STAFF REVIEW of Red Faction Guerilla (Xbox 360)

Monday, June 8, 2009.
by John Torrice

Red Faction Guerilla Box art Welcome to Red Faction: Guerrilla (RFG) and the red planet of Mars in which your journey will take place to help the mining colonists and avenge your brother. Let me take a flashback though, to when Red Faction began back in 2001 with a follow up of Red Faction 2 in 2002; both stepping outside the box a little from the regular first person shooter with it?s Geo-MOD technology allowing the gamer to destroy the environment and not just have a preset way of going into an area or doing things. Fans of Red Faction will be glad to know that upgraded Geo-MOD 2.0 will be offering destruction on a grand scale.

Getting into the gameplay the first thing that will be noticed is RFG is no longer a first person shooter but now done in third person giving you a real feel and look of the surroundings. You find yourself as Alec Mason a demolitions expert that?s come to start a new life on Mars with his brother. That?s short lived he?s gunned down right in front of you in cold blood by the Earth Defense Force (EDF) which have been trying to take over the colonists and the settlements they have created. The action takes place as you try to liberate the colonist and regain power over the 6 zones under the EDF control.

Starting in Parker sector you will end up working through all 6 ending at the EDF stronghold of Eos. Various missions throughout each sector that are completed help to build up morale amongst the colonist, which in turn will get colonists to join in your fights as well find ammo crates stocked with more supplies. If morale is low then ammo crates don?t have as much to replenish when needed. In some missions you may be rescuing hostages, transporting a vehicles or raiding the EDF. When you start to cause havoc to EDF property you have an indicator on your HUD that let you know the alert level you are at. Beginning with green it goes to yellow then red and if doing enough damage blinking red unleashing the EDF in full force.

Speaking of the HUD everything is layed out nicely and doesn?t obstruct your view of anything during gameplay. The controls are very easy to use and learn and in the heat of battle, the quick weapon?s change, hitting the right bumper makes for quick carnage on your foe. Now if the right bumper was held you could hit the according Y, B, A or X button to go to the weapon of choice. The left shoulder button is used for running or tap to take cover, although sometimes it seems your character wouldn?t take cover when it?s most necessary. That doesn?t hinder you to much considering almost anything you do take cover behind can be destroyed leaving you wide open. Making your way through some of the missions might get repetitious but with the vast array of ways you can approach a mission it never gets boring.

As for what you arm yourself to head into a mission that can really make a difference. RFG offers some regular weapons like a sniper rifle, rocket launcher, modified shotgun, pistol and the sidekick of the miners the Sledgehammer. On the other hand you could opt to use an Arc Welder shooting out burst of electrical current to stun and take out your enemy. The Grinder is different in that it fires razor disks at high velocity cutting anything in its path down to size. A weapon that I enjoyed using the most besides the Arc Welder was the Nano rifle allowing you to completely obliterate the EDF or create an opening through a building wall. It completely disintegrates anything in your path so it?s wise to keep this gem out of the hands of the EDF or enemies.

Besides the main story missions and taking out EDF property of medium and high importance there is Guerrilla Actions, side missions to lend a hand to the colonists. You might help hold off an EDF Assault or Raid a controlled facility, maybe grab a colonist from House Arrest returning them to a safe house or one of my favorites riding along shotgun with Jenkins destroying property in Collateral Damage. Sometimes it?s needed for you to head off a Convoy to keep EDF from their property/capture one of their vehicles or be the Transporter and race an important vehicle to the safe house avoiding being blown up. The main campaign will last you for a good 15hours and upon completion you?ll unlock the Insane difficulty, but if you choose to go back and explore and pick up collectibles that weren?t discovered/finished on the play through that is also an option instead of starting on Insane.

Graphically each sector has it?s own look to it along with different vehicles that will be patrolling around. This makes for a nice change when exploring around the open environment. Throughout the game graphics are stellar along with an exceptional frame-rate that doesn?t seem to falter or slow down no matter how much havoc you are creating on screen. You might even find yourself taking in a structure or smokestack as its falling only to have it topple right down on you. That brings me to the sounds which lets you hear the concrete crumbling, metal creaking and when the explosions go off the sweet rumble of chaos feels like you are in the action.

While the campaign will offer many hours of play RFG also has a multi-player online mode putting up to 16 gamers against one another. Many of the favorite modes such as Free for all, Team death match and Capture the flag but RFG has an additional 3 for some face paced action. Damage control is one allowing two teams to battle out control over three targets, tear down the enemies and rebuild it back to give your team control using the Reconstructor. The Reconstructor will help you score points in this mode but also be a key component in Siege where it?s used to keep your teams target up while defending against the attackers. The attackers will try to throw everything they have at the defenders to cause the most damage to win. Demolition is the last mode where as a team you must protect your destroyer as he wreaks havoc on the opponents scoring points, but if you don?t cover your destroyer and let him keep getting killed you?ll loose as he is the key to victory.

Any of the MP can be customized as to how they are setup and what limitations if any along with what weapons to begin with. This is a great feature as a lot of games don?t offer that much flexibility when it comes to MP setups. A key weapon when setting up the matches are the backpacks, seen later in the SP campaign, can be real momentum swingers in MP. For instance the Tremor pack will allow you to shake and tremor the ground causing a structure to fall with an enemy in it or throw them off balance to finish with the sledgehammer. The Rhino pack gives the person wearing it the ability to run directly through whatever may be in their way, creating a path of destruction along the way. Maybe that?s not your thing so pop on a Jetpack and elevate yourself above the enemy to rain down fire from above or get to that high point to try and snipe.

Other backpacks at your disposal are Concussion, Thrust, Fleet-foot, Stealth or Vision each giving you or the enemy a slight advantage when used properly. During a MP match you?ll find racks located in various spots that will have three Packs on them and they don?t replenish until you die, then the pack is returned to the rack. The right weapon backpack combo can wield a deadly combination and have you and your team prevailing in the end. Now if for some reason you don?t want to get into the MP action but want to at least see what?s going on you can choose to enter Spectator Mode and watch the best of the best action taking place first hand as the matches play out.

For those not online RFG offers a pass the controller game of Wrecking Crew which is a blast for up to 4 players. The modes offered here allow for total carnage and give each player points based on how they bring down the buildings, smokestacks and structures. In three of the modes Total Chaos, Rampage and Escalation is a challenge to do the most damage with your backpack and weapon in 1-3 mins having unlimited or limited ammo. Escalation starts you with limited ammo and the next round gives more time and ammo, unlike Rampage where you have 3mins and each shot taken takes from your time. The forth mode Barrel Dash gives you 60seconds to blow up 5 red barrels and that?s it but along with the red barrels are blue ones spread all over to give you bonus points and assist in taking out the red barrels. Each time a mode it played nothing ever takes place the same way, so don?t expect it.

Over all THQ and Volition have created a game that allows you the gamer numerous ways to enjoy the campaign and extend play time with great customizable online MP. Then throw in some Wrecking Crew and you?ve got a party game to keep you entertained for hours and have lots of fun with friends. So if you are an old Red Faction fan from way back or someone that just happened to pick up RFG from word of mouth you won?t be disappointed in the fun to be had. In the words of Red Faction ?Better Red than Dead?

If their was one thing I'd like to see is some DLC that would make Wrecking Crew online. Giving the ability to compete with your friends online and see where you rank against them on the Leaderboards.

Overall: 8.9 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.8 / 10


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