majormitch's Red Faction: Guerrilla (Xbox 360) review

Wanted: Demolitions Expert

I really liked the original Red Faction back in the day (let's forget about Red Faction II, shall we?), and was kind of surprised to see that its impressive Geo-mod technology didn't find its way into more games. Blowing up environments to create your own path was as exciting as anything, making it nice to see Red Faction: Guerrilla more or less take the series back to its roots. At the same time, the rest of the game is fairly underwhelming, and all too often frustrating. The result is a middling action game, and one that I can only recommend to those who really get off on the idea of blowing stuff up.
Fortunately, Red Faction: Guerrilla does indeed make blowing stuff up fun. Its upgraded Geo-mod 2.0 makes just about everything fair game for destruction, and gives you a ton of freedom in how you go about doing your missions. The game's open world nature aids in this as well, as you can approach any given target from all sorts of angles. The game's variety of weapons also help to keep your destructive options interesting. From remote charges to rocket launchers, all the way down to your trusty hammer (which is awesomely capable of taking even the sturdiest structures down), the game gives you enough ways to take down a building. You can even just ram a vehicle through structures as well, and watch as it comes crumbling down on top of you. All of these factors aid in creating what's easily the game's most satisfying attribute- destroying stuff.
Unfortunately, the underlying design of Red Faction: Guerrilla doesn't do a lot to cater towards its destructive nature. There are way too many mission types that have nothing to do with destroying stuff. In a game based so heavily around destruction, rescuing hostages and defending bases just feel wrong. The controls also don't transition well to any scenario where you're not haphazardly destroying stuff- it's all too easy to accidentally connect your hammer to the face of a hostage you've just rescued. Even worse, however, are the vehicle controls. It's as if the vehicles in the game are made of light cardboard boxes. They float into the air with the slightest bump in the road, or even if you just turn too sharply. This makes the handful of missions that put a time limit on you driving from point A to point B totally frustrating. Last but not least, the AI in the game is just bad. My lasting image of Guerrilla will probably be one of constantly getting run over by friendly reinforcements- you know, the guys trying to help me. And it's not like the enemy AI was any better.
It's a good thing that Geo-mod 2.0 holds up, and makes the destructible environments as fun as they are, because most every other part of Red Faction: Guerrilla is pretty disappointing. The game's a blast when it encourages you to wreak as much havoc as possible, but it just doesn't do it enough. A lot of wonky design elements get in the way of the game's best feature, making Red Faction: Guerrilla a hard sell for anyone but the most die hard explosion enthusiasts.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.

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