Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Updated Hands-On - Cooperative Gameplay

We get our hands on the cooperative gameplay in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.

Real-time strategy games are supposed to be about slowly building up an economy by harvesting resources, then gradually constructing buildings, then gradually churning out an army. They're also supposed to focus on head-to-head competitive play. If they have naval units, the naval gameplay is supposed to be tedious and annoying because you have to build separate naval structures and march infantry into teeny, tiny boats and wait for them to cross the ocean to get to the other side. And most of the time, they're not supposed to have parachuting robo-bears. So you could say that Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is very much about not doing what real-time strategy games are supposed to do.

Welcome to Red Alert 3. Yeah, those are dolphins.

The game not only runs at a quicker clip than your typical strategy game, but it also has fully amphibious gameplay that makes both naval and ground tactics equally effective. It features armored bears, scout dogs, battle dolphins. It also offers perhaps the most outlandish feature of all: full cooperative play for both one-off skirmishes and for the game's entire single-player campaign. And now, we're ready to report on our experience after trying out a few different campaign maps in cooperative mode alongside the steady hand of an up-and-coming Electronic Arts producer by the name of Greg Kasavin.

Our hands-on session with the game was only on the PC version, which uses a third-party application for matchmaking but has the handy ability to let you send invites to your friends. This is not just when you're in the multiplayer lobby, but also when you're between levels in the single-player campaign. Once you've loaded up your level and watched the pre-mission setup--which includes both a full-motion video sequence acted out by the game's star studded cast of Tim Curry, George Takei, and Jenny McCarthy, as well as a full mission briefing that outlines your objectives--you can send along an invite message to any friends who happen to be online. Should your friends accept, you'll be whisked away to a multiplayer launch screen from which you can all dive into the game.

Our brief session included play-throughs of two different campaign missions, one from the Allied Forces campaign and one from the Soviet campaign. Both missions started very quickly, and we were able to get a good sense of how the Red Alert 3 team intends for players to fight the good fight together. In fact, as we saw, there are barriers between you and your co-op allies. All players on the same side share line-of-sight, so any areas you've uncovered will be visible to all your allies.

What's more, you can build structures near any friendly installment--not just your own--so you'll be able to build out barracks, motor yards, and airfields next to your allies' bases and even reap the benefits of any technology advances they've researched from their home base. You'll even be able to garrison your infantry inside your buddies' troop transports.

In co-op, you'll also fully share all your harvested resources, which can not only help keep you funded and in the game longer if you suffer a severe defeat and lose an installation, but it can also add more options in terms of how you and your teammates develop because a well-coordinated team will find itself less constrained by tight purse strings. Of course, this can also mean that your opponents may use these amenities against you, so you'll need to make sure you and your buddies are on the same page. The game will apparently support voice-over-IP chat, as well as global text chat and hotkey-linked quick chat.

Smart use of team tactics will always bring the house down.

Both of our matches were fast and furious. With the ground and air support, we were also able to get a jump start on our opponents. In our first mission, we played a two-player co-op mission, with both players controlling Allied Forces armies. With good economic support, we were able to hang back at our base and construct some defenses to ward off any raiding parties from the enemy before we upgraded our base and started churning out the tanks to pummel our campaign enemies, the Soviet armies, in this case, into submission. In our second mission, we changed sides to play through an early Soviet campaign mission against the allied forces, though in an intriguing change of pace, because we played this as a co-op mission, we started our mission with a partially developed naval base, while our comrade started his mission on land. In this case, we spent much of our time in the water, fending off enemy dolphin raiders and bombarding land targets while our partner churned out tanks to squash the land-bound opposition.

Red Alert 3's cooperative gameplay seems to work just fine and definitely opens up new avenues for strategy. It should also add replay value to a game that already has plenty of crazy, over-the-top armies that already warrant lots of experimentation and messing around. It continues to look more and more promising as a game that will offer fast, smooth gameplay; over-the-top action; the playful sensibilities of a popcorn flick; and yes, even online co-op. Red Alert 3 is scheduled to ship later this year.

