I played some Doom 3 today and finished Red Alert 3. Some quick thoughts about the first title - it's pretty creepy, but not nearly as nerve wrecking as Dead Space. It's one step above Bioshock, which is still easily acceptable for me. Enjoying it so far, though I can't say I was particularly stunned by the weapon design to date.
Red Alert 3 was... hmm. A bit dissapointing, I guess. The cut scenes were there, the outlandish units with quirky names (Shogun Battleship, Apocalypse Tank, Century Bomber) were all accounted for, but it still fell a bit flat with me. Maybe it's because of the not very strong storytelling (some elements of the three stories are simply reused), or too much micromanagement (all units have two different attack types), or maybe the same fault all C&C games share for me - I have nothing to look for in them after I finish the campaigns. The skirmish mode is simply not gripping enough to hold my interest.
The game has a lot of good stuff though. The special abilities you gain when a lot of action takes place add some nice variety, but having played Company of Heroes, I haven't found them to be much of an innovation. It was still quite fun to use the Final Squadron, or to launch a decomissioned space station right on top of an enemy's base. The superior weapons were, as always, very fun to use, and some of the units were really great to watch in action.
I have to say something about the way the Empire was portrayed. Seriously, Japanese characters talked about honour all the time, drank tea, and dabbled in bonzai. All's well, but isn't that too stereotypical? I mean, granted, the Soviets are shown the same way, but that's funny, while the super-serious Japanese just rub me the wrong way. Also, I have to say the lieutanents in this game were pretty dissapointing. They had little to no character, and some other major characters seemed largely underdeveloped (Peter Stormare's scientist being my main surprise in this field - I thought I'd see a lot more of him). The stories, as mentioned above, weren't very strong either. I can see the Soviets killing off their General when treason was supposed, but the Allies doing the same with the US President seem crazy.
So yeah, for the fans of the RA series no recommendation is needed. Would I recommend this game for people who do not know the franchise? Yeah, I guess. It has some flaws, but mostly considered with the storytelling and that's not always what people are looking for. For die-hard RTS players, RA3 offers some quasi-innovative solutions which provide a lot of strategic possibilities. I'm just not the sort of guy who plays Skirmish games over and over to become good at a single title. I'll probably keep the game installed just out of sentiment, but I don't see myself playing it too often.
I'm leaving the DRM issue aside this time, only because I'm planning to discuss that at a later time.
To sum up, Red Alert 3 is a good game (with some very strong tracks and themes!), but it's nothing too special. A 7/10 on my scale sums it up nicely: a game you can play and will probably enjoy, but not an instant hit.