Red Faction: Guerrilla Review

After playing Red Faction: Guerilla I'm still not sure just what makes the EDF (Earth Defense Force) so evil, other than they like to shoot rebel Martian miners. And as Alec Mason, both my character and I seemed to quickly forget that we reluctantly joined the rebel Red Faction after witnessing the death of Mason's brother at the hands of the EDF. But you know what? It didn't really matter to me. I had so much fun destroying the EDF's outposts, intercepting convoys, and running amuck through EDF bases in tanks and construction mechs, that all I needed to know was that the EDF were the bad guys and the Red Faction the good guys. And did I mention the thrill of crushing a roadside checkpoint bunker under the weight of an enormous ore hauler?

Your goal in Red Faction is to liberate Mars from the EDF, and to accomplish this you'll need to push them back sector-by-sector until you force them to withdraw. Each sector is rated by two factors, EDF control and miner morale, and to liberate a sector you'll need to knock EDF control down to zero and then complete a special mission to complete the liberation. Miner morale works a bit differently than EDF control in that you don't need to raise it to 100% to liberate a sector. However, the higher the morale, the more guerilla actions that will be available to you, which in turn makes it easier to reduce the EDF control. High morale also has a nice bonus in that miners are more likely to join your cause even when you're in the middle of a mission a passing trucker may stop and take up arms to provide you with some support.

Accomplishing these goals and liberating a sector begins with a glance at the current sector map. The map marks the Red Faction's secret bases, mission locations (and the mission types), and the location of any high-value EDF structures and bases you've discovered. You can pick the next mission you want to undertake, do a little freelance destruction of EDF property, or just explore the sector and perhaps pick-up a random mission or simply harass EDF patrols and convoys. The Mars of Red Faction is an open-world and you're free to go about your business of liberating the planet in any manner that you'd like. The sectors are quite large and using some sort of vehicle to get around is a must, since a lot of Mars is nothing more than desert wasteland. When you have a destination in mind, a GPS system will lead you there with the aid of arrow markers on the ground that work quite nicely in letting you know where you need to go.

I like the look of the partially terraformed Mars in the game, from the spacious skies and mountain vistas down to the little dust devils that dance across the landscape. However, Mars is not so much the star of the show as is the game's destructive side. The destruction engine built into this game is pretty impressive, from the realistic structural forces behind the buildings to the laws of physics that govern the way that they topple (and, yes, structures do look like they're crumbling at 0.38G). Identify the key load-bearing parts of a building and you can take it down in seconds with well-placed charges or swings from your eminently enjoyable sledgehammer. Drop charges at random and you may spend a while blowing out windows and a wall here and there while the building itself continues to stand tall. And there are so many options available when it comes to unleashing this destruction. You can do it by hand with your sledgehammer, by placing charges, from a distance with a rocket launcher, or a myriad of other ways including the ever-thrilling "drive a dump truck into one side and out the other" method.