Red Faction: Guerrilla — Review

In the slow time of the year for major game releases, I went ahead and tackled some of my backlog of games before today’s release of Homefront. Unfortunately I just don’t have the time needed to start Dragon Age II, so with the new releases aside, I choose Red Faction: Guerrilla. I was somewhat influenced by my distant memories of the first two titles which had amazed me with the destructible environments. Nostalgia factors aside, lets dive right into the core of this latest Red Faction title.

Starting things off with the gameplay mechanics, Red Faction: Guerrilla is an open-world third-person shooter. Taking the destructible environments from the previous two titles, Guerrilla pushes the boundaries by introducing a newer and much more powerful version of the Geo-Mod engine. This new engine essentially allows you to flatten any building or structure in sight by any means you wish to use. Combining the destructible environments with a variety of vehicles and weapons, you will be fighting in several regions of Mars to liberate the civilians from the Earth Defence Force (EDF). With the basics covered, let’s move right onto the missions. 

As I previously mentioned, Red Faction: Guerrilla is an open world game. The world is split into six areas, with each one containing its unique pairing of EDF control and civilian morale ratings. In order to progress to different areas, you need to liberate the people of the current area by grinding away at the EDF’s control. Taking away control is mostly done via missions, which all fall into one of three categories.

The first and most important missions you will be playing are the campaign driven ones. Other than the odd story elements, you will have to complete multiple objectives on each of these uniquely structured missions. The small amount of these missions is somewhat of a letdown since they provide the only change of pace in the game.

An open world game would be nothing without a good quantity of side quests. Like the norm, Red Faction uses a few templates to create the time-constrained side missions. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, because missions like taking down a building with a limited arsenal can be quite fun. But when you already stole five vehicles or had to defend another zone for the seventh time, they rapidly become repetitive. Don’t even get me started on the escort missions, because… fuck it.

Taking advantage of its destruction engine, the last category of missions involves the demolition of EDF targets. As you can imagine, the higher the priority, the heavier the defense you will encounter. Pushing your way through the forces to take down these structures can be quite amusing, but also tedious considering the sheer amount of targets scattered throughout the map.

As a total package, it feels somewhat uninspiring and empty. Part of it is the vast dullness of being on mars, which makes for quite the sleep-inducing world. The other would be the complete lack of character interaction beyond the odd chatter during the missions. Beside the main missions, you will spend most of the time wandering around doing side-quests and flattening some nice EDF structures. But at the end of the day, all the time spent repeating the same side mission structures has no effect on your primary missions. Without handing Red Faction the finishing blow by mentioning the sub-par AI, there is at least one saving grace for this; dropping the difficulty to casual and jumping into a walker to wreak havoc will never get old. As a matter of fact, I wish this technology makes its way into other games.

So overall what are we left with? Obviously enough, the drab world of Mars is far from an ideal place to spend some time on. Needing to spend that time playing through same repetitive side missions will not help it either. As for the main missions, I just jumped right into them, skipping any dialogue because the lack of a solid story made it irrelevant past the opening scene. But if you’re just looking to run around and destroy everything in sight, the game does this quite well. Unfortunately for me, no amount of nostalgia came in to push me beyond the halfway mark in the game.

 

The attached video features one of the campaign missions sandwiched between two side missions.