What was my takeaway from the original Red Faction? Geo-Mod. Drilling through Martian rock and creating craters. I don’t believe I even played Red Faction 2 — if I did, it wasn’t memorable at all. This third installment, curiously named Red Faction: Guerrilla, will go down in gaming history as one of the best demonstrations of building destruction. If you love demolitions, you’ll love this game. Buildings of all shapes and sizes can be reduced to a heap of scrap metal and rubble with carefully placed explosives. Or via a sledge hammer. Or better yet, destroyed by a truck running through its front door and right through the back. This game felt liberating, but at the same time, I often found myself wanting to stop playing due to mind numbing repetition.
Red Faction: Guerrilla followed the typical open world template; creativity was tucked away in story missions while side missions featured a handful of rinse and repeat tasks. Most of the side missions were weren’t tough at all, but there were a handful which I avoided because it was far too annoying to rescue NPCs and combat the waves upon waves of enemies. I have no idea where they came from.
If I could, I would have ignored the side missions altogether, but completing them unlocked additional gadgets and improvements for the protagonist, Mason. Any time I was just about to call it quits on the game, a nifty unlock would appear. At first it was a rifle that disintegrates objects with its magical bullets. It was nice, but not game changing. Then they introduced the jet pack which kept me playing to the very end.
The jet pack opened up the world and turned Mason into a super hero. I’d use it to jump over walls to infiltrate enemy bases and as an emergency escape route. I felt like I could go anywhere! But alas I was wrong. Invisible walls were erected to impede progress and — especially at the end — I was forced to use silly land vehicles in order traverse from one point to another. Why go the long way when you can hop over this mountain with your jet pack?
I played the game on the normal difficulty, but I’ve seen recommendations for playing it on easy in order to mitigate buzz killing deaths. However, with the aid of an adequate cover system, keeping tabs on equipment upgrades and a bit of ingenuity: I kept untimely deaths in check. Dying only started becoming a problem towards the end game when swarms of enemies would descend upon me and I would run out of ammunition.
As my first Games for Windows Live! game, Red Faction: Guerrilla was impressive. It was one of the rare games with its Xbox 360 controller support which actually displayed the appropriate button images depending on input device. I also enjoyed conversing with an Xbox Live! buddy via the ‘Guide’ interface.
The game ran well enough, but only after I discovered DirectX 9 mode. I kept it at 1600 x 900 in order to maintain 60 FPS as much as possible. I was also forced to use D3DOverrider utility in order to force Triple Buffering. As for 5.1 audio support? There was no way to enforce it via the menus so I wasn’t able to enjoy the surround sound goodness. However, I don’t think I was missing much. I found much of the audio to be subdued and unclear. It felt like the action on screen wasn’t done justice by the audio department which was a shame.
As you may have noticed, I didn’t speak much about the story or the reasons behind all the terrorism — that’s what I was a terrorist against the Earth Defense Force. And that’s all you and I needed to know because there wasn’t much else in that well. I guess that’s one reason why I was on the brink of giving up on Red Faction: Guerrilla. I felt like I was conducting random missions without cause; I like to have some convincing reason to go on. It’s the reason why I was able to finish games like Grand Theft Auto IV because I was enjoying the story that was spun for all the random acts of violence. But, if you are not like me and simply enjoy destroying things, this game is for you. You can marvel at all the hard work that went into settling Mars and then blow it all to hell.
Worth a Try
For more information on Red Faction: Guerrilla, visit the official website.
2010 PC Rev 1.0 was used to play Red Faction: Guerrilla.