Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
In Red Faction: Guerrilla you play the part of Alec Mason, a badass from Earth, who moved to Mars to be with his badass brother. Alec left Earth in hopes of finding a simple and honest life on Mars as a working man. Unfortunately, that's not what he got. This game glorifies one of the most enjoyable activities mankind has ever known... breaking stuff. From the very first mission you'll be demolishing the world around you like never before. All objects have weight and resistance, and are composed of hundreds of pieces. Other games have randomly scattered breakable objects, like pillars or stair rails, that get shredded by bullet fire but Red Faction takes physics to a whole new level. If you shoot a rocket at a wall behind an enemy, not only will it send him flying, it'll also leave a gaping wound in the wall. This changes the dynamics of cover entirely. No more can an enemy just pop in and out of the cover of invincible walls endlessly, because you can just tear them down, leaving them nothing to hide behind. However, the same can be done to you, which keeps you active in hectic encounters. Knocking the floor out from under someone, or caving the roof in on top of them is just the tip of the iceberg of ways to approach combat. What's really amazing is that Red Faction remembers the havoc you've wreaked so you can come back later and things are still in exactly the shambles you left them. Once I tasked myself with taking down a certain bridge and had to return 5 or 6 times to finish the job because I kept getting swarmed by soldiers. However, dying and certain mission types do not retain the damage you cause. This ends up being a good thing. From watching a rocket blow a hole through a wall, to the concrete chunks scattering aimlessly, and those chunks knocking even more holes through walls, which crumble on top of enemies, to the tattered shell of a building creaking and collapsing under its own weight, it's all very impressive to say the least.
Hands down Red Faction has some of the coolest armaments ever to be in a game. I don't want to spoil anything, but they range from your typical pistol and shotgun to much more unique weapons that encourage destruction to a very high degree. Acquiring new guns is either a process of collecting Salvage, which you gain from breaking stuff, and making a purchasing, or by finding a weapon, say, from a corpse, and returning to your base. Once you go back to the base's storage with a new weapon it remains available for the future. There is however, one weapon you can only use until it's gone, and then you have to find it again. It's too bad too, because that's the coolest one of them all. The hammer is a little overboard power-wise, but I understand the intention of it. There needed to be a melee weapon to let you tinker with the physics that didn't require ammo. There is also an upgrade system, allowing you to use Salvage to make enhancements like increased damage or ammo. Some upgrades are way cooler than others and change the weapons in more meaningful ways, but honestly there are far too few of these. Plus, you can't upgrade enemy weapons, which is a shame. I really wish they had done more with the upgrades, but at least they are there, giving you goals to strive for.
Aesthetically, Red Faction isn't the most noticeable next gen game out there. But, personally I think the presentation is great. It doesn't look like Uncharted 2 but they definitely got the feel of an early colonized Mars down pat. The barren terrain is devoid of any meaningful life or vegetation and is instead comprised of vast dirt plains and rocky hills with scattered bits of civilization. The voice acting is very good and very plentiful. Often times your recent acts of rebellion are reported over radio broadcasts, which are pretty funny to hear. Like GTA, random events are constantly occurring all around you, which helps to make it feel alive. One time I saw 2 soldiers hassling a kid about his ID, and after he dug it from his pocket he handed it to the closest one. Then they proceeded to beat him down. I took the opportunity to show them my sledge hammer. Of course, that panned out to a mass fire fight, but my guerrilla reinforcements bought me the time to escape. Still, the real beauty of RFG lies in demolition. Watching a building be torn asunder with pieces of rubble trickling through its interior is intense. Then subsequently watching 3 floors tumble down to the ground, spitting debris in all directions, is just so rewarding. None of the destruction is scripted. It's never the same thing twice. But every time, it is just so damn amazing.
The story is good enough, but could have been much more thrilling and personal. I particularly didn't like being given mission debriefs by a faceless general over an intercom for the entire game. The missions are repetitive in essence but somehow they managed to feel fresh the whole time. Outside of story missions there are a few different types of side
Game Traits applied to Red Faction: Guerrilla (PS3) by NFSUK