Review by RainingMetal
"A dedicated single-player expansion pack for a fun game"
In October, 2008, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2, Red Alert 3 was released. Five months later, its (first) expansion, Red Alert 3: Uprising was released. Unlike most Command and Conquer games, Uprising was released as a digital download only. The game can be purchased by visiting the official Red Alert 3 website. Uprising is a standalone expansion, which means that it does not require Red Alert 3 in order to be used. Some reviewers said that Uprising was mediocre, but I have written this review to state otherwise.
The campaigns in Red Alert 3 were nine missions long. Unfortunately, the campaigns in Uprising are shorter, spanning only 3-4 missions long. The game takes place after the Allied Campaign, where the Allies have won (again) over the Soviet and Imperial forces. The stories in the campaigns are quite vague, as they only cover certain topics. The Soviet Campaign revolves around the controversy of the FutureTech Corporation, and how the Soviets plan to take them down. The Allied Campaign centers on the rise of the rebellious Japanese Shogunate. The Imperial Campaign is about the invasion of Japanese colonies by the Soviets, and how the Imperials make their stand against their aggressors. A fourth campaign is included, which describes the origins of the Japanese commando, Yuriko Omega. As for the actors, only a few return from Red Alert 3. New actors include Malcolm McDowell, Rick Flair, and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. Overall, the stories aren't bad, but they are quite lacking (the Soviets never fight the Japanese in their campaign, and the Allies never fight the Soviets in their campaign!). The stories are also darker than the ones in Red Alert 3.
The Graphics in Uprising essentially remain the same from Red Alert 3. The game has nice light, heat, and terrain effects. As they were, the graphics are nice and polished, showing detail in the water and in the terrain. The game also has nice light, heat, and terrain effects. New environments are introduced, such as Transylvanian.
The Soundtrack was great in Red Alert 3, and it's even better in Uprising! There are new battle themes for each faction, and the famous Frank Klepacki composes the Soviet battle themes (that takes me back!). There are various menu themes in addition, ranging from the bittersweet, lonely music for Yuriko, and a modified, Soprano version of the regular Red Alert 3 menu theme. If that wasn't enough, there are new environmental soundtracks designed for the new environments (as stated before, there is a Transylvanian soundtrack, which is perfect for Halloween!). The sounds all sound appropriate, for new and old units and features alike.
Red Alert 3: Uprising uses a typical RTS (Real Time Strategy) format for control; select Units and make them do stuff. For Command and Conquer veterans, it's highly recommended that they use the Classic C&C mouse setup, as the default controls have Units do actions with the Right-Click (C&C players use the Left-Click, like me!). Many of the Special abilities for each Unit all use F as its hotkey, allowing players to use Special Abilities without having to search for the according key on their keyboards. There are also other hotkeys for production and actions. Overall, the controls are simple, yet versatile, and many advanced options are also available.
Most of the gameplay remains similar to the gameplay in Red Alert 3. Each faction has 3-4 new Units, although some of them aren't too balanced to make it into any kind of multiplayer mode (the Mortar Cycle and the Giga Fortress in particular). Along with the four small campaigns, there's a Commander's Challenge mode, which pits the player against various Commanders (some returning from regular old Red Alert 3) in various maps. At first, the player is limited to Tier 1 and Tier 2 units. Each challenge has its own perks and twists (such as giant War Bears, constant Desolator Airstrikes, and anarchy). Each challenge also rewards the player with new technologies upon completion. There's also a par time for each challenge, encouraging rushes, decisive thinking, and improving micromanagement. Challenges are divided into two categories: Main and Side. Some challenges, upon completion, will also unlock other certain challenges. The Yuriko Campaign is radically different from the other campaigns, as it is essentially an RPG game. During the Yuriko Campaign, the screen never leaves the protagonist, Yuriko, and she cannot be deselected. She also has some powerful abilities at her disposal, which can be upgraded by finding information terminals scattered throughout the campaign (her stats can also be upgraded this way). The AI does a pretty good job of keeping you on your toes, and it won't go down without a fight! It's unfortunate that the Co-Commander system was ditched in Uprising, as the AI is even more capable than it was in Red Alert 3.
Sadly, as I mentioned before, there is no multiplayer. That doesn't mean that Uprising is a quick-rent-and-complete game, as the Commander's Challenge takes a while to complete entirely. Unfortunately, the campaigns aren't that long. In fact, they're very short. Skirmish mode is also included with Uprising.
Although, without multiplayer, Uprising seems like a bad expansion, this is hardly the case. This is a must buy for RTS players who enjoy single player. Those who like multiplayer should not buy this game, however. Command and Conquer fans may also want to take a look into this game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/30/09
Game Release: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Uprising (US, 03/12/09)
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