Red Faction originally came to prominence as a top quality FPS on the PS2 back in 2001. It set a precedent as one of the more established shooters on the old system. Since then, there have been numerous additions to the series but in all honesty, they haven’t been able to maintain the lofty heights and standards of the original release. Red Faction: Guerrilla sees a shift from FPS to third person shooter in this latest offering by Publisher THQ. The story takes place on Mars, where the planet has been terraformed to support life and it has become somewhat of an opportunist colony for would be miners to try their luck at finding their fortunes. The scene is reminiscent to the days of the old gold rush in the Wild West. Mars was to be governed as a free colony, but this all changed once the EDF (Earth Defence Force) took matters over proceedings, and began ruling over the people with an iron fist. Take away the people’s rights and freedom, and they shall rebel. You play as mining engineer Alec Mason, who travels to Mars to join brother Daniel on what was deemed as a mining expedition. This quickly changes once Alec finds out that Daniel is heavily involved with the anti-EDF rebel group known as Red Faction. Alec wants no part in this but is left with little choice after his brother is gunned down before him by the EDF. Red Faction comes to Alec’s aid and so the story begins.
Red Faction: Guerrilla takes place 50 years after the Earth Defence Force defeated the Ultor Corporation to seize control of the red planet. In the following years the EDF have slowly become some what of a totalitarian regime, taking on board many of the fascist policies that they initially helped overthrow in the Ultor Corporation. Mining groups had become tired of the EDF’s tough and indiscriminate policies and hence the creation of the Red Faction alliance was formed. Now onto the game itself, Red Faction: Guerrilla is a third person shooter which mirrors closely to the game play in Grand Theft Auto IV. So think of it as something along the lines of Niko Bellic on Mars. You have free reign of the red planet with multiple mission options. There are your main missions which advance the game whilst at the same time some other minor missions known as Guerrilla actions, can also be undertaken. The game mechanics are fairly solid, easy to get into and don’t have a difficult learning curve. You can either manually select or switch between previous weapons, precision fire, jump, and cover. This works all just fine with the possible exception of the cover system and I will explain why. The most intriguing feature of the game is the GeoMod 2.0 technology which enables the destruction of basically everything around you. This however can work negatively against you whilst in cover mode because almost anything can be destroyed and once your cover is blown, you’re a sitting duck. But other than that, I don’t have any qualms concerning the game play controls. Everything seems to move fluidly and there were no noticeable lapses in frame rate.
After a small intro, you are off as you roam freely around Mars with an assortment of mission objectives that are readily available. The EDF have control over six sectors on Mars which forms as the basis of Red Faction’s main objective. Liberating all six sectors involves fulfilling three criteria. This can be achieved by reducing the EDF’s control in the sector and also in the completion of the main and side missions. After fulfilling all three actions, a liberation mission becomes available. Accomplish this and then you can progress on to the remaining sectors. Finishing missions and destroying buildings will earn the player credit which can go towards purchasing new weapon upgrades. The more you progress in both your main and side missions, the more weapon upgrades you will be able to further unlock. These upgrades can all be found in safe zones. Safe zones are essentially Red Faction headquarters, where you can upgrade your weapons, refill your ammo, and pick up a vehicle. You can sprint without tiring and using up stamina during the game but to really make travelling easier, you do need a vehicle of some kind to move around the planet effectively. Some locales in the game are quite far apart, so using a vehicle or hijacking one comes in pretty handy. It's vitally important when you have to be somewhere in a certain amount of time. Having a vehicle is also useful for when you need to make a hastily retreat from swarms of incoming EDF forces.
The game consists of 20 story missions with objectives such as capturing bases, protecting targets and acquiring key areas that are in the interest of Red Faction’s main goal. Aside from the main missions, players have a bit more freedom with the rest of the objectives, and you can go through the entire game without having to undertake any of the side missions if you don’t want to. Performing these missions or guerrilla actions as they are known though, will earn you additional credit which you can put towards your weapon upgrades. The morale will also be increased when these guerrilla missions are completed and this helps get nearby locals to pick up arms and join alongside you in the fight against the EDF. What I found great about Red Faction: Guerrilla is that, it’s one of those games where you won’t be fully satisfied unless you have fulfilled all the side missions and taken control of all sectors before levelling the EDF’s fortresses. There’s a great sense of satisfaction at watching the destruction of these massive structures right before your eyes. Nothing speaks louder in volume than freeing the people from their oppressors. These colossal EDF structures are a sign of dominance and of oppression. It made me feel powerful to be able to take something like that down for the people.
