FEATURES: Roundtable Discussion #11 – August 2008 (Red Alert 3 Special Edition)

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It’s Roundtable time again. This is the edition number 11 of our Roundtable Discussion here on CNCNZ.com. This month is a Red Alert 3 Special. Listed below are the people participating on the panel for this month.

Question 1) News on the Red Alert 3 Beta is everywhere, and you’d have to be living under a rock not to notice it. The question is (even if you’re in the Beta or not), how is RA3 shaping up in relation to your 1st initial impressions?

Saracen: My impressions have changed from being at the “EA can’t make a decent C&C!” end of the scale to the “Interesting, they may actually pull this one off!” section of the scale. The RA3 Beta has been full of suprises for me. Contrary to some of my past opinions on gameplay and features, this C&C could be one of the best in the franchise, if not the best ever developed! But I don’t wanna jump the gun just yet. I’m just waiting for the game’s release to see if my scale explodes with the game’s pure awesomeness, or just breaks down, catching fire because it’s too much like C&C 3.

Sonic: I was impressed with the overall presentation and theme of Red Alert 3 to begin with. Now I feel EALA may actually deliver a solid single player experience since the release of the Live Action Cast Trailer.

Chickendippers: Red Alert 3 is shaping up excellently; it’s really fun, easy to play but difficult to master. The dev team are doing a nice job updating the game, tweaking and fixing things. There’s a bit of a way to go yet, particularly regarding the NAT issue that many people seem to be having, patch 1.4 has diagnostics implemented so hopefully it’ll be easy for them to pinpoint.

Banshee: I have I’m surprised with it so far and somewhat disappointed. I’m very disappointed with the maps. The beta has two symmetrical maps, fine. But the final game will only feature this kind of map, which will make skirmish quite boring. But the way the game relies on naval makes it somewhat interesting and more dynamic.

Chronojam: My expectations were intially a bit lower than they should’ve been, as I was not entirely impressed by Generals and C&C3’s multiplayer seemed to have already degenerated a bit by the time I got a chance to really start playing it online. Given how much raw fun I have had playing the RA3 beta, I am quite satisfied with it so far both in one-on-one, team matches, and four player free-for-alls (hopefully they’ll toss us some 4v4 maps before the test is over). Hopefully, there won’t be any broad, sweeping changes prior to release that ruin things.

Raiden4900 Well. At first I was expecting it to be like Generals all over again, untill I got to see some gameplay footage and try the beta out. The structures, the units, the maps, and… especially the music is just amazing. And after watching the Cast trailer, it finally came to my mind, that this is a true Red Alert game.

TheBlackOut: My initial impression to wasn’t terribly optimistic or hopeful, but now, I am really impressed. I am really looking forward to the campaign only. Sadly, my multiplayer RTS bug has died. I have not played one game in Red Alert 3 beta.

Question 2) It has been confirmed at GAME.co.uk (and now by EA) that a Premier Edition of Red Alert 3 is to be released. What are your overall thoughts on this edition, both in relation to the C&C 3 – Kane edition, and the content of this Premier Edition?

Saracen: I have to say, regardless of the game or Genre, I’m a sucker for Special Edition titles, so naturally I’ve already pre-ordered this at my local GAME store. The Kane edition? Well that was probably one of the worst special editions I’ve bought. The RA3 Premier edition is a little better and the Soundtrack CD is the selling point, but to be honest it’s still not great. You just need to look at Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles, Unreal Tournament 3, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. to find what a meaty Special Edition is like. You get your standard making of Disc with other extras in these packs. But each of these games also came with goodies such as chunky art books, posters etc. Civilization came with a limited edition novelty card game and UT3 packed in 20 hours of toolkit and editor tutorial videos!! The latter feature would be a great C&C addition for worldbuilder n00bs who don’t want to read endless help files! That’s more like it, some proper stuff!

Sonic: C&C 3’s Kane Edition was very disappointing. It just didn’t feel special enough. The Red Alert 3 Premier Edition looks to be a huge improvement with the extra content it offers. The soundtrack CD is real strong selling point for me.

Chickendippers: It sounds like it’ll be better than the Kane Edition, although the unique skins were a nice touch. I bought Kane Edition for the behind the scenes and outtakes stuff and it sounds like the Premier edition will have more of it! It’s not quite the little models that came with the RA2 Special edition, but it’s pretty decent if you’ve got the money to burn.

