Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 is the sequel to the popular 1996 spin-off of Westwood's definitive real-time strategy game. The latest game in the successful series isn't a dramatic technological improvement over any of its predecessors, and its hammy alternate-World War II setting borders on being tasteless. However, Red Alert 2 is a very polished game that combines tried-and-true play mechanics with enough new features, improvements, and enhancements to make it both an excellent sequel and a great real-time strategy game in its own right.
Red Alert 2 retains many of the conventional mechanics established and reused in the various Command & Conquer real-time strategy games. As with its predecessors, Red Alert 2 encompasses most all of the elements that define the genre. You view the action from an isometric perspective typical of most other 2D real-time strategy games, and you play using most of the same exact controls from previous Command & Conquer episodes. The formula still works just fine - you can easily select and move your groups of units, which generally do a good job navigating the game's environments. Red Alert 2 doesn't offer any especially advanced options for your units - for instance, you can't move or array your troops in preset formations, and you can't order your troops to automatically scout or return for repairs and such. But it's just as well, because the units are autonomous in more important ways - they're good about automatically acquiring enemy targets, and they're generally responsive to orders, if only because the game itself plays very smoothly.