Red Faction: Guerrilla Review

By Darryl Kaye on June 7, 2009

Red Faction: Guerilla comes to us from Volition Inc, who also developed the two previous instalments in the franchise. However, unlike those that came before, Red Faction: Guerilla isn't a first-person shooter. Instead, Volition have decided to take the game into an open world setting, with a third-person perspective. One thing remains the same though, it's lust for destruction, and this is even more prevalent in the latest instalment into the franchise known as Red Faction.

Before any destruction is allowed, the game introduces Alec Mason. He is asked to come to Mars by his brother under the false pretences of working. However, shortly after his arrival, Alec realises that things aren't exactly how his brother described them and is promptly thrust into contributing to the Red Faction - a renegade group who are trying to rid Mars of the Earth Defence Force (EDF).

It's not exactly a riveting story though, and everything about it seems rather generic. It's difficult to care about the plight of the Mars citizens no matter how xenophobic the EDF are, purely because hardly any of the characters are actually expanded upon. Only one other character really has any kind of back story, and the plot twist is rather transparent. It essentially serves as a weak vessel to do what everyone wants to do, blow stuff up.

On that note, the destruction is actually excellent. Prior to the game's release, Volition spoke about the physics that they'd employed to make the buildings behave as realistically as possible and it certainly shows. Although the terrain isn't deformable, literally all of the structures can be damaged and collapsed in what can only be described as an art. Whether the player wants to knock out all of the base foundations with their sledgehammer, or to just blow it up using a rocket launcher, it will collapse depending on the damage that's been dealt.

Unfortunately, some of the other gameplay elements don't perform as well. The driving, in particular, is very forgettable; vehicles just don't handle as expected. Turning seems awkward and there isn't really any sense of speed. This is particularly frustrating towards the start of the game when it's essential to drive everywhere as the map is rather large and getting from A to B to start missions becomes monotonous. This frustration is slightly alleviated by an upgrade that allows teleportation to bases, but this doesn't help the situation with regards to actual missions.

There is quite a lot of variety in the game. Aside from the story driven missions, there are side missions which are completely optional. It's actually possible to complete the game without doing any of the side missions, as the main missions unlock when the EDF's hold on the area decreases. Doing missions helps to lower this, but it can also be decreased by destroying key EDF landmarks in the area. Some of the side missions involve getting a vehicle from A to B in a set time, or destroying a building using a specific array of equipment and they can also be replayed upon completing the game. It gives a good level of replayability, as there are times which need to be beaten to achieve the 'pro' time.

Wrecking Crew is also a great addition, even if it can only be played offline. There are four different modes, which are playable by up to four different people. The majority of them revolve around causing as much destruction as possible, and it's then a direct competition as to who can achieve the highest score within the designated model of criteria. When combined with a full online multiplayer component, it offers a lot for players who aren't satisfied with the single player campaign.

There are plenty of unlockables in the online section of the game, 125 to be precise. There is also the same level of destruction available, so the buildings and cover naturally get decreased in size over time. Matches can only have up to 16 players though, which is probably due to the level of destruction available.

Final Thoughts

Red Faction: Guerrilla offers a completely unrivalled experience when it comes to destruction. There's nothing quite like bringing down a huge structure, and watching it crumble piece by piece. The actual combat in the game performs admirably, but the driving leaves a lot to be desired and overall the game just lacks a bit of the wow factor. However, the game has plenty to offer, with lots of replayability and it definitely stands on its own two feet when placed against rivals in its chosen genre.

blog comments powered by Disqus