By TheVoice with commentary and images from ImustDIE
Upon driving up to Icelan I saw a huge crowd forming. It seems I wasn't the only one excited to be there. I said to the guy at the front door that I was TheVoice and he let me in no sweat (ImustDIE: I don't remember it like that… but whatever you wish =P ). There were roughly 40 computers there, most of them with Yuri's Revenge installed and running. I met up with Delphi for the first time and shortly after, saw ImustDIE and Periclytes. Later on I was able to meet Mark Skaggs, the Yuri's Revenge executive producer. He was quite passionate about Yuri's Revenge. I gave him and Delphi a personal tour of WI after I managed to lure them over to my computer. They were both impressed; Mark especially enjoyed our old school game coverage, which makes all our hard work at WI worth it. Okay, enough with the mushy stuff; you want to know about the games.
Both Yuri's Revenge and Renegade are awesome looking games. I got to sit down to play Yuri's Revenge for almost 2 hours at Icelan. The game is extremely fun and definitely different from the current Red Alert 2. Strategies now vary and so do the various new (ImustDIE: and old!) units. Those that range from the Chaos Drone, which releases gas that confuses enemy units, to Boris, the great machine gun toting, laser targeting Soviet commando. The game is jam packed full of new goodies for all three sides and is balanced well, as usual with Westwood games. All of Yuri's psychic units are toned down so they can't take the win so easily (ImustDIE: Although Yuri packs quite a punch!).
I tried out the Psychic Dominator, which you will see in some screenshots we took on the bottom of this article (ImustDIE: The ones with Yuri's face in the explosion). The Genetic Mutator is also a force to be reckoned with. I didn't tell you this… but Delphi likes to mutate his enemy miner's slaves and attack their base with them, a cunning strategy, along with all the great strategies I witnessed today. The new Yuri Prime can now take over buildings. It's quite dangerous when the enemy base is unprotected. I was really quite surprised how good the brutes were against everything but infantry; they can rip apart anything and are quite heavily armored. While brutes lack in infantry stopping power Virus can fire infectious darts that can stop any infantry dead in his tracks. Both the Gattling Tower and Gattling Tank seemed weak against ground forces but shined as anti-air and infantry defense. Once I built the Psychic Sensor I was given Psychic Reveal, which de-shrouds a small portion of the map that you target, every few minutes.
The Allies and Soviets were not forgotten. They both have nice upgrades to compete with Yuri's multitudes, and believe me they are still a threat. Boris adds a new dimension with his high-powered assault rifle and laser targeting system. Once he targets a building, two to three Migs fly in to lay waste to the unsuspecting structure. To my surprise he is also effective against tanks. Another powerful addition to the Soviet's arsenal is the Siege Chopper; you can fly it right next to the enemy base or ore field and deploy it for a good, long range pelting. Unfortunately, its attack is not as powerful as I would've wanted, but a few of these will get the job done. The newest Soviet building, the Industrial Plant, decreases build time and cost of all Soviet armor produced.
The Allies too have some new units to work with this time around, such as the Battle
Fortress and Guardian GI. The Battle Fortress is slow but is very powerful when filled with a few Guardian GI's and Seals. It can take a fair amount of damage and can dish it out when filled with the right assortment of troops. Guardian GI's are also quite slow compared to their regular counterpart. When deployed they put up shielding and fire rockets. Good against both air and tank units. Their speed limits them to a defensive role.
Another unique addition to Yuri's Revenge is the Battle Bunker for the Soviets and Tank Bunker for the Allies and Yuri. The Battle Bunker can hold up to five conscripts, when fully loaded they can take on a good tank rush. The new tank bunkers really help the Allies and Yuri in base defense, allowing their high-powered tanks to pound enemy invaders while they get defense from the bunker walls. All sides also receive the new force shield; when deployed it makes any buildings in its range invulnerable for 30 seconds and leaves your base powerless for 60 seconds (ImustDIE: sometimes it's difficult to decide what you want, to save a few buildings or be able to defend those with your tesla/prism towers).
The game in general has slowed down a bit to allow this new side in. I think it is a nice change and allows a good pace to the game. There is a mountain of strategies to be uncovered. While I didn't get into multiplayer for fear of losing, (I don't play RA2 that often) (ImustDIE: I tried one game… I didn't see a "Victory" screen if anyone was wondering.) I did get a chance to sample some of the single player missions and skirmishes. All the missions were well done and it shows in their high quality gameplay. Cinematics have stepped up a notch while the storyline has gotten quite bizarre. The majority of the game revolves around a time machine, although I won't go too far so as to leave in some surprises. It is safe to say there are a good variety of missions to play for both the Allies and Soviets. In skirmish there are new options as well. Most of these options are pre-game settings. Some of these settings include being able to set teams with the AI for a little offline co-op experience. You can also set the starting positions of all players before the game.