The game play has a some what repetitive nature to it though. Get to a specific area, go John Rambo on everything in sight, repel the on coming EDF forces and then hit that on loop. There are some variations in the mission types but these are a little too far and few between. There are numerous mini-game types of missions that allow you to increase your control in certain areas as well as a few rescue missions here and there. Beyond this though, the game does not really offer a whole lot more after that. I’m not attempting to reflect the excellent game play in a negative light, this is just something that I thought I should point out and it’s something that I picked up on during play. If you’re anything like me as a gamer who likes to complete and unlock everything, then be prepared for a bit of repetition in these missions. The one underlying question though is whether or not this is a fun game to play? In my honest opinion, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’. The fact that you can also blow pretty much everything and anything up, really enhances the fun factor here. The sledgehammer, enough said.
Mars, it’s red and in Red Faction: Guerrilla there is an abundance of red hills, open plains and more red hills. Visually it’s not a whole lot to look at here but what you do get is impressive texturing and lighting effects that encompass the landscape. There are a few populated areas scattered around the place that comprise of some nicely constructed Martian edifices. Frame rate remains solid throughout the game which can be played at the full 1080p resolution. There is some minor texture popping and an issue with draw distance is cleverly concealed by hills and conveniently placed landmarks. Character models and vehicles are all nicely done despite there being a lack of variation with them. On the whole, it’s a nice looking game for the limited colour palette used, taking into consideration why they call this the red planet.
Audio stacks up very well with the games voice acting solid from beginning to end. There isn’t a great deal of dialogue to be had between the cut scenes though, with more emphasis on the core game play taking precedents over the audio in this particular game. The explosions, gunfire and other sound effects are crisp and consistently well executed. Soundtrack comes and goes at key moments, such as when you’re causing damage and setting everything off for a big bang. When things go bang and the walls come tumbling down, it definitely is music to the ears.
Multiplayer offers a good dose of action with up to 16 players online. There are a few game modes to choose from such as Damage Control, Siege and Demolition. Damage Control sees two teams fighting for control over three structures with each team having to destroy then rebuild that structure in order to take command of it. Siege is a battle of who can inflict the most damage to a map between two teams, and finally Demolition mode incorporates selecting one player as a destroyer, that must inflict as much damage as possible to gain points. There’s also a Wrecking Crew mode that allows offline multiplayer missions, based on who can cause the most amount of damage. I found the online play to be smooth and very lag free, which is a great endorsement for this title. The extensive range of online multiplayer modes in Red Faction: Guerrilla really is a big plus and will keep you thoroughly entertained for quite a considerable amount of time.
In conclusion I would like to add that Red Faction: Guerrilla enthralled me in the same way as InFamous did. The game boasts solid and enjoyable game play that does well to really draw you into the action. I was surprised at how well the physics engine calculates your destruction like nothing I’ve seen before. When you’re blowing things up, they do so in a manner that would be replicated in real life and not just a random act of destruction or explosion of any other standard video game. The GeoMod 2.0 technology makes all this possible and it’s a real credit to the developers at Volition for providing gamers with a more intuitive dynamic to the game. My only criticism would stem from the fact that there is a bit of repetition in mission structure and the story, characters and vehicles are all a little lacking in variety. But overall, Red Faction: Guerrilla is a worthwhile purchase, boasting great multiplayer and lengthy campaign mode. Highly recommended.
AAG Score: 9.0/10
1. GeoMod 2.0 allows you to destroy everything.
2. Lengthy and challenging campaign.
3. Excellent multiplayer mode.
4.Bang, bang, boom sound effects.
1. Weak storyline.
2. Repetitive mission structure.
Reviewed and Written By Yuto Hayasaka