Life is just full of surprises and Red Faction: Guerrilla is one of them.
This latest entry in the Red Faction series brings you back to Mars to be part of another revolution; this time from a third-person perspective. Another major change for the series is that instead of being able to dig holes in the ground, you can destroy pretty much every man-made object in this open-world game. So if you love to blow stuff up, this might just be the game for you.
The real beauty to Guerrilla is in the way buildings crumble. Sure, you can just keep chipping away at a building with a sledgehammer until it comes down, but it is really crucial that you look for its weak spots. The physics system isn't perfect but it is definitely good enough to make for some memorable moments. Placing a few exploding charges at key points of a tower causing it to fall on top of the building next to is just one example.
The explosion effects are particularly satisfying, and they open up the combat in some very interesting ways. Let’s say you need to hide inside a building quick - no problem, just smash a hole in the wall and walk right in. When I needed to assassinate someone, it was great knowing I had the option to either sneak into the building and take him out, or just blow up the entire building killing him and his guards in one awesome looking move.
The rest of the combat is pretty standard stuff. The enemy AI can be pretty brutal, though as they do a good job of hitting you and trying to avoid your return fire. There is a cover system but personally I didn't find the need to use it very often, because once the action starts it is pretty fast and crazy. There are some points in the game where you will have a lot of enemy units and vehicles on the screen at once, which also means it's very likely there will be a lot of explosions at the same time.
The game does a good job of handling all the action. There were only one or two times where I noticed the frame rate dipping a little, but even then it was understandable and not game breaking.
The game also looks very good, the detailed building destruction and explosions in particular. If there was one complaint it is that Mars looks like a really dull planet. The landscapes were all very barren and not all that interesting to be in. There are six sections to Mars and if it weren't for the slight change in lighting you may be forgiven for not realising when you have gone from one to the other. In some areas there were snow and grass - on Mars?
To get through and unlock new areas you have to do missions for the Red Faction to boost morale of the population and reduce control of the EDF (Earth Defense Force) who are controlling Mars. Most of the missions are pretty standard except for the ones at the end of each section, which are both a lot more difficult and a lot more interesting. For an open-world game, Guerrilla does an admiral job of making Mars a fun place to be. You will occasionally come across random battles between the Rebels and EDF and whether or not you choose to join in is up to you.
One major issue with the game is its checkpoint and saving system. For most missions if you die, you will not start close to where you were, but will instead have to drive for five minutes again just to get to the location where the actual mission takes place. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when you die close to the end of a mission. In fact a lot of the missions begin with wasting your time by forcing you to drive around from place to place before you actually get to do the mission.
The story is also pretty pointless, which is a real shame. The characters are not fleshed out enough and by the end you really just don't care whether someone lives or dies, or anything else that happens. I am big on storylines in games, so for me this was a real disappointment. However, if you do not care about story then don't worry, because it's still a lot of fun to play.
Another thing you don't have to worry about is value, because this game is great value for money. The single-player can take you around 20+ hours to get through and then you have some great multiplayer options. It is a typical run and gun affair, but you also get to add in destructible buildings. There are a few different modes, and some of the most interesting ones involve teams taking turns having to either defend or destroy key buildings on the map. When you take all the interesting weapons at your disposal, plus some interesting backpacks that allow you to fly, run through walls at fast speeds and more, you have some very interesting and varied combat. The jetpacks, in particular, reminded me a lot of playing the Tribes series.
The multiplayer is also complimented by a great partying system, and an experience system that gives you access to more character models and weapons as you gain levels. If you are looking for some console multiplayer, there is a game mode that lets up to four players take turns in a level to do as much destruction as possible. This is a lot of fun and is a great way to experiment with some of the very cool weapons than game has to offer.
Red Faction: Guerrilla is a great package. The core gameplay is fun and works well in both its single-player and multiplayer. Destroying buildings, towers and bridges is extremely satisfying and don't even get me started on hitting enemies with your sledgehammer - so much fun! It would have been nice if Mars were a more interesting place to be, if there were more checkpoints during the missions and if the story had been more fleshed out. However, overall, there isn't too much to complain about.
Red Faction: Guerrilla is a solid game, and definitely the most fun I've had blowing stuff up in years!