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Red Faction: Guerilla – Well Worth the Wait

Written by: Andreus Narain, Special to CC2K

ImageCan you believe that Volition’s Red Faction series has been on hiatus for seven years? When the series first debuted as a Playstation 2 exclusive it was met with critical acclaim for being a solid entry in the first person shooter genre and having a great unique feature: Geo-mod technology. Creating your own paths (to a degree) and blowing up the environment went hand in hand with Red Faction. A sequel was released the following year and then the series went dormant, as Volition embarked on other new titles.

Now Red Faction is back dropping the number “3” from the title and instead opting to send the series in a new direction by becoming a third person experience with an emphasis on sparking a revolution for the people of Mars, hence the title “Guerilla.” Instead of being another typical shooter, Volition has decided to concentrate more on what made the original Red Faction so fun. The action in this game is fast, furious and incredibly satisfying with an emphasis on blowing as much sh*t up as possible thanks to Geo-mod technology 3.0. Players are given an open-world to mold and destroy as they see fit all for the sake of freeing Mars as a member of the Red Faction. Returning to Mars players become another underdog abused by the corrupted government. You are Alec Mason. You have come to Mars to live with your brother and start and honest life of work as a miner. But time with you brother is short lived, as the EDF (Earth Defense Federation), the corrupted government that oppresses the people of Mars, guns down your brother in front of you because he was a member of the Red Faction. You are captured and then freed, given a choice by the Red Faction to make a difference. You decide to free Mars from the EDF’s death grip on the planet and also avenge the death of you brother.

The story in the game is nothing memorable. There are only two characters worth mentioning in the entire game, and they only add little to the experience. You are called to liberate the six different sectors of the planet before you can finally make a stand against the head of the EDF. What players essentially need to know is that they will be required to blow things up in different shapes and sizes throughout Mars in an effort to push back the EDF’s control.

Mars has six different sectors for you to play in. The problem is that they do not have much visual variety. The different zones can be seen as different shades of red, some brighter and some darker. The red planet is honestly not much to look at. The game looks fine visually and offers spectacular destruction sequences, but the planet can just be too dreary at times. Overall, the game looks good. There are a few nice lighting effects of the sun off the terrain. Small tornadoes can even be seen dancing across the dustier parts of mars.

Red Faction: Guerilla plays like any other sandbox game. You are presented with a huge world and are free to move around in it. The game offers mobility by land only. You are free to use any vehicle that you can lay your hands on, but no aircraft, sadly. Vehicles naturally control differently. Trucks are slow moving, but have a lot of ramming power. Small cars are generally faster, but less resilient to damage. A problem that many will notice is that all vehicles appear to control as if you are driving on the moon. The slightest bump will send you vehicle hopping off the ground, though it really won’t affect you much.

Story missions progress the game, but you are free to do side quests as you please. They garner extra salvage (the currency in the game) that you can use to purchase additional upgrades. Missions also boost the morale of a given sector. This will increase the likelihood of a citizen helping you in firefights against the EDF. It’s too bad that the artificial intelligence in the game is so poor. Further in the game, when there are stronger EDF soldiers to face, allies will serve mainly as a shield or distraction for you. They usually aren’t equipped well enough to take on the EDF and will often die. What’s annoying is that morale is lost each time a guerilla is killed assisting you. There is an constant tug-of-war with building and maintaining morale as you play. EDF control also drops as you do side quests, which is the key to unlocking story missions. You are forced to do various missions to lower the EDF’s control of the sector before you can liberate it. There will be many times when you complete one story mission, but another is not automatically created. You will have to travel around the sector doing missions and destroying EDF structures to lower the EDF’s control to zero to progress to the next story mission.

There are only a handful of different side quests. Some will ask you to assault a building protected by EDF soldier. Others will ask you to rescue guerilla hostages. There isn’t that much variety between the missions, but what counts is the game is usually fun. Words can’t describe the feeling you first get when you destroy the base of a tower and watch it topple over destroying a bridge, crushing EDF soldiers. Those moments will come often. Worth mentioning is that even though Geo-mod technology is referred to as version 3.0 it has taken a noticeable step back. You are not able to affect the surface of mars. Gone are the days of creating your own paths in the ground. That is only a slight quibble compared to the massive destruction that you can create tearing down buildings.

As you complete missions you unlock different weapons and armor that always add to your destructive capabilities. When you start you arsenal consists of remote charges, you trusty sledgehammer and a gun. In time you will be wielding singularity grenades, rocket launchers and even the incredible nano rifle, a gun that dissolves anything that makes contact with.

This game doesn’t just boast a solid single player experience, but also an encompassing multiplayer selection. There are the typical deathmatch modes called anarchy and team anarchy. There are also objective modes, such as capture the flag and siege. Siege works especially well in Red Faction: Guerilla and can provide some of the most fun you can get out of this game. One team tries to defend a structure, while the other attempts to destroy it. There is a constant back and force swaying of momentum between the teams. The defending team also has access to a repair gun that will reassemble a structure that is falling apart. Each multiplayer game generates XP (experience points) that will allow you to gain levels. With levels first comes additional skins and other unlocks to enhance your multiplayer experience.

Red Faction: Guerilla is a great revitalization of the series. What was once a forgotten franchise with what some may have called a gimmick is back and better than before. This package delivers a strong single and multiplayer experience that should not be skipped over. Being a guerilla may usually have negative connotations, but on Mars it’s the best way to live.

+Geo-mod 3.0 (Being demolition man never felt so good)

+Huge world

+Fun multiplayer modes

-Mars looks dull

-Story is not engaging nor are the characters

-Can not affect the terrain (Here’s hoping RF: G2 changes that)