No, the war isn't over... it's just gotten even cooler
This upgrade picks up after the end of Generals, its parent game... the war seemed won, but the GLA just barely survived... and a new leader has emerged among them, one who just may be able to gather their forces and become a threat. Finish the GLA off once and for all, or aid them. This upgrade adds some new units and changes some of the old ones... it also adds some helpful features(though there is still something of a lack of detail, status bars and overview), and three "generals" per side, reminiscent of the different countries feature of the multi-player side of the Red Alert games. That's 9 generals in total, each of which has unique weapons and abilities(of course at the cost of others, but fair's fair), specific to what they specialize in(such as laser, super-weapons, stealth...), and they *really* make things entertaining and open up for quite a number of different strategies and exciting battles. The single-player portion, in addition to the campaigns and skirmish mode, now include something called General's Challenge, which is essentially a tournament mode(between the generals, all of which have interesting personalities/strategies), which makes this expansion last longer. That's a good thing, because the campaigns are only five levels each... they do somewhat make up for that by having several very interesting scenarios, however, such as having to complete a mission before the international opinion of the country reaches zero, taking a large island occupied by enemy forces using guerrilla tactics and using Col. Burton(occasionally assisted by The Black Lotus) and a small team to infiltrate an area which holds several POW camps. All three sides get an appropriate finale, if they perhaps aren't equally good. Game-play is improved upon due to the new features(which include on/off features, some of which are for multi-player/skirmish games) and the added units, several of which work to remove weak points about the original games' selection and strategy options. It should be noted, however, that the air-craft carriers and cruisers can only be used in one single-player mission(but don't get me wrong, they are *exceptionally* cool to use), in spite of what the main menu looks like, as well as the shots of them featured in the intro(which, this time, is surprisingly flat, and feels overlong, in spite of the well-written tag-line and the quality and excitement factor of the in-game cut-scenes(which, again, consist of game footage)). Instead of briefings, this game has brief clips of television reporters from the lines detailing the latest advances, providing background for the missions. This is an original take on it, but this sadly makes the objectives less obvious... there was even one mission where I found myself completely unaware of what I was to do. This was less of a problem in the original(though it still isn't a particularly big one, to be fair). The music is fitting, and about as good as that of Generals. The new buildings and units add pretty much everything that could be considered to be lacking in Generals, but more features would still be highly beneficial... stances, formations and multi-task building(all of which were in Age of Empires II, released *years* before this) are still missed. Some of the worst bugs are covered in this, but others remain(and, as was the case with Yuri's Revenge, this also brings about one or two new ones). Among the most noticeable and helpful new additions, as far as units and structures go, are an Internet Center(which protects your hackers while they get you cash), an ECM Tank(which can effectively disable the electronics of enemy vehicles), a Listening Outpost(a detecting unit which cloaks itself when stationary and holds two Tank Hunters, efficient for taking out unprotected enemy artillery long before they reach your base) and a Helix(essentially an air-borne Overlord Tank) transport and assault chopper for the Chinese; a Combat Cycle(essentially a more maneuverable version of the IFV of Red Alert 2), a Battle Bus(a transport from which infantry can attack, which becomes a bunker if it is robbed of its mobility), the re-introduction of the efficient diversionary Fake Structures(now upgraded so that they can be detonated at will, not to mention upgraded into the *real* building, making them even more of a useful strategic tool), and, last but not least, an ability that allows them to create a Tunnel Network at *any part of the map that they can view*(making them sneakier and even more of a pest for their opponents... their defensive structures can now also gain Camouflage Netting, rendering them cloaked) for the GLA; and finally, Avengers(tanks that, using laser(think Paladin) can successfully knock out every missile launched towards them or the area beyond them, provided there are enough of them), a Sentry Drone(an invisible de-cloaking unit that can be upgraded to possess a small machine gun capable of taking out infantry and weaker vehicles), a Microwave Tank(which, using micro waves, can disable enemy structures, including defensive ones) and the Fire Base(a defensive building which can have four infantry units garrisoned inside, in addition to the artillery cannon on top, evening out the three sides' defensive structures by providing a second one to the only of the three sides that did not have one in Generals) for the US. New Generals abilities are added, some very interesting and unique ones among them, and more upgrades are introduced, as well. The expansion has a little bit of a silly streak to it, as seen in the video sequence in which a truck, labeled "really explosive"(!) is the cause of a large explosion when it is hit, as well as in the upgrade that gives the GLA Workers "those shoes that they have been asking for", to increase their movement rate. This is definitely worth playing for anyone who enjoyed Generals, as well as any fan of Real Time Strategy(though I would suggest you try the earlier games) in general(no pun intended, honest). I recommend this to any fan of Generals. Tons of strategic fun and excitement. 7/10
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