Sunday Bits

TODAY: Don’t let Yuri take over your mind in our Red Alert 2 Blast from the Past – Checking out Greedfall this weekend? We’ll get you fully prepared with our Getting Started Guide

Blast From The Past

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 was a great, absurd and comedic RTS

“Kirov reporting.” Terrifying or gratifying words to hear when playing Westwood Studios’ cult classic Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. This real-time strategy was a follow-up to the original 1996 Command & Conquer: Red Alert that focused on an alternate history of World War 2. It was with Red Alert 2 that Westwood decided it wasn’t just going to acknowledge its ‘B movie’ appeal, but run with it and really ham it up. It worked brilliantly.

Much like its predecessor we choose between the Allied or Soviet campaign – this being a time for the C&C series that a third faction wasn’t really part of the formula. Usually you have a favourite campaign with a story-driven strategy game like this but honestly both are so great thanks to its over-the-top comedic drama and amazing cast. Alexander Romanov as the Premier of the Soviets and his Russian-accented performances are paired great with the cold and almost alien Yuri.

”Is it done, Yuri?” “No, Comrade Premier. It has only begun.”

The Allied and Soviet factions were much more diversified than in the original Red Alert as each tended to specialise more within certain areas. The Soviets favoured bulkier and harder hitting ordinance while the Allies preferred more sleek and efficient designs. There are always go-to units you must have as each, with the Kirov airship probably the one unit to always steal the show because if you were producing them then it was basically a victory fleet, but if you weren’t then it was time to check the skies anxiously because they could overwhelm you.

Red Alert 2 also let you garrison any civilian structure on the map with troops, which was a first for the C&C series. This made urban fighting real dirty as you could quickly plot your next building to scramble over to and hold out a while longer. It made cities death-traps for infantry which hadn’t really posed much more of a threat than any other kind of terrain before. This coupled beautifully with the new and improved veterancy system and meant infantry really were a force to be reckoned with, and not just fodder for tank treads – a favourite move to quickly wipe out squishy squads.

”I’m tired of hangin’ out in Canada. Get me my office back!”

Missions would range from your more typical ‘build base, defend, expand and destroy enemy’ to specialised missions with perhaps limited resources or only unique units to accomplish a task. Thankfully all these were accompanied by the most hammy mission briefs that should induce teeth-sucking cringe, but in Red Alert 2 they were always something to look forward too. Where would the next betrayal come from? Who is Yuri going to mind control next? How mad is General Carville that he’s still stuck in Canada? Excellent questions to which it’s hard not to want the answers to, so just one more mission before bed at 2am.

It’s worth mentioning that Red Alert 2 did so well that an expansion called Yuri’s Revenge came out and began the new tradition of having three factions within the Command & Conquer franchise. As you would have guessed, Yuri didn’t quite like how things turned out and decided he’d take over the world. If you thought Red Alert 2 had gone full B movie, then you hadn’t counted on the awesome performances of actors like Udo Kier as Yuri and Ray Wise as President Dugan turning it up a notch. The units and tech from Yuri’s forces made them appear as alien as the mind manipulator himself. He had friggin’ flying saucers! Oh, sorry, a Floating Disc.

Where to get Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 today?

Awesomely stupendous news comrade! You can easily get hold of Westwood Studios’ Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 online, in fact you can get it as part of Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection that’s available through EA’s Origin store.

If you’re an Origin Access subscriber then you already have it! Otherwise it can be as much as £24.99 when not on sale but that does includes all Command & Conquer titles to-date, which is 17 games in total. Don’t forget that EA and former Westwood veterans at the indendent studio Petroglyph Games (who made the excellent Star Wars: Empire at War series) are busy remastering the original Command & Conquers.

Getting Started Guide

Greedfall

We’re always partial to a good RPG, and anyone looking for a new third-person fantasy adventure could do worse than pick up Greedfall – especially as it takes the innovative step of being set in a fantastical version of Colonial times, something we’ve not really seen in RPGs. It can be tough to get going in the game, however, but don’t worry – we’re here to help!

Let’s get started in Greedfall!

1. Picking a character class

The first, and most vital, decision you’ll get to make in Greedfall comes as part of the character customization screen – no, not your hair colour, it’s your character class. There are three available classes at the start, and they all affect how you’ll play the game – Warrior, Technical, and Magic.

Each one has their pros and cons. Warrior is the melee combat class, with a focus on battle and most weapon types – including firearms. Technical focuses on traps, agility, firearms and one-handed blades. Magic is the mage class, with a focus on using powers from a distance, but can also use one-handed heavy weapons. You can mix these up later – or change them entirely – but otherwise these will affect how Greedfall plays for you. Choose wisely.

2. Getting used to combat

Now that you’ve chosen your class, it will directly affect how to perform in combat – and how you attack. You’ll be thrown into a combat tutorial immediately, so get used to the controls quickly. The general fighting style is a little Dark Souls – you’ll be expected to block or dodge at perfect moments, and strike back with either light or heavy attacks. You can pause with the Tactical Pause button (LB or L1 on consoles) to analyse your enemies and make decisions that way, or you can assign powers or items to various buttons with the way shown in the tutorial. Get used to this.

3. Make the most of Selene

Selene is the opening city of the game, and is in many ways an extended tutorial – getting you used to everything the game could throw at you. Make the most of it, because you won’t be going back to this city. You’ll want to complete every quest you find, so you’re as well prepared for Teer Fradee as you possibly can be. You’ll also soon find the limits of your abilities – you may not have picked a Science or Lockpicking skill and find certain options closed to you, as a result. By the time you find your cousin and are ready to talk to Captain Vasco and depart, make sure you’re used to all the systems in play. Yes, even sneaking.

4. Choice and consequences in missions

Playing through the missions in Selene, you’ll quickly discover that there are multiple ways to approach them, complete them – and screw them up. Like in one of the early missions – do you sneak round the side and falsify some records, find a disguise and walk past the guards, drug their drinks, or just go for a full head-on assault? Do you want to get through some of the scenarios non-violently, or as quickly and violently as possible? Every choice will have a consequence, and your standing with some of the factions in the game may decrease if you make the wrong one.

5. Watch the boss!

Be ready! Part of the reason we wanted you to get used to all the game’s systems in Selene is that, the moment you decide to ship out with Captain Vasco, you’ll be thrown into a boss encounter! And not just any one, too – it’s against a giant, vicious, tree-creature. Don’t panic, however – you should have plenty of health potions, and if you’re even a moderate fan of Dark Souls you should have literally no problems. Stay back, watch for its attacks and analyse them, then make your attack after it made its move and – hopefully – missed. Make sure to dodge a lot, and if you’ve got long-range attacks – use them. Shouldn’t be a problem – this time! There will be tougher ones, so be ready!

6. Exploring Teer Fradee

Once you’ve left Selene behind, it’s time to explore New Selene on the island of Teer Fradee! This is the location for the rest of Greedfall, and it’s a vast island with many interesting treasures, missions, and monsters to find – and take on in various different ways. You’ll get several missions to keep you occupied by just exploring the port of New Selene, but be wary when you start to head out into the open world – there are a lot of things that can kill you out there, and a lot that can go wrong! Be safe, and enjoy Greedfall!!

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