The menu system and interface are as smooth as ever. WOL has gotten a good upgrade, I'm sure all you multiplayer fans will enjoy that. Some of the new features include new buttons such as the news, clan, and community buttons. The news button takes you to a page displaying any recent news that has to do with Yuri's Revenge straight from Westwood. The clan button whisks you away to an area where you can research, create, and sign up for clans on WOL. The community button exits you out of RA2 and directs you to the Official RA2 website to see what's going on in the community. There are also some new chat options such as: only displaying messages from your buddies, only showing messages from fellow clan members, or only showing messages in your language. You can view some of the changes to WOL in our Icelan screenshots, which will be uploaded to the site on Monday.
As most anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm obsessed with Westwood Studios music. The soundtrack is excellent and adds to the already amazing gameplay. From "Phat Attack" to "Drok" the tracks are all top quality and fit with the game quite well. Westwood has also changed all the tank sounds to be unique for each unit. It's quite impressive and must have taken a lot of work on their part. Overall, the music and sound was well done.
My final conclusion after playing Yuri's Revenge is to buy it, NOW. It's just more of the same, but why would we want that? Because it's just the same fun as RA2, just with so much more. My hat off to Westwood on this one, they worked hard and the final product really shows that.
You can find more information on Yuri's Revenge by visiting our New Units and Structure pages.
While playing Yuri's Revenge was exciting I really wanted to get a look at Renegade in action. We all gathered around as Amy SomethingorOther(her last name slips my mind) showed us a little bit of Renegade. From the loading screen (ImustDIE: which took five minutes, its not optimized yet) to the time the game crashed (ImustDIE: it's not done, what do you expect) all I can say is "wow". The interface and menu system is laid out really well, and looks good too. When the other units in the game run along the sand, they kick it up and leave footprints. This really shows a good example of the graphic detail in the game. Everything is well rendered and looking as good as it should. Amy loaded up the game and we started on the beach. She began by running around a bit, switching between first and third person, and showing off all the weapons. Havoc has a huge arsenal, leaving little to be desired in the way of weapons. Including a portable mini-nuke and personal ion-cannon. The weapon effects are truly beautiful. She then showed us how you can fight along side with other GDI soldiers, which really demonstrates the entire "battle around you" feeling.
While walking around and talking about a few various features, she stumbled onto a few Noddies, which she quickly dispatched with her assault and sniper rifles. The scope on the sniper rifle goes quite far and the zooming effect is smooth (ImustDIE: It's also not a set zoom, you can zoom in and out as you please). Amy then took a pause from the game to show us the data link; the data link is a little section of the game, which tells you your completed objectives and new objectives to complete. It also contains information on all friendly and enemy units you have encountered so far. You can rotate the unit in a 360-degree field, which looks really neat.
All the sounds are still in there, including the patented squishing sound that I heard when Amy took her Tank reinforcement and made some Noddies into road kill. The driving physics for the tank are life like and it will take some practice to be a good driver. Unfortunately, there wasn't any time for driving school, as some turrets needed some attention. She maneuvered Havoc over to the turrets and used some C4 on them. There will be an almost unlimited supply of C4 in some of the missions. She finished the demo by demonstrating how the Ion Cannon beacon worked. She placed this little beacon on the ground and ran away as fast as she could. Luckily, she had god mode on or she would've been toasted. Sorry to report but god mode will be taken out of the final game version. Luckily my jaw didn't break as it hit the floor when I saw the ion cannon descending upon the ground. About five huge blue lasers all moved in to the main laser beam in the middle, followed by a massive explosion. It was amazing. Westwood did a great job with the scale, making everything seem to fit nicely together.
Renegade will be a game I get for sure. I'm not a huge FPS fan but being a Command and Conquer game, I must have it. The game will be perfect for you guys playing Tiberian Sun and Counterstrike. I'm not sure how well the game will do in the general FPS market, but I'm sure its gameplay will draw non Command and Conquer fans to it.
To find out more information on the Renegade Units, Weapons, Characters, and Structures visit our Renegade Section.
Overall my experience at Icelan was awesome. Everyone there had an excellent time. We all played throughout the day and everyone was enjoying themselves. It was a pleasure to meet Delphi and Mark, whom. I hope to talk to again soon. I ended up leaving with a Yuri's Revenge T-shirt in hand and a satisfied feeling resonating from my head. I want to thank Icelan for hosting this event and Westwood for putting it together. It was a success all the way around and it was a pleasure to be part of it.
Got a game question that you want answered? Go to our forums and post in the appropriate section and I'll be glad to answer them all. (ImustDIE: Sorry about the rest of the pictures, they were taken with a disposable camera and didn't turn out well...)
Click each image for a bigger version.
Periclytes at IceLan playing some YR
ImustDIE and TheVoice uploading some Yuri's Revenge screens, no time for pizza