Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Uprising
In the cosy family that is the Command and Conquer franchise, the Red Alert spin-off is something of an eccentric uncle; ridiculous alternate histories, parachuting Kodiak bears and transforming Japanese robots have all been staples of EA Los Angeles’ comedy-infused RTS. Indeed, the Red Alert series seems to exist as a bizarre counterpoint to the seriousness of C&C – its increasingly absurd cut-scenes and units a gentle elbow in the ribs of its comparatively po-faced relative.
Red Alert 3 took the franchise to its zenith, with amphibious vehicles and bases supplying extra tactical complexity, while the cooperative campaign and multiplayer modes added greatly to its longevity. With Uprising, a stand-alone expansion pack available as a PC-exclusive download, EA have (some might say ill-advisedly) chosen to concentrate on four single player campaigns.
While this may seem like a questionable decision, it has at least allowed Uprising’s developers to go wild with their unit designs; unfettered from the restraints of the multiplayer mode, where balance between units on all sides is key, EA Los Angeles have clearly had a field day trying to come up with the most anarchic new weapons and troops they could – witness the ridiculously powerful Empire Giga Fortress, a colossal fortification that can transform into a laser-spitting flying head straight out of Gundam Wing. Other new additions include the Rising Sun’s Steel Ronin, an anime-inspired samurai robot, the Soviet Grinder, a heavily armoured tank which can pulverise its way through enemy defences with its barbed rollers, and the Cryo-Legionnaire, a battle-suited trooper armed with a freeze cannon. While these new additions are welcome, the more powerful of them – the Giga Fortress in particular, which takes time to build but can devastate a whole wave of units in a stroke – often make the missions too easy and less than tactical, with the AI-controlled enemy powerless to compete.
The plot of Uprising follows on directly from the events of Red Alert 3; the Allies have defeated their enemies, the Soviets and the Empire of the Rising Sun, and occupy the territories. The first campaign begins on the side of the Soviets, as their forces fight back against the occupation and Futuretech, a shady weapons manufacturer working for the Allies. Later campaigns, which continue the story on the side of Allied and Rising Sun forces, remain locked until the Soviet section’s four missions are completed.
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