Red Faction: Guerrilla

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posted 3/20/2009 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
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Its been 50 years since Red Faction two and things have changed. Once you fought as part of the EDF, now you are going against it. The EDF has become corrupt and as a miner named Alec Mason is bent on taking them down as revenge for the murder of his brother. Do your best to free Mars of the EDF and their tyrannical rule as you help the resistance. Thus, Red Faction Guerrilla was born and here after five years the third game in the series is almost complete.

The first two Red Faction games were of the first person nature but the third one takes you behind the character as the game has become a third person shooter. The reason going to third person as explained to me by the project manager was so that you could better see the destructible environments crumbling around you and better get yourself to safety. They did try to do it initially as a first person shooter but through their play tests they found they were dying a lot because they couldn’t see their surroundings. By pulling the camera back a little it made a world of difference and thus the evolution to a third person action game was initiated


Let’s start with the single player portion of the game. You have to liberate six sectors on Mars and in turn drive the EDF off the planet. Each sector has a unique environmental look to it so you’ll know as you move between sectors that you are changing from one to another. Your map shows you how much of a hold the EDF has for each sector. The EDF will pull out as you complete various missions to bring down controls in that sector. Missions start opening up in other areas as you start clearing out each one.

Gameplay is like Saints Row 2 in that it’s an open sandbox type of game allowing you to complete missions in however order you want. As you complete guerrilla missions, you get new items that can be added to your arsenal. Missions not only appear on the map but you’ll get communications of some available as well. You can quickly deviate from your current path to the new mission should you choose so or ignore it if you wish. It’s completely up to you and replay value is increased by spawning these random missions for you to partake in.

The engine for Red Faction Guerrilla fully utilizes the Havok physics engine to provide a realistic depiction of falling structures. You really have to play the game to see how the gameplay changes when buildings and walls pose no threat to you. If there’s a granite or metal wall in your way, just take your sledgehammer out and take it down. There’s rarely an area you can’t bust through and you can topple large buildings by taking out the necessary support structure. When you do start taking buildings apart, it’s not uncommon to only see parts of the buildings fall or have delay in which the buildings crumble down. It’s really slick on how it’s done and there are many times the buildings fall apart differently giving some nice variety in the level of destruction you cause. Busting parts of the walls down with your sledgehammer is very therapeutic and visually impressive. When enemies hide behind any wall now, just take out your trusty hammer and hit right through to create a short cut to get to them. You can also utilize the structures available to create new paths. For example, if there’s a gap which you cannot cross and there’s a smokestack nearby, you can try to bring down the smokestack and create a makeshift bridge for you to cross. So, not only are the destructible buildings allow you to get through to places quickly you can also strategically use them to get to other places that are normally unreachable as well. There is a danger of buildings falling on top of you causing great damage but in the single player mode the game was pretty generous in letting you live when this happened. There were a few times I died outright though. The impressive engine really opens up a whole new level of gameplay now that there’s no such thing as a safe area to hide behind.

As part o the Red Faction you start out equipped with a sledgehammer as mentioned earlier and an assault rifle along with some explosive charges. You’ll be able to pick up enemy weapons and ammo as you go along. You always have the sledgehammer so you have the option of changing three other slots to the type of weapon you want to equip. Other items available are the rocket launcher, nano rifle, shotgun, and grinder which shoot off Krull like discs of death. There are a few others that will help you take out the enemies or buildings and most of the items can be upgraded with new features. Building up your weapons provides a light RPG element as you have to decide which weapons to upgrade and concentrate on. One thing I found is that ammo is scarce and you’ll really need to take down the EDF and scavenge their arsenal to survive. There are some ammo crates around but not enough to keep you going.
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