* Prices may differ from that shown
RA3 is an RTS (real time strategy game) based on the red alert series, an is meant to be an "update" to RA2. This game has some very cool, but also very lame features that I will now go over.
The plot in this game, is that at the end of RA2, the russians are loosing, and so they build a time machine, go back in time and murder Albert Eistein, thus stopping the scientific development of America. Back to the "new" present time, Russia is almost victorious against the Americans, but suddenly a new enemy from the far east has appeared (basically the Japanese), with a mechanised army based on the "anime" culture of the region. Also because Eistein never did his theory of relativity, the atom was never discovered, so the soviets do not have nuclear weaponry. However other technology, such as Tesla's research grew as a result, and so other units such as the tesla soliders have become more powerful!
Ok, graphics wise this is a much better game than RA2, however as there is no unit cap, you really need a pretty decent PC set up to be able to play this game at max settings. Otherwise it just won't be a very fun game to play. There are also some very cool units, such as each empire now getting an air vs air aircraft, bullfrog antiair troop transport, the american AFV rocket buggy and so on. Another cool thing is that each "unit" has 2 modes in a way. I will now try to explain this:
Lets take the American Rocket solider, a basic unit armed with a rocket useful both anti-air and anti armour. However putting him into laser finder mode, means that he locks on to a target, then shoots a barrage of missiles, doing massive damage. However it takes around 10 seconds or so for him to lock on, really only making it useful for very slow moving things, or for buildings. There are examples of this all through the game, and some are really impressive. For example the Japanese fighter plane can morph into a sort of anti-infantry robot, the american battle ship can "come out" of the water on these tracks, the russian apocolpase tank can either use its powerful twin cannons, or a sort of "tractor beam", to palayse and "suck in" enemy tanks.
This also adds many "amphibious units", such a the battleship already mentions, but there is also the Japanese nightwing, half submarine, half bomber, or the Japanese tank, complete with "transform boat mode", or the russian "tesla ship", that grows spider-like legs to crawl out of the water! This coupled with the ability to build and farm resources on the water means that the water makes a very large portion of the game. In most RTS games, the water is just a barrier, or maybe you can bombard enemies. I should however point out not all building are buildable on water (notably the infantry barracks), and not all units are ampibious.
However all of this "individual unit uses" leads to the biggest problem in the game... the micromanaging. RA3 is a RTS with non pop. cap, but sadly because the way the game is done, you realistically cannot control more than about 30-50 units without it all starting to fall apart. This is annoying, as the computer can control many more, and online play with only 30-ish units is basically not much better than most games. I will try to explain why this is the case.
Take the japanese defence turrent as an example. It has both anti-ground machine gun, and an anti-air missile launcher. But to switch between the two you have to click on the tower, click the "transform" button, and wait for it to transform. However sometimes you get attacked in a very short attack. Lets say you place this turrent, but you leave it in machine gun mode, and the enemy sends a bomber. Unless you are looking at the particular point on the map, you probaly wont have time to go, click on turrent, transform, then destroy the bomber before the bomber destroys the tower. Alternatively, if you leave it in anti-air mode, they enemy could just use missile infrantry. However if you attack an enemy turrent, the moment your air unit is visible by the turrent, it automatically transforms! Why they didn't code it to allow your own turrents to do this I do not know!
It also gets really fiddly in the heat of battle, when you have loads of different unit types. You have to transform each individual unit type. For example, if you are playing the americans, and have a naval fleet of hydrofoils (with an anti-air machine gun, or a "disabling" beam, and some american battleships, and you meet an enemy naval team, you will have to click the hydrofoils and transform them from say anti-air mode to disable mode. Up until you do this, they will all just sit there doing nothing! Again I wish they could just code so each unit would automatically engage the most appropriate weapon for the situation. I understand why some units don't (e.g. the figher jet for the japanese), but for some units it makes no sense!
One final thing I don't like aboue this game is the resource system. They have tried to simply it by being "one mine, one harvester, one building", but the mines are finite (RA2 had finite parts, but they did regen slowly), and because you need to put a building by each mine, you end up with a ridiculously massive base. In RA2, you had a nice base you could build up around a set of mines. In this the mines are just evenly spaced everywhere. Its a bit annoying really.
Anyway, overall I give this game 2/5. I like the characters, the storyline, the units, and the whole using water thing is ace! But it just gets a bit fiddly in the heat of combat, and the excessive unit micromanagement is really annoying. I would recommend RA2 over this.