Red Faction: Guerrilla ReviewGareth Chadwick
Guerrilla is the third game in the rather successful Red Faction series. The series has been a staple in the industry not just for it's high review scores (due to being great games), but it's well known because of it's destruction system. The previous games allowed players to tunnel through the ground, break through walls, and other assorted breaking-the-level activities that you don't find anywhere else in the FPS genre.
It's strange that Guerrilla is a third person game, then, as the two previous games were both FPS games. Volition did give a reason for it, though, and that reason was so that you had a better view of the destruction. This may seem like a bit of a strange reason for the change if you haven't played the game - you could see the destruction just fine in the previous installments - but you can believe us when we say that it was a good choice. The destruction system in Guerrilla is astounding. Whilst you can no longer tunnel through the terrain, you can destroy every single building right down to the ground. That's right, EVERY building can be brought down, without a single exception.
Break through/blow up the walls and ground level and the whole building will collapse around you, which is quite a spectacle, especially with the bigger buildings - rafters fly everywhere, girders hit you as they drop, chunks of concrete go everywhere. It's not just limited to buildings, either. Anything that's man-made will come apart realistically, which includes bridges - very large bridges. This is a specific area in which the game shows off it's destruction system - if you take away a bridge's supports, the bridge will tear itself apart under it's own weight, the exact thing the supports are there to avoid. Clearly, the whole system runs on a solid physics engine that, combined with the destruction engine, comes to a brilliant duo of technologies that ensures literally hours of fun just blowing stuff up.
If you take away the destruction system you're still left with a competent third person shooter. Personally, we had to change the controls to the Alternative 1 option before we really got into the gameplay, which are a Call of Duty 4-type system, with L1 going to 'fine aim' instead of R3. After the change, we were more than comfortable taking out enemies in short order, which is a blessing because you can end up with a lot of enemies after you at a time. The driving physics are not good - vehicles handle like tanks of varying speeds and are very difficult to control at first. You do get used to it, but it's never going to make it easy for you. Other than that, however, the game is a lot of fun to play, with very little to really get in the way of the fun, which is what it's all about, really.
The game heavily concentrates on it's destruction system. Instead of having it there as a gameplay option, the game really does highlight it and throw it at you which, whilst it has it's own pros, leaves you with the impression that there isn't that much else to the game. With missions constantly throwing destruction at you, such as the destruction targets, actual story missions that tell you destroy things and side missions that are along the same lines, you get a feeling that the game is a one-trick pony. It's a good trick, though, and the story missions are still sufficiently varied enough to avoid getting boring, though the side missions might be another story, you can get through anything that is necessary by blowing things up, which never gets old.
The graphics, on the other hand, are not that great. The terrain is bland, just bumpy landscapes with less-than-impressive textures. You might say the bumpy landscapes fit well with Mars, but that doesn't excuse the textures, nor the boring character models or the pedestrian vehicles. However, it's entirely possible that the graphics had to be turned down to keep the frame rate so steady when all hell is breaking loose, and it does a good job in the respect, as the game rarely ever stutters and, when it does, only for a second.
Red Faction is, altogether, a great game. It's not going to walk into your house and set you on fire, but it will certainly get you a little hot under the collar. With an online multiplayer segment that is absolutely brilliant fun, as well as a local hot seat multiplayer mode called wrecking crew, in which you blow stuff up for points, the most points wins, and the single player that should last at least 10 hours if you get as distracted as we did, the game is well worth the admission fee.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.