Back in 2001, before Westwood was absorbed into EA, Command and Conquer was THE king of RTS (rivaled only by other big-time competitors like Age of Empires and StarCraft). Millions of players across the globe cheered each time a new C&C game was made. Remember the craziness when Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun was released?
So, it came as no surprise when Westwood announced that they were making an expansion to Red Alert 2, titled Command and Conquer: Yuri's Revenge. This RTS nearly perfected the genre in its time (2001). It was the holy grail of Command and Conquer for a long time (the original Command and Conquer: Red Alert holds that honor).
Anyway, its been almost 13 years since Yuri declared his plan for world domination, and the game still feels fun to play. So, lets get this show on the road.
Yuri's Revenge is a 2.5D game. Some things are 2-D, others are 3-D. It's got jagged textures, no anti-aliasing, simple, easy-on-the-eye landscapes and overall, looks really good for a game that isn't fully 3-D. Buildings look nice and detailed, the explosions are always huge, the vehicles and units are appropriate and everything feels right. This may deter the modern gamer because of how old the graphics are, but it should not hinder your enjoyment. Besides, games aren't all about graphics. If you really need more explanation for Yuri's Revenge graphics, a simple Google search is all you need.
There's an awesome soundtrack composed by Frank Klepacki in Yuri's Revenge. A nice heavy metal, industrial sound that fits the grittiness of the 1970s alternate universe in which Red Alert 2 takes place in. Music aside, the units and buildings and other things sound well too. Tanks fire exploding shells, buildings explode in a fiery crescendo, G.I.s light up enemies with their guns, Soviet Dreadnoughts launch cruise missiles that sound real. Everything fits very nicely and nothing feels out of place. After awhile, you'll be able to associate certain sounds with certain vehicles or units.
The heart of any RTS. Yuri's Revenge is perhaps the most well-balanced RTS ever made. Every unit is balanced, no faction feels overpowered, and the economy is straightforward. You will train units, build structures, deploy units, destroy structures, garrison buildings with units, use an ore miner to harvest ore/gems, and manage an entire army with your keyboard and mouse. There is a very user friendly tutorial that will teach you about the game. Really, though, if you've played any RTS in the past 10 years, you shouldn't have any difficulty with Yuri's Revenge. It's pretty simple to pick up and play.
The story of the Red Alert universe is dark and twisted, filled with many secrets. The most easy to understand story, up until the events of Yuri's Revenge is this: Albert Einstein travels back to the 1920s and kills Adolf Hitler, preventing world war 2, but starting an even deadlier conflict between the Allies and Soviets. During Red Alert 1, the allies manage to defeat the Soviets and Stalin. Peace did not last however. In 1972, the Soviets attack the Allies again, which breaks the peace treaty they had. This time, it's the Soviets behind the attacks. It's all much part of a bigger plan, though. A plan devised by Yuri. This is where Yuri's Revenge begins. The world is about to be enslaved, and only a brave commander can stop Yuri and thwart the madmen's plans. You are that commander. Make your mark on history.
In addition, as is the trademark of any Command and Conquer game, all missions have live cutscenes. Real actors and actresses play characters in these cutscenes. Some of them are memorable. Yuri is played by the German actor, Udo Kier. This has always been a nice treat Westwood includes with each game. It gives these characters meaning.
Yuri's Revenge no longer has dedicated servers provided by EA/Westwood. However, its still possible to play online. If you look around on Command and Conquer fansites, you can find links to websites that still host servers for Yuri's Revenge. In fact, hundreds of people still play online today! It's not a dead game at all, its quite popular still.
Gameplay in multiplayer is what you make of it... Anything can happen when it comes to the human mind.
This was and still is one of the greatest RTS games to ever have been made. Westwood really put effort and care into their products, unlike some companies (*cough* EA *cough*). You could have days, months, even years of enjoyment with this game. It almost never feels stale or boring. There are countless mods to improve the enjoyment of this game too (I won't list any sites for the sake of this review, but a quick Google search of "command and conquer yuri's revenge mods" will yield some good sites).
Replayability Factor: 9.5 / 10
As stated before, with this RTS, you have access to limitless amounts of entertainment. I also *highly* recommend the first Red Alert game. If you can't buy these 2 separately (they're quite rare to find on their own) then you should definitely buy Command and Conquer: The First Decade, which has both Red Alert 2, and Yuri's Revenge on one disc. If you want even more Command and Conquer, you could also buy Command and Conquer: The Ultimate Collection on digital download (no need to hunt for separate discs) from Amazon or somewhere else.
Well, this review has gone on long enough. The bottom line: if you like any RTS, no matter the year of release, and especially an RTS with a modern theme with a twist, then Command and Conquer: Yuri's Revenge is the right game to play.
Red Alert 3, the successor to Yuri's Revenge, is NOT recommended. EA tried to make a proper sequel, and failed miserably. Don't bother with that game.