Red Faction: Guerrilla PS3 Review

Can a game really fail to be fun if it involves blowing buildings up? Well, of course not, but it’s even better when said buildings fall to bits in a convincing manner: crumbling and giving way in the very manner that they would be expected to upon being purposely demolished.

It’s not surprising that developer, Volition have gone down this destructible route, previous Red Faction games have shown a desire for the devastation of your surrounding environment, but, now that the hardware is here, Red Faction: Guerrilla is likely closer to the game that the developer originally wanted to make. Levelling a building and leaving only a pile of rubble where it used to stand is certainly an impressive sight.

Guerrilla is seemingly more inspired by the dumb action film variety than simply the explosions, the story is also as shallow as you’d expect from one of those 1980’s action movies, meaning more brawn than brains. All you need to know is that you are attempting to make Mars (why does that word always make me hungry?) a free planet once more, and the rare cut-scenes and character building have been mostly lost under the rubble of a collapsed building.

Playing as Alex Mason, who soon becomes a part of the Red Faction freedom fighters, you’ll be taking on the EDF who have a hold on the Red Planet. As a part of the uprising, your task is to send the EDF some loud messages with the ultimate goal being the liberation of Mars.

Unlike the previous two games, Guerrilla is a third person shooter. There’s a basic cover system, a sprint action and a recharging health system, all of which must be utilised if you are really serious about freeing Mars from its oppressors. Things can get pretty intense when enemies are pouring in from every direction on foot and in vehicles, but whoever said that liberating Mars would be an easy task?

The game is of the open world variety, meaning that Mars is your sandbox for you to run and drive around. As for getting around the sizeable environment, a map allows you to place waypoints directed towards your destinations, and later on you‘re able to quickly jump from one safe house to another, considerably cutting down some of the journey times if you choose to make use of it. The planet is split into differing sectors, each of which must be released from their shackles in a bid to make the Red Planet a more pleasant place. To liberate an area, you must complete missions (side tasks or story missions) and blow up enemy property, this lowers the EDF’s morale and raises the Red Faction’s, resulting in backup from Guerrilla (not the hairiest kind) Fighters and more ammo to be found in the supply boxes.

When enemy morale is completely depleted, only then can you make your move and liberate the area. As the EDF are making their last desperate stand to keep control, these liberation missions are often some of the more intense, and completing them sends the EDF yet another explosive message: basically telling them to get lost or to prepare for even more destruction of their property. Thankfully, this is what Guerrilla is all about and what it does best.

The focus of the Geo-Mod 2.0 engine is definitely the destruction of buildings, if you want terrain deformation go back to the previous Red Faction’s or play LucasArt’s rather impressive Fracture. I found that any disappointments I had of not being able to create craters under my feet were soon put to rest, simply because demolishing buildings is much more fun than deforming the ground. Buildings turn to rubble realistically, dropping individual parts and tipping over like a felled tree, whilst vehicles can be ploughed through walls and structures. Being a man I found all this destruction exciting and many other males will love it too, but whatever your gender, it would be hard not to be impressed by the level of building destroying destruction, physics and the smooth frame-rate, even if the graphics themselves are nothing more than solid.

Many of the missions have you blowing things up: unsurprising really for a game that should be proud of what it has achieved with its level of destruction. There’s story missions and Guerrilla Actions, which is basically the game’s fancy name for its side missions. Guerrilla Actions involve you rescuing people, transporting vehicles to specific points on the map, oh and not forgetting the missions where you can wreak havoc (sometimes in a giant mech, a tank etc), making an almighty mess to destroy targets, or the other tasks in which you are given particular weapons to attempt to lay waste to buildings with.

Destroying buildings and completing missions earns you salvage. Salvage can be used to purchase new weapons (some are ridiculously powerful, which should please those who fall in love with the destruction) and upgrades (additional health, a quick jump to safe house option, more ammo for your current weapons and a jetpack amongst them) to assist in the fight for Mars.

The campaign is fantastic and destructive chaos, though it slightly outstays its welcome and can get a tad repetitive at times, whilst the story is in no way a driving point. There’s more to the game than just the single player, though, the fantastic multiplayer modes (offline, system link and online) are up there with the best. Wrecking Crew is a tremendously good fun offline multiplayer mode in which up to four players take it in turns to blow things up, competing for the highest score across various, explosive modes. Online, the game has a matchmaking system and many of the modes are unsurprisingly focussed on destruction, although you do get Deathmatches and Capture the Flag as well. There’s also backpacks to don, giving you different skills such as flight, weapon strengthening, near-invisibility, being able to charge through buildings and quick health regeneration (amongst others). It’s all good fun, and made all the more so by the falling apart of buildings.

Other than feeling a bit repetitive at times, Red Faction: Guerrilla does little wrong: the shooting and driving are good fun and I don’t have any complaints about the controls. Containing building destruction on a scale never seen before, this Mars is a fun place to be, and, if you like blowing things up, it’s unlikely that you’ll get bored with Volition’s impressive game any time soon.