Banshee: It looks to be better than Kane’s Edition, since it will include few more things, but I’m not sure if it is worth to pay more for it. If the difference is only 10 dollars, it is tolerable. But, here in Brazil, people would pay a difference of R$40 (about US 25 dollars) or more, which is too much for its value.

Chronojam: Well, I bought the special edition for both TS and RA2. I wouldn’t mind if this came with a pewter Soviet War Bear, but if it did I’d buy it in an instant. The “behind the scenes” DVDs are great additions though and a trend that should continue with RA3 and future games, so that’s nice to see again; the same goes for the soundtrack CD. Bonus maps rubs me the wrong way, because everybody should be getting those. As for the tie-ins to other games, I’m not interested in Warhammer and they’re not really clear on what the next C&C game is so I can’t comment. What would really be great is them spending an extra few cents per copy and giving us some sweet fold-out posters.

Raiden4900 I am a huge C&C fan, but speciel editions dont catch my eye that much. I think they should all more goodies in it.

TheBlackOut: C&C Kane’s Edition wasn’t anything special from what I remember (It’s not a good sign when I can hardly remember what came with it!). Reading about the goodies that come with Red Alert 3’s edition, it seems this round is going to be a lot better and a lot more welcomed. I’ll buy it for sure.

Question 3) It has now been confirmed that Jenny McCarthy is to play Allied Gun weilding commando Tanya Adams. How do you feel about this casting?

Saracen: After laughing and falling off my chair that a bimbo blonde was taking the roll. I ignored it, couldn’t care. But when the Casting trailer came out, I thought to myself… “My god that’s a fugly transvestite man in a wig!”… I even jokingly made this clear in our forums. There’s attractive, and then there’s former playboy models, and I don’t find “Hugh Hefner’s Hoes” attractive. But I suppose if she can play the roll well, and do Tanya justice then I’ll be happy with the choice made. But unfortunately, sex appeal this “thing” does not have. And if she tries to flaunt it in mission briefings, I’m gonna need a rather large bucket to catch vomit in!

Sonic: I won’t say I’m a Jenny McCarthy fan, I’m a red blooded male and she is definitely easy on the eyes. Seeing a picture of her in the Tanya costume makes me feel EA have cast the right actress for the part.

Chickendippers: I had a bit of a rant when they started announcing all these sexy women, saying “It seems a shame to me that the EA PR machine has stooped so low to get numerous busty women with questionable acting skills to sell the game to hormonal teenagers.”

If I want to look at cleavage I’ll buy Zoo magazine.

Banshee: She is not looking bad in the video, really. She looked awful at some pictures people placed at PPM forums (http://www.ppmsite.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19945/). Anyway, Tanya has changed radically on all Red Alert games, although her personality remains. If she behaves like Tanya, then it should be fine.

Chronojam: It’s pretty much horrible and I’m pretty sure her career has been stagnant for long enough without making good enough an impression during that time for her to really bring much attention as a well-known name. I forgot she existed up until this, and wasn’t aware she had done anything since Scary Movie 3 around five years ago. Surely somebody’s happy about it though, but not me.

Raiden4900 After reading on the official forums about that tanya is original darkhaired and not blond, she might just tried to get a colour change. As far I have seen in the Cast trailer. She will be allright as the old Tanyas.

TheBlackOut: She doesn’t look and fit the part. She looks like a Barbie. Also, she isn’t attractive at all to me. Gemma is a lot better looking, by far. I hope I am wrong about Jenny though, I really want to see a good Tanya for the sake of Red Alert, but I am not very optimistic.

Question 4) Further to the above question concerning Tanya. If Kari Wuhrer was still out of the equation, who would you have liked to see play the role as Tanya instead of Jenny McCarthy?

Saracen: When I saw the mysterious Avatar in the RA3 Beta, Milla Jovovich came to mind instantly. That’s the girl I’d like as a Tanya. Sure, she might not have big boobs or be the most attractive woman in the world. But she can pack some high class action, be the real definition of “Badass”, and to me is the female definition of Chuck Norris or Jack Bauer. I mean if she got on PMT, she’d be strapping armed C4 charges to allied dolphins and surfing them all the way to suicide bomb a fleet of Soviet Dreadnaughts. Now that’s proper Red Alert!

Sonic: If they had bought Kari Wuhrer back for Tanya that would have been fine. I honestly have no idea who could have filled the part, Some people suggested Milla Jovovich, who is damn good actress in my opinion. As I said in question 3, Jenny McCarthy appears to be the right choice.

Chickendippers: The cast of the FMVs doesn’t really interest me. They’re a nice touch, but not the reason I buy C&C games.

