When I heard Volition and THQ were making a sequel to two of the most destructive First Person Shooters, I was interested to see how theyíd approach the idea of a next-generation engine to power a new level of destructibility in games. Iíd long been a die-hard fan of the first and second Red Faction and the thought of applying those similar engine designs to our new console systems and updated PCís appealed to me.
So I watched the development of Red Faction Guerrilla with eager eyes. Well, having had hands on with the game for a while now I can say that this instalment of the RF series is totally different to the first two games and in a good way.Story
Mars in the future has been terraformed by the Earth Defence Force and what started out as a fairly helpful occupation has turned into a brutal iron-fisted regime of martial law, daily beatings and slave workforces across the face of the red planet. Enter you, Alec Mason, a newly arrived miner who is quickly drawn into the world of Guerrilla Warfare when his life is changed forever and he is branded a criminal, worse of all, a Red Faction insurgent. Alec now joins the Red Faction...and its payback time.Gameplay
Viewed from a 3rd person (a first for the series) Alecís world is akin to that of Grand Theft Auto IV or Saints Row 2. Itís an open world sandbox title and against those two giants it has some big shoes to fill, thankfully, it does so in spades. Right from the get go Red Faction Guerrilla is a solid title; the controls are smooth and easy to learn. You move with the left stick, move the camera with the right, the right trigger fires your weapon or swings your hammer and the left trigger does a secondary overhead slam with the hammer or melee attack with a weapon. A simple tutorial leads you into the actual game and explains the controls extremely well.
You can steal or borrow vehicles from sympathetic miners, or those of the Red Faction when you return to your Safehouse. Mars is split into sectors with names like Parker, Dust, Oasis and so forth. Alecís job in the game is simple; he must use Guerrilla Warfare Tactics to break the EDFís control on Mars. He can do this in several ways, by attacking EDF convoys, performing side-missions known as Guerrilla Actions across the various sectors of the red planet and completing story based missions that are important to the Red Factionís progress and war effort.
As you destroy priority targets, convoys and fight the good fight, the EDF will begin to lose control, shown by a display on your minimal HUD. Your final Red Faction mission will always be locked out until you have brought down the EDFís control to zero and finished the previous Red Faction missions in the sector. Once you have completed the RF missions and the EDF are at zero, you can embark on the final sector mission that will liberate the sector.
Itís important to explain right now that the people of mars are caught between the EDF and the RF. Thus every sector has Morale and it can fluctuate based on several factors. Kill your own people or the people of Mars; morale is going to drop like a stone. Let the EDF get away with murder and the morale drops again. So you have to be careful to watch that innocents donít get caught in the crossfire of your revenge.
A liberated sector has no EDF patrols and everyone should be friendly towards you.
Alec isnít alone in his fight and should you have a high sector morale then youíre more likely to find that the RF or sympathetic miners take up guns and join your cause. This can lead to some pretty epic fire-fights. Volition have implemented a cover system in the game and with a quick tap of the left bumper Alec can push against a surface, lean out and shoot at the enemy. Cover of course doesnít really mean much in this game since it has Geo Mod 2.0 powering it. Alecís health regenerates after a short amount of time as long as you keep him in cover or hidden.
Alec has another tool is in fight to liberate Mars. Scrap, from scrap the RF techie can upgrade your character, weapons and ammo counts (and a few other things Iím not going to spoil) back at any Safehouse you visit. To earn scrap you can destroy vehicles, undergo certain Guerrilla Actions and just smash or destroy EDF structures. Of course doing the latter will draw heat from the EDF pretty quickly and depending where you are, the severity of your actions, youíll get a varied response that ranges from a few troopers to a whole army looking to put you in the red dirt permanently. Once you have enough scrap you can trade it to your tech for upgrades and for example, increase the amount of remote charges you can place at one time.
Side missions can either give you control, morale, scrap or a mix. These range from Heavy Metal (smash things using a set vehicle for a particular goal: kill x of y) whilst the Red Faction moves supplies elsewhere. Collateral Damage: Play gunner for a RF driver and blow up a certain amount of stuff before he makes it back to the Safehouse, Raids with the RF, House Arrests and more. If you want to see everything RFG has to offer youíre going to be at it for quite some time since the whole of the Red Planet is pretty large and opens up at a nice pace.
The main story is delivered in nicely presented and paced chunks as the game progresses and is told in a solid cinematic way using the in-game engine to power all of the special effects. The mission design is excellent and there are some truly epic and innovative fun missions in both the side category and the main story.