Rating

A

Specific Ratings

GameplayA+
GraphicsB
Learning CurveA+
Replay ValueA
SoundA-

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge - Red Alert 2 Expansion (PC)

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Reviewed on:

Summary

This game comes in a collection package at stores for a mere 20 dollars. It's definitely worth it.

Description

As you can probably tell from my review of it, I loved Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the pseudo-prequel to this. The reason that I add in that prefix, is because while it is a sequel in terms of plot, it isn't called one by the creators/publisher, and it's made out to be more of a side story. Whatever Westwood calls it, it is definitely a whole new plot in this "What If?" post-WW2 universe.

Red Alert 2 basically gives you more of the same, but any negative connotations you'd be quick to associate with that phrase don't have a place here. However, anybody that played through the excellent campaigns of RA2 will love what Westwood has done with this expansion pack. Yuri, Romanov's right-hand-man from the previous game, now has his own race, including the "Yuri's" (or Psi-Corps Troopers) and Cloning Vats from the Soviet side in the original, and several other new units. Of course, the Soviets have lost the Yuri's and Vats, but making up for this is the new Siege Chopper. The Allies have also gotten a new unit, the Battle Fortress, which literally runs over enemy tanks. The Fortress functions as a super-IFV, allowing five infantry units to attack from it's many gun ports. The Guardian GI's are another new Allied unit. These GI's are excellent against vehicles and most types of air units. In a Battle Fortress, their anti-air attack exceeds even the Aegis Cruiser. Both the Soviets and Allies have new Structures as well. Allies get an Ore Purifier and the Soviets get an Industrial Plant. The former increases the cash from the ore brought in by miners, while the latter decreases unit cost and speeds up build time. That's about it, as far as what's new for the two original sides. The biggest new addition is, of course, the new race - Yuri, who uses mind control, flying saucers and magnets to win battles.

The package comes with a Soviet and Allied campaign. Since it's on a single disc, both campaigns are much shorter than the Red Alert 2 ones. Each one has only seven different missions, meaning that the combined time-value of the Single Player mode is 8 or 9 hours or even less if you don't play on Hard. But that's not really a problem considering that it's an expansion. What is a problem, is the lack of a Yuri campaign. I mean, in RA2, you could play as the enemy (Soviets). Here, both the Soviets and Allies are "good", so why can't we play as the "evil" Yuri side? I wouldn't mind combining both the Soviet and Allied campaign, since they fight together later on anyway, to make room for a Yuri campaign. The disc would hold it. Thankfully, you can at least play as Yuri in the Single Player Skirmish or on-line modes.

One notable improvement is an increase in difficulty in the campaigns. As I mentioned in my review of it, I played RA2 on Hard, and it was, wait for it, Hardly a challenge. With Yuri's, there's no more child's play. It's more like teen/early adult play. It still isn't very hard for someone with the same mastery of RTS gameplay as me, but at least the enemy seems to be less of a pushover.

I didn't find the multiplayer in Red Alert 2 to be anything special. Sure, it was fun for awhile, but so is spamming a chatroom. But things change, people change, life changes, and so does this series. Now, while the campaigns have deteriorated, the on-line play has gotten so much better with the new units and maps. Had they packaged the multiplayer alone, it would be worth the 30 Canadian, 20 American price tag.

The gameplay is no different from the original. For those that aren't aware, Yuri's Revenge is a Real Time Strategy title, meaning that you take the place of a "Commander" and command both the construction and defenses of a base, and movement/attacks of a fleet of units. Not unlike most RTS, you control the game from a top-down perspective, and are limited in what you see to where your units are. The difference here is, that you can also see everywhere your units have been. The Allies even have a Spy Satellite allowing you to see the full map.

More of a reason to be happy, this time around Westwood has fixed the little balance issue from RA2. Conscripts have been weakened somewhat, you get an improved attack for certain Allied units, and with the new Allied Guardian GI and Battle Fortress, the Soviets have a dreadful weakness. Thankfully, the Terror Drones balance things out for the Soviet Side, not to mention the long-range Siege Chopper attack when it's deployed.

Some would also claim that the Yuri side is too limited, and thus at a disadvantage. However, I beg to differ. Not since StarCraft has the balance between three sides been this perfect. Where Yuri lacks in attack power, the mind controlling aspect evens things out. It can't control machines, and the new Allied Robot Tank and Soviet's Terror Drones balances things out for every side.

Overall, the game is very addictive, but only in the multiplayer on-line mode. The new Campaigns are great, but I am somewhat disappointed by the lack of a Yuri side. Thus, I wouldn't recommend Yuri's to anybody without Internet access. This doesn't mean you, in case you were wondering, but for the few that don't, even the lower price for this expansion is too much. Since they'll most likely play it on Normal, both Campaigns could be beat in four or five hours.

Graphics

Westwood has put more on screen this time. While this makes gameplay more user-friendly, it also, in many cases, slows things down. I wouldn't doubt that the detail level has been upped somewhat as well.

There's not much else to say about the graphics. Things haven't changed much apart from what I mentioned above. Basically, the graphics are very impressive; almost life-like at times. Even the smallest element of a map is well-detailed, and the new Intermissions, not without vivacious Tanya, are also in here.

Sound

About the only new differences sound-wise is a new theme for the main menu, and new unit-specific voice overs. A few of these are laugh-out-loud funny, making the B-Acting intermissions look like The Talented Mr. Ripley by comparison. There's probably a racial insult or two in the accents "certain" phrases are said in, if you misconstrue it like free-world people love to do, but I could care less. Call me Politically Incorrect, because it's funny, and I love it.

Overall

Buy it for the multiplayer mode. The campaigns are decent, but the lack of a Yuri campaign which would be the most interesting of any campaign were it in place is a big disappointment. So play on-line instead, as I've mentioned, it's much better with the new units. For an expansion pack, Yuri's is unmatched in it's level of depth.

Recommended
Yes


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