Now I must confess that when this came out originally in 2009, I completely ignored it. Well I did play the demo for ten minutes and decided not to go with it. I was such a huge fan of the first Red Faction back in 2001 and my stubborn ways meant I didn’t like the shift this entry had. But maybe I was wrong to be harsh to judge; maybe I was right to keep my distance. I’ll find out soon enough as the remaster of Red Faction: Guerrilla has been released.
Red Faction: Guerrilla is the third game in the highly destructive series and considered to be the last good Red Faction game. It was sad when THQ decided to finish the series but now it seems like THQ Nordic might be bringing it back and starting things off with a remaster of this cult classic.
Red Faction is all about destruction, rebellion and revolution on the planet Mars (unless you count the second game) and this entry doesn’t mess around with any of these concepts. Like the first game it’s set once again on Mars where the EDF have overtaken the planet and are using every possible resource they can to oppress the people and mine for valuable minerals. This doesn’t set too well with many and soon enough the Red Faction is born once again.
Now the story is the first game didn’t have the epic gravitas or cleaver writing you might get with a Phillip K Dick novel, but it had something else. It took pretty much every FPS cliché and ramped it up and injected some interesting plot twists along the way. IT felt like an evolving story with numerous villains, big twists and epic stages for various battles to take place.
Red Faction: Guerrilla does take many of the hallmark elements from the first game and keeps things simple, maybe a little too simple in terms of the narrative. You play as dull as dish water Mason, who comes to Mars to help his brother mine and salvage. Yet within the first 5 minutes, his brother is killed and the EDF have decided you’re no good for Mars and thus things spiral out of control. Soon enough you find yourself as an iconic figure for the Red Faction and with little motivation you decide to fight for them and destroy the EDF. As I said it’s nothing special and the story is really a means for you to cause some serious destruction. But the plot can feel a little paper thin at times, with bland characters and no major twists in the story, it feels very formulaic and a little unexciting.
However it’s not the story which should draw you in but rather the explosive gameplay. At the time there were only a handful of games which focused on massively destructible environments. There was a gap and Red Faction: Guerrilla came in at the right time. It still is hugely enjoyable as players will explore several regions of Mars and do what they can to liberate them. This really bogs down to go and complete some missions, blow a lot of stuff up and collect scrap to upgrade and craft new gear.
Players will easily immerse into Guerrilla with easy to learn controls and a nice sense of progress which doesn’t drag on for all three acts. Players will find that they’ll obtain a large chunk of weapons and equipment early on and thus allows more time for players to be as destructive as they want. There’s story missions which range from blowing up building, blowing up bridges and blowing up enemy bases. Then you have side missions which entail more destruction and death with a side note of saving prisoners and obtaining vital data. While there’s not a massive deal of variation to the mission structures, there is an immense amount of exciting set pieces, enthralling combat and epic battles to engage in.
Mars is a place that offers various types of environments to explore and enough settlements and camps to destroy and gather resources from. It would’ve been nice to see a little more connection between the player and NPCs in the Red Faction, as the world would feel a little more engaging. Most of the time in Red Faction: Guerrilla, NPCs are limited to just giving mission debriefings or simply to die. But there is an interesting dynamic which heavily affects your standing with the Red Faction and keeping a high morale in the community helps you in many ways.
The morale meter in each region affects your stance with the Red Faction and this in return changes how people feel about you. This reflects how much help you may get while exploring or fighting and even affects how much resources you get when completing a mission. It’s a sensitive system that means you have to be tactical and thoughtful when it comes to sieges and attacking enemy bases. The only set back is the highly aggressive enemy AI which can be utterly brutal and merciless at times, making it difficult to keep your composure at times.
In terms of presentation, Red Faction: Guerrilla has had some major tweaking and now supports 60FPS which really smooths out the flow of destruction without any screen tearing or stutters. There’s been a boost in dynamic lighting and other little adjustments make this a smooth experience, while textures look a little dated without much improvement to them.
Then we have a revisit to which is actually an amazing multiplayer that’s couch co-op as well. Players can dive into various environments and cause as destruction as possible to obtain the most points and win the game. It’s a lot of fun and easy to get into, much like the core game.
Red Faction is a serious that will be sorely missed and while it does show it’s age in some respect, Red Faction: Guerrilla is still a vastly entertaining experience that copulates the core concepts of the original game and has some good dynamic to make it stand out as a remaster. While without a great story and some needed improvements missing, this is definitely worth checking out once again.
++ Immense and enjoyable destruction
+ Vast and detailed open world
+ Tons to do
- Lacklustre story
- Long loading screens and some outdated textures
A PS4 copy of Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review