Red Faction: Guerrilla Review - Hey kid, you like explosions?
Personally, Red Faction: Guerrilla really flew in under my radar. I had never played the first two games for the PC and I really had no idea what to expect, but after playing the very short single player demo I picked up the game without reading a single review. And I am glad I did.
At its roots, Red Faction: Guerrilla is all about blowing shit up - and it all blows up real good.
Red Faction: Guerrilla places you in the space boots of one Alec Mason; nomad, brother, and mining engineer (meaning you know your way around explosives). You come to Mars looking for work, and it seems like your brother Dan has landed you a job as a miner. But Mars is not the happy go lucky place some would have you believe. The EDF (Earth Defense Force) has effectively taken over the planet, its resources,and its citizens. Curfews are in place, raids on small towns are underway, executions of those they believe to be conspiring against the EDF are in full swing.
Shortly after arriving on Mars, things quickly go south for Alec, leaving him with no choice but to Join forces with the resistance forces on Mars, who have taken up the mantle of Red Faction, and attempt to uproot the stranglehold the EDF has on Mars and its people.
On the whole the story isn't so hot. It doesn't completely blow, but you get the felling that its just kind of a placeholder there to justify why the hell you're blowing so much crap up all the time. But thankfully blowing shit up is so awesome in this game, that the story's shortcomings can easily be overlooked.
Red Faction: Guerrilla plays a lot like a GTA -style game. Its completely open world, you run, or drive around the map to get to objectives you need to complete. You'll have safehouses - although really they are more like mini bases housing Red Faction troops and equipment - where you can upgrade you're gear, stock up on ammo, catch the latest intergalactic news, and switch up weapons you're carrying with you.
Missions come in a variety of different types. Sometimes you'll be assisting a group of resistance fighters in raiding an enemy base, other times you'll be rescuing captured resistance members held in EDF occupied locations - these are just some examples of missions you need to initiate yourself, by traveling to a particular spot on your map.
Other mission types might be called in to you on the fly by resistance members. For example, you might be driving by on the road minding your own business, when you get a call by some resistance members requesting your assistance in fending off an EDF raid, or perhaps a request to take out a convoy heading to resupply EDF troops. Its completely up to you whether you take on these on the fly missions, and it's nice that the game randomly throws in an extra bit of variety on top of all of the stuff you can already do.
Also, if you don't like people always telling you what to do and sending you on these damn missions all the time, the game has you covered on that end too. On your map will be displayed different types of "targets", which are essentially buildings owned and important to the EDF. Low value targets are things like checkpoint buildings or storage tanks, and are shown on your minimap as solid red blocks. Medium value targets will be represented on your minimap, and your "Global Map" as stars within icons, and high value targets look similar, but with a different symbol. Medium to High value targets can be things like Windmills to command centers. Watch out when rolling in on the high value targets - they are defended to the teeth, and surviving your way through these are a challenge.
So what do we do with these targets once we reach them? Blow them the fuck up of course! And when I mean blow them up, I mean blow them all the way up. The game gives you tons of ways to to reek havoc on buildings, and its physics system is crazy. When an explosive goes off in a building, the walls are blown out. Take out enough of the buildings support structure, and the whole thing literally crumbles to the ground. Once you have taken these buildings appart, they will drop what is called Salvage. Salvage is the games version of money and is important toward unlocking new weapons, better gear, passive abilities, and tons of other stuff.
So here's how the campaign works. Mars has 6 sectors that need to be liberated. Each sector has a Control Meter, which starts out full, and a Morale meter, which starts off empty. Control is the games representation of the EDF's grip on that sector. Morale is the representation of how your faction is viewed by the opressed workers on Mars. There are a set amount of "Red Faction" missions per sector as well. To be able to liberate the sector, you need to get the "Control" meter down to zero, and must complete all the Red Faction missions for that sector. Once these two criteria have been met a special Liberation mission will become unlocked - win this, and you've won over the sector, no more pesky EDF will bother you here.
Control is depleted by completing certain types of missions and blowing up EDF owned buildings. Low value targets deplete Control slowly, but render a much smaller reaction from the EDF, and if you're really quick about it, you'll be long gone before their patrol shows up to examine the wrekage. Medium and High value targets are tougher to take down, but put a massive dent in the EDF's control meter.
Morale is a bit different, but interesting - You fill up morale by rescuing hostages, defending against EDF raids, generally any missions where you're helping out the workers of Mars. Morale does a couple of things, there will be ammo crates scattered throughout the world, and a higher morale rating means more ammo whenever you take advantage of these crates. Also if you're engaged in a fight with the EDF, the higher the morale in a sector, the more likely someone that might be driving by will hop out of their vehicle with a gun, and start giving you a hand. At higher levels, you might get a squad of three or four people arrive in a vehicle to help you fight the EDF. The only downside is that you dont have control over the members helping you out, they're pretty dumb and die kinda quick.
The weapons you use throughout the game run the gambit from standard pistols, shotguns, assult rifles to the games Iconic weapon, the Sledgehammer (the only weapon in the game that can be used in a stealthy mannger, by the way) to the ultra crazy, you'll find those out for yourself. Driving controls are solid, more than they should be, but we're not talking about a simulator, so who cares. Tons of vehicle models are present, but securing one with guns on it should be something you're always mindful of.
Graphically, the game looks alright, not the best looking game I've ever seen, but definately not the worst. The one thing to keep in mind here is that we are talking about a very recently settled Mars. You know, the Red Planet. Desolate, kinda shitty looking. Red.
Multiplayer, is addictive as hell, with some of the craziest weapons I've ever seen in a game, tons of different modes, ranging from the traditional deathmatch, team deathmatch capture the flag, as well as some other special ones for Red Faction: Guerrilla. There is tons of replay value to be found here. (Im going to stop here, too much to talk about, just play it!).
All in all, Red Faction: Guerrilla is one of the most pleasent surprises this year. While the story is unfortunately lacking, the game has tons of stuff to do across singleplayer and mutiplayer, awesome weapons, and the physics engine makes blowing stuff up an absolute pleasure.
If you are a fan of crazy action games, you should definately give this game a try.