The sledgehammer though is a beautiful piece of destruction. Not only can you take down walls and vehicles, enemies will fall quickly when their body meets the hammer. Nothing beats a big swing to the head with the sledgehammer though but it’s almost certain death with more than two enemies around pounding on you so you have to be strategic in using that weapon. You can easily change weapons by holding down the right button and selecting with a colored button what you want to use. Unlike Gears of War 2, it’s really easy to run and change weapons at the same time and I found this skill to be essential in surviving some encounters. I could throw some charges and quickly switch to the assault rifle to take some enemies down. When the enemies came close I detonated the charges with a press of a button while keeping my rifle equipped.
There is a cover system that I had to get used to though but rarely used in the first few sectors of the game. Just run up to a barrier and hit the LB to stick to the wall. Now, you can’t just do a blind fire which I miss from playing Gears of War 2 and you can sometimes get caught in an in between state where the character doesn’t aim over or around an obstacle. Whether this will be tweaked in the final build remains to be seen. In any case, the one thing I did find out is the enemies, unlike Gears of War 2, will not just sit back and let you pick them off when there is a good number around. They’ll actually charge you and flank you as much as possible. So, it does make the game a little harder in the fact the enemies are ruthless and you will die if you stay in one place too long.
The EDF won’t bother you until you start messing with their property or performing other guerilla missions. There’s an indicator that turns from green to yellow to orange to red letting you know how much force the EDF will use in coming after you. It’s pretty much the same as how the police interact with you in Saints Row 2. The more damage and EDF you kill, the stronger they come after you. You can either run away and naturally let the time cause the alert level to die down or head to your safe house where you’ll get an automatic green level upon entering.
You’re not alone in your quest to free Mars and like Saint’s Row 2, there are some help that came to your aid. Moral is something that takes effect in this. As moral gets higher for a sector, more people will fight alongside you as well as better ammo will be available in crates around the areas. Also, mission salvage rewards are higher the better morale. This really comes into play in either making the game easier or harder for you. Yes, killing colonists will lower moral as I saw while wandering my base and using my sledgehammer on anyone walking by me so that’s probably something you want to avoid. Sure it’s fun to off a few of these guys but in the end it’s going to hinder your ability to have some better help with your missions as well as the speed at which you can upgrade your items through salvaging. When you die, morale drops as well so it pays to stay alive.
Throughout the game you’ll hear some phrases that NPCs shout out. At the beginning they are pretty gloomy about their situation. One nice little touch is as you start to liberate Mars from the EDF, the messages and tone of the colonists becomes more positive. It adds a little bit of life into the game seeing the population change their tone about Mars.
Salvaging is what you need to do to upgrade your items. As you destroy buildings and vehicles there will be salvage left on the ground. The more you pick up the better your items. The highly describable environments lend to creating many opportunities to pick up new salvage and it’s the only resource in the game that you do need to acquire. Completing some missions will also reward you with salvage so there are other was to earn it as well. As mentioned earlier salvage can be used to upgrade weapons but they can also be used to add abilities. For example, when you start out you have to pick up salvage by running over it on foot. You can use salvage to add the ability to pick up salvage by driving over it in a vehicle. Another is the ability to warp to a safe house. So salvage is essential for more than just upgrades as these abilities you pick up can really help you out.
Vehicles are a big part of Red Faction Guerilla as there’s a nice variety of them for you to drive on Mars. Some have weapons mounted and those with turrets can be controlled by the player as well. In most games where you take a vehicle like Crysis or Grand Theft Auto you either have to follow the map or listen to the GPS to tell you where to go. Volition has done a really cool thing in projecting the lighted path on the ground as you drive so you don’t have to take your eyes away from the action to see where you need to go. It’s really easy and something that helps navigating around the world a lot less frustrating.
One sad omission to the game though is the lack of co-op play. That was one of the great things about Saint’s Row 2 but the developers stated that putting in this mode resulted in very bad frame rates. Because of the amount of data needed to transfer for the destructible environments, the bandwidth just isn’t there right now to do a smooth co-op game with Red Faction Guerrilla. I did play some team death match though and it was pretty fun. The multiplayer game adds backpacks that add different abilities to you. Some of the ones you can pick up let you run faster, fly with a jetpack, or even bust through walls like a juggernaut. You can switch these backpacks around when you find the stations holding them so you aren’t stuck with the one you currently have. Action is pretty fast paced and there are a few good modes that come with the game.
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