Red Faction: Guerrilla is not a game for people who enjoy character development or meaningful dialogue with NPCs. Red Faction: Guerrilla is not a game for people who enjoy collecting custom weapons and other items. Red Faction: Guerrilla is not for people who enjoy broad, scenic vistas and haunting soundtracks. Red Faction: Guerrilla is for people who like to blow stuff up, for people who enjoy the sound of a sledgehammer against metal. It’s a game for the anarchist in us all.
I always assumed that I was not really one of those sorts of gamers – until, of course, I played Red Faction: Guerrilla. And while it took a while for its ‘charms’ to sneak up on me, I’ve got to admit I’m totally hooked. You really have to admire a game that is so unabashed in its enjoyment of, and revelry with, pure destruction. And the chaos is indeed glorious.
Like the previous two titles, the third Red Faction takes place on Mars. You play Alec Mason, a miner who has recently arrived on the planet. Through an unfortunate series of events you join up with other freedom fighters, in a group known as Red Faction. This time, interestingly, you are fighting the EDF, the Earth Defense Force, the group that was the original ally of previous games, but who have now let their newly gained power corrupt them. The citizens are under martial law – and it’s up to you to help take EDF down.
The basic premise of the game is to liberate each of the six districts on Mars. You do this by performing guerrila activities in the areas, which has the effect of raising morale and decreasing EDF control. Once the EDF control reaches zero, they pull out, and the locals can enjoy their freedom again.
Tasks such as raiding EDF locations, and destroying property also help to raise morale. If morale is high enough, the locals will take up arms and help you in your battles. Other activities include working on your demolition skills, rescuing hostages, stopping convoys, and loads of other variants on the David vs Goliath theme.
As you destroy buildings and other items you’ll often find bits of useful scraps of material lying around – or salvage. You can use salvage to upgrade weapons and armour. That’s the entirety of things you’re likely to carry in your inventory, aside from weapons, ammo, and armour.
Look and feel-wise, well, this isn’t a ‘pretty’ game. You are on Mars, after all. Still, there is enough variety in the weaponry and vehicles to keep them interesting, even if everyone dresses alike and even the safehouses look like they are made from the same kitsets. But hey, you’re not here to look at the view.
Where Red Faction: Guerrilla really comes into its own is with its maniacal approach to action. Case in point: after I had successfully managed to get the EDF to pull out of the starting zone, called Parker, I was given one last task: to distract the EDF while the group made their way into a new zone, called Dust. My task was to hop in an armoured vehicle and drive around, taking out communications towers (by driving into them) and generally causing havoc, in order to draw the EDF’s attention away from the Red Faction convoy.
I should probably mention here that driving in this game provides its own set of challenges (on the PC, anyway), and it is not uncommon to find yourself swerving wildly all over the place, reversing into citizens, and smashing into delicate-looking little commuter cars willy-nilly. Indeed, I completed many an objective by driving a tank into the Red Faction safehouse, realising I had not given myself enough time to apply the brakes, and then plowing through the whole thing. Pleasantly, this had no effect on my final score.
Imagine that, but then imagine again twenty or so armoured vehicles all chasing yours, as you swerve through the red desert, trying to smash into communication towers. There are cars in the air, as they launch themselves into and through the other pileups that are happening as you have missed the tower and have to reverse and have another go. People are shooting at you; you run them over. You hit the last tower, on the edge of the cliff, and you watch your (digital) life flash before your eyes as your car soars over the edge – it may or may not reach the landing on the other side.
It’s fantastically mad – and while some objectives can be frustratingly difficult, Red Faction: Gurrilla still manages to deliver some truly addictive gameplay. First person shooter fans should definitely check this one out – and don’t be surprised if your peace-loving, Sims-playing flatmate wants to have a go as well.