Red Faction: Guerrilla Review (PS3)

If the story of one man liberating an oppressed Mars sounds a wee bit familiar, you’ve probably seen Total Recall, a movie that tells the story of one man liberating an oppressed Mars. Either that or you’ve played Red Faction before, a game that tells the story of one man liberating an oppressed Mars. See the similarities? Whatever. It’s not important, because what really matters is what we think of Red Faction: Guerrilla, the third in a series of shooters that boast a unique gimmick in allowing you to blow huge great chunks out of your scenery.

Thing is, where the first two Red Faction games dealt exclusively with terrain deformation, Guerrilla is now more concerned with the stuff on top of the terrain. Volition have returned to the drawing board, painstakingly building a brand new iteration of its proprietary Geo-Mod tech so that you can destroy any structure that you come across on your mission to overthrow the fascist Earth Defence Force. Destruction is the crux of Red Faction: Guerrilla, presenting the player with an arsenal of heavy weaponry with which to topple vital EDF buildings. There are other means at your disposal, such as hydrogen tanks that you can pick up and strategically place before shooting them and watching the fireworks, or you can carefully rig a building’s structural weak points with sticky remote mines and then stand back to detonate them and watch your handiwork with a big grin on your face.

Mason gets a bit pensive. “Is all this destruction worth it?” He thinks, maybe. Yes it is.
This is more like it – guns and stuff blowing up.

Every building in the game has been built to react realistically to your methods of demolition, so metal will stress and buckle and masonry will smash and crumble as you swing your heavy sledgehammer through it like a knife through butter. When a structure eventually gives way, the Havok physics kick in and send the edifice crashing to the ground in a heap of twisted girders and rubble amid a billowing cloud of dust and debris. It’s massively satisfying and the main reason that you’ll never ever grow bored of Red Faction. Once you’ve razed a structure to the ground, you can then pick through the wreckage to pick up shiny pieces of salvage material, which you can then exchange for new weapons and upgrades back at your safehouse.

And there’s plenty of great weaponry to splash your hard-earned salvage on, from the awesome electric dispensing Arc Welder to the car-bomb-in-your-pocket devastation of the Thermobaric Rocket Launcher and the mini-black hole Singularity Bombs, they’re all well worth squirreling away for. Later you’re able to purchase armour upgrades, more ammunition and a fast travel ability that enables you to jump between safehouses, so every little scrap of salvage is sacred. Every weapon in the game has a real heft and impact to it too, so when you unleash a rocket, you’ll certainly know about it. The explosions are exceptional too, erupting in a huge ball of blinding incendiary orange that tears through whatever’s in its path. Reluctant hero Alec Mason (dodgy trenchcoat, name like a pub landlord) gradually develops into a one-man army as you acquire more advanced hardware and tougher armour. Eventually you’ll invincible enough to start experimenting with wilder ways to blow things up like covering a vehicle in remote mines, ploughing through a wall, diving clear and then setting the whole thing off.

Anarchy and Team Anarchy are your standard deathmatch modes in multiplayer.
The Reconstructor enables you to rebuild important structures almost instantaneously.

Red Faction’s sandbox Martian landscape is enormous too, so you’ll be playing for hours on end completing the various missions and side objectives scattered across the map. Travelling between tasks is simple thanks to the helpful GPS you can activate by clicking on your destination and aside from the central story-led missions, there’re a whole host of distracting guerrilla actions, demolition targets and hostage rescues to complete. Some portions of the game might seem a tad repetitious at certain junctures, but the solid gameplay and way in which the missions are structured means that 90 percent of the time you’re always doing something fresh and exciting like riding shotgun and pounding the EDF with volleys of rockets from a mounted turret or helping out besieged members of the resistance in a fraught gunfight against enemy troops.

There are six distinct sectors that you’ll visit from the typical Martian red dust of Parker and the aptly named Dust to the verdant greens and blue skies of Oasis. Each region has its own array of missions to carry out and an army of entrenched EDF to depose in your very own massively destructive fashion. You’re always compelled and entertained while playing Red Faction’s missions due to the way in which the entire experience has been tightly engineered to provide the maximum level of fun possible. All of the annoyances you’d normally associate with an open-world title have been removed, so that only pure, pleasurable enjoyment remains. Stranded in the middle of nowhere? A vehicle driven by a resistance member will inexplicably appear from out of the blue, he’ll deliver it, get out and wander off on his merry way. It makes no sense whatsoever, but who cares when it means you don’t have to sprint miles just to find civilisation again? Flipped your truck? Get out and flip it back over then. Died for the umpteenth time? You’ll lose three morale points and get respawned back at the nearest safehouse. No big deal, no acrid tears of frustration. All games should be this forgiving – the world would be a much better place for it.

Some ‘action’ from the Red Faction community multiplayer event at SCEE HQ in London, May 18th.
With a Full HD TV up for grabs, we still only managed to come in fifth place. Boo! Hiss! Etc.

So far, so good then – Guerrilla’s single-player campaign is unreservedly brilliant. And we haven’t even mentioned multiplayer yet. We had the chance to experience every one of the six 16-player multiplayer game modes at Sony’s European HQ in London as part of a community event organised by publisher THQ. We can confidently state without hyperbole that Red Faction’s multiplayer is all kinds of fun, incorporating the same demolition model as the main game, the action is fast and frenetic, especially when you factor in the backpacks. There are ten different backpacks, each granting a different enhancement such as a burst of increased on-foot speed, a health boost or improved firepower. Others are more destructive such as the Rhino, which lets you run through walls or Tremor, which shakes buildings to their foundations.

Red Faction: Guerrilla is the complete package – bombastic action, oodles of variety, heavy firepower, destruction on an immense scale and an open sandbox world that places no restrictions on where you can go or how you approach your objectives. The story, characters and location may lack the depth and detail of say GTA IV’s, but then this is an altogether different animal. This is videogaming popcorn; the equivalent of a massive summer blockbuster and by far the biggest one you’ll play this year. For sheer unpretentious, balls-out, action-packed entertainment you need look no further. Red Faction: Guerrilla is the game for anyone that loves to blow stuff up, which should be any human being with a pulse. So go on, what are you waiting for? Get your ass to Mars.

Top game moment:
Oh, man. Do we have to choose? Rigging a building with enough explosives to end the world and detonating it is a spectacle that never gets old.

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By Hunter_Raj (SI Member) on Aug 28, 2009
Red Faction: Guerrilla it's nice i Am waiting For this game in pc