Winning hearts and mindsPublish date: 24 June 2009 by Thomas Mckinnon
The art of revolution rests at the heart of Volition’s Red Faction: Guerrilla. You play Alec Mason, a miner on Mars whose rebel brother is killed by the oppressive Earth Defence Force (EDF). To avenge his death and free the Martians from the EDF’s strangle hold on the planet you join Red Faction, the freedom fighters/ terrorist organisation to which your brother was affiliated.
RF: G captures the dichotomy of asymmetric warfare convincingly; the use of guerrilla tactics and winning the support of the common folk being essential to your success.
Being an open world third-person shooter, you roam around a rather sizable map picking up missions and side-missions. Your over-riding objective is to destroy EDF property. This inevitably weakens their control rating over whichever of the six zones on the map you are operating in, and raises the morale of the workers in that zone. Repeat the formula in each of the six zones and you win.
Missions vary between aiding fellow guerrillas, rescuing hostages, basic defence and assault sequences, and epic destruction missions. While completing these missions you need to collect Salvage, the game’s currency, found in the ruins of destroyed buildings. With Salvage you can purchase or unlock weapons and tools which ultimately allow you to destroy more strategic, and therefore more heavily guarded, targets.
While the game’s Martian landscape is rather dull, as is to be expected, its Geo Mod 2.0 engine makes destruction sequences look and feel amazing. The engine allows for the near total destruction of any structure, but in a realistic manner. To demolish a building you need to destroy its essential support structures. This can be done by expertly placing explosives or by wreacking havoc on structures with your sledge hammer, which is generally more fun. Just remember the fallibility of structures when you decide to take cover from the EDF behind walls and other objects, when they attempt to rain on your parade.
RF: G also offers a decent multiplayer experience. Multiplayer games are brutal with the game’s awesome destruction features coming to the fore. Up to 16 players can play online at a time, with six modes to choose from ranging from free-for-alls to coop assaults or defence missions. For those who can’t or don’t want to go online Wrecking Crew allows for a turn based multiplayer experience, as players take turns in the hot seat to set highest destruction scores.
We found little fault with the game. Its frame rates were solid, gameplay immersive and the control scheme logical. While missions can become repetitive they are always fun. Add to this a decent multiplayer offering and the game is a winner.