Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger journeyed to Mars in Total Recall, I’ve always been trying to ‘get my ass to Mars’. One of the main reasons was in order to hit on the chick with the 3 knockers, but the other one was to explore the Martian landscape and see what the world has to offer.
Red Faction: Guerrilla allows me to live life on the red planet, but will life there be a peacful one or one full of death and destruction?
Red Faction: Guerrilla follows the story of Alec Mason, a former miner who lands on Mars looking for work, but finds that things have gone to hell. The EDF (which stands for Earth Defence Force) are oppressing the people on Mars, to which a small group of freedom fighters known as the Red Faction are attempting to rise up to rid Mars of the EDF. In order to do that, Alec needs to free six zones on Mars of the EDF’s control. You would think since it’s Mars, all of the zones would simply have red ground and some mountains. Volition did a great job making each zone feel like it’s a unique segment of Mars. For example: The starting zone is small and the air has a red tint to it, but as you progress through the game, the world opens up to another zone that resembles a desolate wasteland where points of interest are a couple of miles away from one another. There’s also a 24 hour cycle, so both day & night are fully represented.
One of the biggest selling points of Red Faction: Guerrilla is the nearly completely destructible environments. Nearly anything and eveything that you see in the game world can be destroyed (except for mountains and the ground itself). Buildings that you chop down can actually crumble under their own weight even after you cease your assault. The purpose of completely obliterating buildings is not only to awe in how realistic they react, but also to gather salvage, which players need in order to upgrade their gear. Salvage serves as the Red Faction’s currency as it’s used to upgrade your weapons and equipment. As you progress through the game, you are rewarded with new upgrades you can trade salvage to activate.
As you fight the EDF, colonists will take up arms and assist you in your current battle. Smart friendly AI is much to be desired though. It’s obvious the colonists mean well, but often times they get in the way of your attacks, such as when you’re trying to bring down a building with your sledgehammer. When a colonist is killed by the EDF, moral goes down. When you kill a colonist, the moral drop is greater. The way to get moral up and EDF control down is by doing missions. There are a variety of missions for players to complete: Missions that progress the main story and side missions that reward players with moral boosts, a drop in EDF control over the area, or simply giving players salvage. You also can destroy EDF controlled buildings in various locations in the game world to further drop their control in a zone.
As is customary of most open-world sandbox games, vehicles are a must-have as each mission can be quite a journey if you decide to hike it there. The vehicles that you’ll come across can vary from a big dump truck, to a mars version of a 4×4. All vehicles have their own unique feel of handling and acceleration. When you drive, you get a good sense of the weight of the vehicle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the vehicles feel sluggish. For example, if you took a 4×4 and planned to barrel through an enemy encampment, you would know that it wouldn’t be the best choice as the 4×4 doesn’t have enough weight behind it to go through many buildings. On the other hand, if you picked up a dump truck, then you’d be able to barrel through almost anything.
Speaking of destruction, how can I go on without mentioning the Walkers. Walkers were originally created in order to perform physical labor, but when you’re behind the wheel of one, it can easily turn into your own personal wrecking ball on legs. There are three kinds of walkers: Heavy Walker, Light Walker, and Combat Walker. The Heavy Walker is meant to be just an unstoppable force which can completely destroy anything in it’s path. The Light Walker is a more agile walker type that includes jump jets which allows players to not be as much of a sitting duck as the Heavy Walker. The Combat Walker is similar to the Light Walker, except it has missiles which it can shoot at its targets from afar.
With all of this talk of death and destruction, this would be a great time to mention the weapons you’ll come across in Red Faction: Guerrilla. You’ll come across some traditional weapon types such as assault rifles, rocket launchers, and pistols, but you’ll also encounter some more unique weapons like the Nano Rifle, which can deconstruct solid matter, the Singularity Bomb, which acts like a small black hole which devestates anything caught in the blast, and of course, the Sledgehammer, which can smash through almost anything and instant-kill enemies.
The multiplayer component in Red Faction Guerrilla offers a lot of enjoyment as well. An XP system is in use and tracks your personal performance through the games and serves as to unlock upgrades such as new character models and different sledgehammers to wield in battle. Most of the gametypes are straight forward: Anarchy (aka Deathmatch), Team Anarchy (aka Team Deathmatch), and Capture the Flag are there, but a few of the other gametypes can only be done in Red Faction: Guerrilla. Damage Control has players fighting for control over specific points in the map. Your team needs to destroy the enemy structure to then build your own structure in place of it. Think of it as King of the Hill…. but with structures. Demolition’s main focus is for one player on each team to focus on destroying anything that can be destroyed on the map in order to gain poinst. Your teammates need to defend you, but can also go out to kill the enemy’s Destroyer. There’s also an offline multiplayer mode that you can play with your friends. Wrecking Crew allows up to 4 players to run around in a small map to destroy structures on the map. Points are tallied for everything that is destroyed, and whoever gets the most points wins the round. It’s a great way to get a group of friends who may not be big gamers to try out Red Faction: Guerrilla and see what makes this game so unique.
FINAL THOUGHT: If you like open-world sandbox games and love complete and utter destruction, then you should give Red Faction: Guerrilla some attention. The single player campaign is both fun and challenging, and the multiplayer offers a unique perspective thanks to the game’s physics engine.