Red Faction: GuerillaESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: 3rd Person: Action
2-16 System Link
Custom Sound Track
2-16 Player Online Mulitplayer
I had the chance to preview THQ’s Red Faction: Guerilla at a multiplayer event in San Francisco in mid May. It was my first time having a chance to play the game and I have to say that I really enjoyed my evening of multiplayer madness. Having had this chance with the almost final version, I really was looking forward to playing the game when it hit store shelves to see how the single player story played out, and of course finally get a chance to take the game online over Xbox LIVE. Well I have had some time to do so and I have to say that the final results are pretty darn good.
I found the visuals in Red Faction: Guerilla pretty solid. Now the game itself takes place on the red planet of Mars, and there is only so much that you can do rendering the outside of a red planet, but Volition does a great job. The setting is very suitable to the theme of the game. The mining colonies that are on Mars are very industrial and not nearly as futuristic as you might expect, but that being said it they really do match the feel and subject matter of the game’s story.
Technically speaking the game is just as solid as the art style. The characters animate pretty well, and the buildings and objects collapse or blow up quite impressively thanks to the GeoMod 2.0 engine. The game flows in terms of all that is offered, from the particle effects to the explosions that are rendered in battle. Textures and lighting are just as impressive too, giving the Martian landscape a realistic feel to it. You will notice some draw in now and then, especially during some driving sequences, but it is only noticeable when you are in wide open sections. I did not discover too much slowdown either, even when a lot of action occured on screen at once. Overall the graphics do a solid job of bringing the world of Red Faction: Guerilla to life.
The sound is a great compliment to the rest of the game. You will find that the voice acting gets the job done, but don’t expect it to knock you out of your seat. The voice actors get their lines across but not with the emotion or feeling of an epic story. As for the sound effects, they really do help bring the game into your living room, gaming room, or any room you play. The weapon sounds are solid, the explosions are full and resonate with bass, and of course the sound of buildings or objects collapsing fills your speakers with loud crashes and bangs. The sound fully immerses you the feeling of destruction and mayhem that can take place on screen.
Some of my reviews also mention about playing in a home theater or media room. Should you have a surround sound room of any type with a 5.1 Dolby Digital set-up you are in for an aural treat. Directional sound is very evident and your subwoofer will rock you out of your seat. Do not fret though, if you don’t have one of these fully featured set-ups the game still sounds good.
You take on the role of Alec Mason. The start of the game has you arriving on Mars and meeting up with your brother who you plan to work with collecting salvage and mining in the depths of the planet. Mars is in a state of conflict as it is being controlled by the Earth Defense Force (EDF). The EDF is facing resistance from an underground group called the Red Faction. Your brother is killed by the EDF as they identify him as part of this guerilla group, and when you return to his house you are confronted, tagged as being part of the same group and they attempt to kill you. Well needless to say you are not killed, and you take up arms with the Red Faction in an effort to free the inhabitants of Mars from the grip of the EDF.
The EDF control six different sections of Mars and they are quite brutal in their efforts to oppress the residents that live on the red planet. This is evident during the introductory cutscene that takes place when you meet your brother and make your way towards his house. You are treated to the sights and sounds of oppression. Of course once the game gets rolling your goal is to free the planet, one sector at a time. Red Faction: Guerilla is a sandbox style game given that you can do things in any order, and you don’t have to complete all the various missions that are available in each sector. You can choose just to complete the story missions, or you can take on the side missions as well to extend your gameplay experience. In order to take over each sector you must lower the EDF control and raise the morale of the residents. Different missions will assist you in this effort. Of course the more missions you complete, and the lower you make the EDF’s control, the more new missions you open, both story and side.
The story itself is not an impressive one as it is not deep, nor is it that engaging. Don’t get me wrong, it does exist, and you can pay attention to what events are going on, but in many ways it is secondary to the action that goes on in the game. It is told via cutscenes as well as radio and television transmissions. I found that I did pay attention to them now and then, and there were some pretty neat segments that helped the game go on. That being said, don’t worry if you don’t pay close attention as the craziness of the action is the highlight of your gaming experience with Red Faction: Guerilla.
The missions that are available are pretty diverse, ranging from crazy to pretty average. You may join a group of rebels in storming an EDF stronghold, destroy EDF property, or you may have to rescue some hostages and take them back to a Red Faction safehouse. Rest assured though, no matter what you do you will have to fight for your life as the EDF troopers that are tasked to protect all that is theirs do so with vigorous effort. I found that no matter what I had to do there was always a lot of gunplay, mayhem, and some EDF killing going on. Some people may find the large list of missions may become repetitive, but it all comes down to what you make of it and it can be a real enjoyable experience.
So what is the hitch to this game? Well, if you haven’t been following many of the previews or early impressions on the web, the Red Faction: Guerilla’s destruction manages to make the game an even better experience. Developer Volition has been touting their GeoMod 2.0 engine for quite some time during the games development. Well this is for good reason as so much can be destroyed in so many different ways. It is amazing what the destruction engine can allow, from taking down buildings, bridges, or any other objects of varying size in so many different ways. You can blow it up, break it with your sledgehammer, or drive a vehicle right into and through if you desire. The GeoMod 2.0 engine allows for some pretty cool stuff. For example, should you find yourself cornered during an intense firefight feel free to take your sledgehammer, knock a large hole in the wall, and find a new place to recover your health and then flank the unsuspecting enemy. Heck, you can even cause large structures to fall on your enemy for a surprising “death from above” kill.
The game controls just as well as I remember it from my first experience in San Francisco. The game is third person shooter but it controls like a first person shooter. You can equip four weapons at a time and you can switch between them quite quickly by holding down the right shoulder button. The analog sticks are used to look, aim, and strafe just like many people are used to in such games as Halo 3, Rainbow Six or any of the Call of Duty games. All in all I would have to give props with how well the game controls, and how quick it flows too. Weapons are the standard fare, from automatic rifles or pistols to shotguns and rocket launchers. There are a few Red Faction orientated weapons though such as the arc welder (electricity) and the grinder (disc firing weapon). You’ll find the diversity of weapons enjoyable and there is no doubt you will come across more than a few that will become high on your list.
Along with fighting on foot you will be able to drive various vehicles around the planet of Mars. These are used for quicker travel, and they are also featured in some of the game’s missions. The control of these vehicles is pretty tight, but there are occasions when some may find them floaty now and then. I actually enjoyed the times when I wasn’t trying to complete a mission as I would just get into any vehicle and run rampant across the Martian landscape.
Red Faction: Guerilla lasts about 15-20 hours depending on your skill level as well as how many missions you wish to complete. There are varying skill levels to play too, and the medium level can be quite challenging at the best of times. Once you finish the game you will also open up the insane difficulty and the word alone is a great descriptor for how this skill level plays out. There are a lot of achievements for the single player portion of this game, so there is some incentive in this manner for multiple play through, especially if you didn’t do all the missions the first time.
Along with the enjoyable single player comes a very engaging multiplayer experience as well. Red Faction: Guerilla supports up to 16 players online. There are there are three modes that you would see as standard modes in any game of this nature (e.g. other FPS or Third Person Shooters) and there are three modes which are unique to Red Faction: Guerilla. The multiplayer modes are as follows:
1. Anarchy - This is basically your standard deathmatch mode where everyone looks out for themselves.
2. Team Anarchy - This is basically your team deathmatch mode, where two teams go head to head killing each other.
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