Red Faction: Guerrilla Review
Red Faction Guerrilla implements some amazing destruction to make an open world action game set on Mars pretty enjoyable.
Red Faction is fairly challenging, transport missions usually hold back on the time, some of the bases are heavily fortified, reinforcements will quickly drain your health, and courier drivers are quick and rapidly change direction. You will be penalised for lack of accuracy and not seeking cover, but it is not a slow paced game. One early mission required me to take out a series of towers along a road, using your vehicle as a battering ram while 10 other EDF armed vehicles circled you, demonstrating some of the heavy action and fun that can be had. Early on during a zone it’s important to get some morale and decimate the EDF with easy guerrilla missions or destroying EDF property. If you go straight through the campaign you will have a harder time because of the lack of reinforcements and the stronger EDF presence. Even still some missions are tough, because they spawn very aggressive enemies that continually fire at you not giving you enough time to recharge your health. Later in the game you may want to go back and complete some easier guerrilla missions in order to acquire better weapons.
It would be even harder if the vehicles didn’t control decently. The wheeled vehicles drive pretty well, the suspension feels solid and they fly over mounds and through walls naturally although can slide about too much. Vehicles do have health and will lose doors and eventually catch fire then explode. There are a few different types, some quick and nimble buggies, other heavy battering ram types. There are also the walkers, these are much rarer but for good reason, you can literally walk through buildings as they crumble to the ground, and you can smash through wheeled vehicles with relative ease. Unfortunately even though the vehicle physics are decent they did not find the time to implement a “race” type mission. Your ammo is also fairly limited although there are ammo crates to stock up on you will be weary of how many rounds you have left. Most of the time you will succumb to sheer weight of numbers so getting out quickly is a good decision. Dying doesn’t mean the end of things though, all this really means is that sector loses morale and you get taken to the nearest safe house and destruction you performed previously is reset.
On the multiplayer side of things Red Faction goes for more is better approach. There are lots of game modes, maps, customisations and player packs. All the destruction from the single player carries over unfortunately like in single player this can mean some framerate drops when humans are causing havoc. The frames didn’t seem as bad as the single player and only sometimes the connection resulted in unplayable gameplay. The game uses matchmaking, not servers, and generally there are about 6 players per match, it actually works well like this on smallish maps. You can use packs which are both offensive and defensive to heal, do more damage, cruise through buildings, shake buildings down or hide from enemies. The weapons from the single player also appear as pickups around maps and can be swapped around at any time.
There are a variety of modes which are based on other popular multiplayer games with perhaps more emphasis on teamwork and the process of getting in the game is fairly quickly. Team Bagman seemed fairly popular; one member of the team holds the bag for points while the other team attacks him. During the match nodes provide you with alternative packs to swap out. Aside from the framerate and matchmaking issues the multiplayer is quite enjoyable when you start with a clean map and it ends in complete rubble and can get crushed by buildings. It is also relatively friendly to new players, good training videos outlay the basics and you will get a few kills here and there because of the modes, level structure and multidirectional attacks. It is fun to burst through a wall the enemy is hiding behind and take them out. It certainly seems like a worthy complement to the single player when you have multiplayer with good mechanics.
Red Faction Guerrilla mixes in the destruction quite nicely without giving you too much at once. The combat is enjoyable and some of the vehicle chases and escapes are fun. The game suffers a little with poor characterisation and a rather thin story. Although the story at times tries to introduce some elements that bring it above generic in general it keeps things simple enough so you know what your goals are and why you are doing it. Toward the end the story picks up a little bit and it’s a shame it wasn’t as interesting from the beginning because the mid section can feel a little directionless. Once complete you are free to roam the surface of mars doing guerrilla missions or taking out EDF structures you missed. What is quite interesting about Red Faction Guerrilla is that it almost nails what it sets out to do but still has a bucket load of potential just sitting beyond reach. There is tons of room to exploit the desolation and the mad max type car chases, there is a chance to create a more atmospheric and interesting tale.
The graphics engine does a pretty good job; it mainly shows the destruction although you might need to turn some things down to get a decent framerate when things get wild. The transition to the PC has been honest, aside from some problems with my game crashing in DirectX 10. The PC version also includes the DLC content which gives you the chance to play as Samanya as a marauder prior to the main story events. This DLC is essentially the same as the main game, destroying EDF targets, doing side missions and causing destruction but red faction members are replaced with the savage maraud>ers and salvage has been removed. This extra content will add a few hours on top of the 15-20 hour main campaign excluding any extra destruction you might wish to cause. I recommend Guerrilla for those wanting an open world type sandbox experience and would be happy with destruction being the main focus of the game.