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Discussion

63 comments
smash3230
smash3230

@redsoxman05 the only way 2 do campaign is to do co-op with a player or an AI

LtBad
LtBad

AHHHHH, YES!!! Finally some co-op for an RTS. Can't wait to play campaign with my friends!

Ekkoe
Ekkoe

EA already buttFed RA2, imo. The only real plus was a more refined balance between the teams, but other than that it was a cartoony piece of crap that was made purely for selling. I doubt this'll be much more. Kaine's Wrath was more than a disappointment, and for EA to announce that to be the last in the series is just a kick in the nuts. They have no right to say the storyline ends because they never contributed to it. EA had nothing to do with C&C. They're just using the title to sell their games and it makes me sick.

Izan3k
Izan3k

I've played the game, and it doesn't suck. I'll be getting it for sure.

Foreward66
Foreward66

too cartoony for me to enjoy, which rly sucks tinking how much i loved the old C&C games

GIF
GIF

Count me out of the PC version because of the DRM and I dont think I will be trying the Xbox 360 version either. Not until developers get wise and try and integrate the chatpad or a keyboard.

Gorthin
Gorthin

well deadlyspartan2 itll defenitly beat ra2. IDK about cnc3 (it was good) but i know this ll be great! oh and actors we dont know? why is it worth mentioning

Specimen2501
Specimen2501

cmon people! Tim Curry! When last did we get to see him in anything? And as a bonus for star trek fans it's the fabulous George Takei.....yeath. Even if this game sucks, it'll have some entertainment value.

Vadar07
Vadar07

Same thing different game title

firehawk998
firehawk998

I got a question about the Co-op on the XBOX 360.We know Co-op can be played over xbox live but can it be played through system link or with two controllers on the same console?

cobrafazea
cobrafazea

this game seems a lot of fun ...i liked red alert 2 ...and am willing to like red alert 3 :D

g3n3r41xan
g3n3r41xan

I sure hope you can co-op over LAN. Internet is good but I want to play the game on LAN with no lag at all. RA3 forever.

newbie911
newbie911

i hope soooo cause that sounds fun

zsmaniac
zsmaniac

The co-op sounds cool but does anyone know if you'll be able to co-op over LAN instead of online?

imac2689
imac2689

and even if you dont like the new rts ideas in this game you gotta give ea credit for at least trying them out. All rts games will be the same if these companies dont try new things even if they dont work.

imac2689
imac2689

the resource sharing is probably intended for hardcore 2v2 clan battles where both teamates are exemely cordinated not pick up games where both teamates are trying to spend resources as fast as possible so the other guy doesnt waste them.

amir_v
amir_v

yeah, Finally a fast strategy game is not like a sleepy strategy like tiberium wars yooohoooo like a old time baby

VESA14
VESA14

I played this game Open Beta, and I can say that this GAME IS AWESOME. That Co-Op mode is huge plus for this game.

lrdzith
lrdzith

This game looks lame... The last two games tiberium wars and kanes wrath was cool but this looks way to much like RA2 and that sucked too... but im gonna tried it anyway... looking forward to the next generation of Generals :D

redsoxman05
redsoxman05

Tiberium Wars was an excellent game and Kane's Wrath was a solid expansion. EA has put a lot of effort into the last two C & C games, and Red Alert 3 looks great as well. I'm not into the co-op campaign concept, so I'm gonna do the campaigns solo.

Katiff
Katiff

I wish they stuck to the basics. The first red alert was awesome because it was a basic RTS. air, land and sea units with nice cutscenes and an interesting story. now we have all this bs about armored bears and rampaging dolphins...so freaking stupid.

