Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 represents one small step for the real-time strategy (RTS) genre, one giant leap for furthering its console appeal.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3's engaging style and intuitive gameplay invite uninitiated console strategists to enjoy the previously PC-dominant RTS genre.

Command & Conquer with console-friendly controls

Just as Sid Meier's Civilization: Revolution made strides in successfully delivering a previous PC-dominant series' to consoles, Electronic Arts' Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 offers Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers a chance to appreciate what the mouse-and-keyboard crowd have been enjoying for years (and still can).

And while Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is far from the first attempt to bring a real-time strategy (or even a C & C) title to the console crowd, it is one of the better efforts to date.

Point-and-click snobs will no doubt find fault in the gamepad-mapped controls, but those who don't know any better - the target audience for a console RTS, I'd think - will find Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 intuitive and accessible.

A smartly implemented trigger system helps handle most of the work; depressing the left and right triggers bring up the "Radar" mode and "Command" menu, respectively, allowing - with additional button and bumper inputs - a simple way to build and manage units, scan the map, and generally make you feel like a commanding and conquering badass.

Of course, if Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is your first shot at RTS domination, you'll want to let the tutorial walk you through the paces. The control's welcoming vibe is further complemented by vibrant visuals and fast-paced skirmishes; two somewhat unconventional characteristics for the cerebral substance-over-style genre.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - style to spare

Once comfortable with the controls, you'll discoverCommand & Conquer: Red Alert 3's over-the-top, B-movie style steals the show. The ridiculous sci-fi, WWIII, time travelling-infused tale is supported by the series' staple live-action cutscenes; here you'll find the likes of fan favourite actors Tim Curry, Peter Stormare and Gerorge Takei hamming it up, while scantily clad hotties, headed-up by Jenny McCarthy, supply the buns-and-guns appeal.

The notoriously serious genre gets an additional jolt of fun from some inventively wacky weapons of mass destruction. All three factions - Allies, Soviets, Empire of the Rising Sun - have access to unique units that you definitely won't find in any historically accurate strategy sim.

Some of my faves include the beast-based units: the Soviets' armoured War Bear emits a deafening roar, temporarily disabling its victims, and the Allies' dolphins - so smart they make Flipper's intelligence look lame - are outfitted with baddie-blasting sonic projectiles.

My affection for animals saw me seeking the most from the ass-kicking creatures, but others will discover countless other ways to execute creative kills through Red Alerts 3's brimming land-, sea- and air-based arsenal, tweaked to world-dominating perfection by sci-fi technology and futuristic experimentation.

The RTS genre's notoriously slower pace and complex controls can be a bit snooze-inducing to newcomers, but Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3's smooth interface, fast-paced action, crazy-ass weapons, and endlessly entertaining cheesy style should keep even the most short attention-spanned gamer engaged.

The title also packs in the content with dozens of missions, off and online play, and an addictive co-op mode providing the perfect invitation for unseasoned strategists to learn the ropes with a buddy.

It's still a niche genre that won't pull every trigger-happy gamer from the FPS frontlines, and yes, strategy fans raised on PC controls will no doubt find flaws. However, as a genre still struggling to carve a comfortable spot in the console market, the RTS has found its best ambassador in Red Alert 3.

Related articles:

PlayStation 3 review

Xbox 360 review

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Specs

  • Windows PC
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • Microsoft Xbox 360
  • Windows PC
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • Microsoft Xbox 360


One of the best real-time strategy efforts to land on the Xbox 360, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 delivers tight controls, well-paced action, and over-the-top style. RTS vets may cry foul, but console gamers, hesitant to jump into the PC-friendly genre, should start here.