I've played CnC Generals: Zero Hour a good bit. It is good, but it is lacking (mods help polish it greatly). From instablity to simple unbalancing, the game could have been asolutely great, but is only "good" to "iota above average" all things considered.
I actually like most of its departures from original CnC and the RA timeline (gameplay-wise, the story was superior then), but of course it's a flawed game out of the box, especially online.
I play 2v2 online with a friend, and we have a good time in it all, though assuming you get a fair game it's either dogmatic rush tactics or wily cunning (the latter much less). EA makes a bad RTS given their business model.
I don't really think that Generals had a story line. The "plot" were a series of excuses why the battles where taking place in China, Kyrgzstan, Kazakhstan, etc. If everything was set in China (maybe Sinkiang, with all the muslim influence) or in its periphery, the game would be largely identical.
Red Alert definitely had a plot, though I can't say I was too thrilled. For one, I'd have liked to see Soviet and American armies dueling it out on nuclear wasteland after a nuke exchange.
And overseas invasions of America: well, let's say they're very implausible for the 20th centuries.
(Try to have interesting story with battleground in Kygzstan, Kazakhstan or any of the other Central Asian country, it's harder than it look)
Anyway that was a joke but I kinda agree with most of you
I played, original c&c, tiberian sun, renegade and both red alert.
The only missing is general cause I had the bad luck of buying Command and Conquer : the first decade (it's the only thing I ever regretted to buy) and the game fucked up my dvd player each time I tried to play.