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

It'll be a good game, but securom is something im not being conned into again, boycotting.

bankyoyo
bankyoyo

I would like to know official release date 28 Oct or 11 Nov Oh and some Westwood designer join EA.

bioghost
bioghost

Does it have artillery support, airstrike or something but as a fan of RTS i will try it

enix165
enix165

Looks awesome, but I hope you can turn resource sharing off. I don't want to have to spend entire matches gathering resources because my ally keeps splurging my cash on massive armies for themselves.

kevok93
kevok93

the cnc series went downhill after ea disolved Westwood... although it looks like this may save the series.

cell_dweller
cell_dweller moderator moderator

Westwood has always done a great job with RTS games, especially in the C&C series.

Wardrift
Wardrift

Good idea for Blizzard to delay Starcraft 2 till next year. Red Alert 3 would have definitely hurt its share of the market sales. From the looks of it, RA3 is promising to be a very enjoyable game in the tradition of superb Westwood RTS releases.

Slayerduckie
Slayerduckie

i'm buying this...even though it has parachuting bears...

skinntech
skinntech

So this game is gonna come packaged with a keyboard and mouse right? What its not??? then why bother go play it on the pc!! thats what the winners do!!!cause lets face it .. its better with a keyboard and mouse,, no lie!

pcgamer522
pcgamer522

@zobbi4110 You do realize your complaining about games that haven't even come out yet, right? Anyway, how is Endwar like World in Conflict. For starters, Endwar is in the future, WiC in an alternate past. Endwar uses voice commands, WiC does not. Shall I go on?

alcari
alcari

Ugh, they'd better have improved the AI, if it's supposed to support me in missions. I can allready see my ally churning out tanks and marching them piecemeal into the enemy defenses, and run out of money when it needs to launch a wave. It's all moot anyway, because I won't be buying it because of the horribly restrictive 5-install-limit DRM. First C&C game that won't be on my shelve, thanks EA, for ruining yet another series for me. of course, there's always pira...

harry_1384
harry_1384

Wowwwww!!!!! I Want Play this Game !!!!!!!:X:X:X

nick15uk
nick15uk

Awesome. A properly implemented co-op mode, not just team-based games like usual. Resource sharing? Yum yum!

ferid84
ferid84

I wonder if i will sleep after the 21th of this month, with all those big titles coming together....

bodylotion
bodylotion

Looks pretty cool but probably not the game i will buy since i'm not really a strategy fan i probably spend my money on something else.

Teh_Dana
Teh_Dana

From the same reason people will like Starcraft 2. Same old gameplay, same old zerglings... etc.

strider_ATI
strider_ATI

red alert 3 has nothing special...same old gameplay...same old daulphins, etc....why do u even like this game?

strider_ATI
strider_ATI

to zobbie: if end war is a copy of world in conflict, then red alert 3 is a copy of tiberium wars.:) So shut up.:D

Hk47ownz
Hk47ownz

Man, too many games coming out in the next month. RA3, FarCry 2, Fable 2, EndWar... the list goes on. But I'm definitely preordering this. I've been a huge fan of the Red Alert series for a while now, And I'm not about to stop. The rest can wait ('cept maybe Fable 2 ^_^).

Silent_Raven92
Silent_Raven92

Dolphins... scout dogs... armored bears... Yeah, sounds like Red Alert. Looking forward to this, loved the other titles ^^

Shadow_Fax87
Shadow_Fax87

zobbi, what are you talking about, world in conflict was amazing, and pretty dam fun. But either way, this game looks fun

onlineruler
onlineruler

omg is am waiting so long for this game!

blackleather223
blackleather223

Can"t wait until this game comes out. This will be add to my collection.

zobbi4110
zobbi4110

end war is easily a MUCH better RTS. Lol excuse me but are you an idiot ? end war is basically a copy paste of world in conflict which basically sucked ass, in fact i wouldn't even call it an rts. But hey i couldn't expect less from somebody with a master chief icon ur used to liking crappy games.

strider_ATI
strider_ATI

end war is easily a MUCH better RTS.:)