get their act together and stop making excuses about how hard it is to develop for the PS3. FAIL! Oh wait - it's EA, so of course they FAIL!!!!!

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

I'm more excited by the fact Leipzig is only a month away.

Kirky-
Kirky-

I'm still waiting on my beta key, it's gonna be great!

Pete5506
Pete5506

The game looks good, cant wait to play it for myself