Banshee: Oh man… I’m no good with Holywood actresses. From the ones who acted on previous C&C games, Tricia Helfer wouldn’t look bad at Tanya’s role.

Chronojam: Just about anybody, but preferably somebody who can do the role convincingly.

Raiden4900 I think Jennifer Love would do it good. Maybe she is too girly and don’t have that rough attitude, but she still looks hotter than the others.

TheBlackOut: I have no idea, I don’t keep up with actresses (or actors), I don’t know many names. I was clueless when all the “big names” were announced for C&C3 for example. I wouldn’t mind some unknown actress or just an actress that is good looking and is good at acting.

Question 5) The All Star Red Alert 3 cast has been revealed! What are your thoughts on the Red Alert 3 casting?

Saracen: Each of the faction’s leaders are high quality actors. I know for a fact they will do a solid job in the game. I’m a little skeptical about Gemma Atkinson though. Myself and her being British is not the only thing we have in common. As people now know, she took part in a teen soap series called Hollyoaks. To elaborate on that show, it’s full of Z class British actors who struggle to get a real acting part on TV. So what else do we share in common? Well, let’s just say I can act, but it’s bloody embarrasing to watch!

Gina Carano on the other hand, she has the looks, the moves, and she oozes personality in the interviews she’s had for both this game and in her sport… she acts feminine, and looks like she could crush you with her thighs…. oh yes, she’s good, and my favourite female in the game”

Sonic: I’m not familiar with all the cast members. But I really like the casting of Tim Curry, Peter Stormare and George Takei. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the acting is better than what was served up in Tiberium Wars. Some of the performances in that game were wooden and lacked emotion.

Chickendippers: See above. Although it’s nice to see some familiar faces, I didn’t recognise any of the actors in C&C3.

Banshee: I loved J.K Simmons on Spiderman. He really acted damn well there. Also, Andrew Divoff had some previous ‘soviet’ experience on LOST. The others I don’t know.

Chronojam: J.K. Simmons, along with George Takai and Tim Curry as the other leaders, looks like an amazing choice. Each of those men can certainly play the role. Really, most of the choices seem great, including the other lead female roles for the “Evas” and Natasha.

Raiden4900 Many familiar faces, thats great. I think EALA did a good job choosing the persons for the characters of Red Alert 3.

TheBlackOut: I’ll keep it simple. With the exception of Jenny, great. Just, great. I honestly didn’t know one name off the list, but from the trailer, they all seem great.

Question 6) Further to question 5, the casting trailer is out! This is a one word question…. Impressions?

Saracen: It’s Great! I have to say, the acting from the main roles appears strong, a lot more work has gone into the sets, and well the FMVs scream out classic C&C! There’s some very good CGI in there too! I hope there’s a good amount in RA3, because heavy amounts of CGI always helped portray the story in previous C&C games. Something of which C&C 3 was lacking on in my opinion. But overall, I have to say this is actually one of the best trailers we’ve seen for a C&C game, well, probably in the History of the franchise. I don’t say something like that lightly either.

Sonic: I will go as far to say that it’s possibly the best trailer for any EA developed C&C. In the short 2 minutes it showed off some really cool CG stuff and how “into it” the actors appeared to be. It also had a bit of a Red Alert vibe going on there as well.

Chickendippers: Very impressed! I watched it several times; it really has a cinematic feel to it and would be at home in a cinema! It looks like they’re being more ambitious with the scale of the FMVs; having larger sets rather than just the claustrophobic locations from C&C3.

Banshee: It doesn’t surprise me at all, because the story is pathetic. I’m sorry, but it really is. But kudos for the CG guys, since they did a very nice job with that, as usual.

Chronojam: Some of those clips presumably are in-game sidebar videos based on the radioish effects; those are good to have. It looks like they’re taking the right approach with the action and atmosphere, just dramatic enough and yet funny enough but certainly not winking at the camera. To put it bluntly, I’m relieved because there was concern they’d make it far too cheesy and over-the-top. The only thing that disappoints me is that it seems the “Tanya in tent” videos from RA2 (that always made me roll my eyes) are back.

Raiden4900 ÜBERAMAZING!

TheBlackOut: It was a great trailer. I had doubts about the acting in this game, the trailer pretty much laid those to rest. One of the best trailers I’ve seen in a while, very well put together. Good going EA, you got me pumped!

Disclaimer: The views expressed by each individual in the Roundtable Discussion are their own, and do not reflect the official view of CNCNZ.com, unless otherwise stated.

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