Red Faction: Guerrilla Review

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Red Faction: Guerrilla

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Red Faction: Guerrilla sets a new benchmark for destruction-based gameplay. It's an absolute blast!

We like

  • The rewarding destruction-based gameplay
  • The engaging morale system
  • The solid multiplayer component

We dislike

  • The lack of a decent story
  • The monotonous, long distance journeys
  • The inconsistent behavior of the A.I.

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

The Red Faction series is all about destruction. When developer Volition created the GeoMod engine back in 2001, it afforded players with the freedom to completely destroy environments with explosive devices and heavy weaponry. Back then, it must have dreamt of the day that it could get its hands on some hardware that would really showcase its technology. Those dreams have now been turned into reality with Red Faction: Guerrilla. Needless to say, the third game in the popular series has evolved dramatically since the last iteration in 2002.

The original Red Faction was a linear, first person shooter. You could punch holes in walls and use powerful weapons to blast through the earth to create caverns. Red Faction: Guerrilla, however, is a third-person, sprawling, open-world action adventure that showcases the powerful GeoMod 2 engine magnificently by delivering destruction on an unprecedented scale. Volition has harnessed the power of the PlayStation 3 to spectacular effect to deliver one of the most impressive games on Sony’s console to date.

In Red Faction: Guerrilla you play as Alec Mason, a mining engineer who joins the Red Faction movement as they battle for freedom against the corrupt Earth Defensive Force (EDF). Ruling the planet by force, the EDF has taken to kidnapping settlers and forcing them into labour camps. With advanced knowledge of explosive devices, it's up to you to boost civilian morale, destroy important EDF buildings, wipe out the oppressing faction and gain territorial control. Typical to many other sandbox games, such as the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Faction: Guerrilla involves completing set missions and objectives across an open world-environment. The difference with this third person shooter is that you have the power to take down huge structures and destroy whole enemy convoys with just one press of your detonator. Kaboom!

Armed with a sledgehammer, Mason begins his journey by learning how to use the tool of his trade, smashing his way through walls, rock and metal in the search for salvage, the game's currency. This is the first indication that Volition weren’t just hyping the game’s destructive values. When it claimed that its Geo Mod engine was “three to five years” more advanced than other industry destruction engines, it wasn’t joking. Walls tumble, wood splinters and glass shatters realistically under the weight of Manson’s hammer -- it’s impressive stuff, and that’s just the first five minutes! It’s not long before you really get to see the power of the GeoMod 2 technology. As you head out across Martian lands armed to the hilt with sticky remote mine charges, machine guns, rocket launchers and proximity mines and you get to blow up your first enemy out-post, it’s a real sight to behold.

Red Faction: Guerrilla gets all of the basics right in terms of creating an enjoyable experience and a smooth control scheme, but it’s the destruction-based gameplay that really takes the genre to the next level. Offering rewards for destroying buildings and structures is a clever feature that encourages you to blow up almost any large object you come across. Each time you bring down an enemy structure you’re awarded with the salvage that it produces, which can then be spent on upgrades. Alternatively, you can head out to designated enemy out-posts and destroy their buildings in return for control points which sway the battle and territorial control in your favor. You can use heavy weaponry to take large chunks out of structures, or use your strategically placed mines to bring them crashing to the ground. Visually, watching a communication tower explode and seeing how it then impacts on the surroundings is nothing short of stunning.

If you place a mine on a specific wall of a building or support girder of a bridge, or toss a sticky mine onto the bonnet of an armored car, it's that exact spot where it landed that will explode. Take out some of the surrounding walls of a building, for example, and the roof will eventually collapse and come crashing down on any enemies caught underneath. Set an explosive up on a particular support column of a tower and you'll be able to send it crashing down at exactly the angle you want it ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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