Red Faction: Guerilla
I have a theory, which I shall name the Rose Theory of Joy, after it’s awesome creator. It’s that the amount of joy that you can recieve from an activity is directly proportional to eπk, where k is the amount of destruction and havoc that you wreak (in pounds sterling) per second. There must be a proof that I could do, but Red Faction: Guerilla seemed to hold up to it. Who cares about a big open world with a realistic crowd, when you can have a slightly smaller world with pretty much every little thing able to be destroyed?
So, what’s the hubble with Red Faction? Well, the game is set on Mars, and is all about the eponymous revolutionaries the Red Faction overthrowing the tyrannical overlords of the Ultor mines. It’s the typical Red Faction affair, but this is better than the last two by far. Why?
For the first part, you don’t have a linear world like the last two games, in which the occassional wall could become a door. This time, you have a big selection of land, in which almost wall can become a door. Leaving aside the fun that is destroying things in general, the big open world thing is a much better setting than the linear corridors that the other two games had. That’s for 2 reasons. One: A revolution seems much more like a revolution when you can see the different sections of the country slowly fall away from the control of the overlords.
The second is that the great thing about that destructive thing. If you just have some corridors, you don’t get much in the way of big buildings falling over. In the recreation of Mars, you do have a whole load of buildings that you’re supposed to knock down and blog up. That joy I was speaking about before? Goes into overdrive when you get told to destroy a key building.
Problems? Well, for starters, the damn thing has a pathetic attempt at a background story. The beginning of the game you’ve come to Mars to visit your brother or something. By the end of your first 10 minutes, you’re brother is killed for being a revolutionary and you are attacked for knowing him. In come the Red Faction on horseback who come and save your sorry ass. Which means you have to join them. Hold on, so they can find your brother and revoke your mining permit so you aren’t supposed to carry those remote mines around with you, yet the rest of the game you can walk around and they don’t bat an eyelid. Is that the smell of a plot hole?
The other thing is (And I may have just noticed this more because I was doing a Mechanics, which is the maths behind physics, exams), the physics of falling buildings just don’t work. I won’t go into the maths behind it, but if you destroy all the supports on one side of the building, you should expect the building to fall down on it’s side. It doesn’t. The only time a building falls down, it falls and folds in on itself. It doesn’t fall over to the side, and isn’t particularly right.
That’s not to say it doesn’t happen to be fun. However, in all the prerelease interviews that they did talk about how they had to learn how to be archetects because their physics engine was making the big glass buildings they designed fall down because they weren’t structually sound. So, why bother then making unstructual buildings become structual if they aren’t going to bother sorting out the buildings that should be falling down.
The other thing is that it is attached to the pile of hate that is Games For Windows Live. I’ve already posted on why I hate that so much when I wrote this. Which, if you don’t want to read, is about why the most annoying part of it was my connection being pathetic, making it impossible to access my save games. So, be warned, if you are avoiding GFWL, you should be avoiding this.
There are little minor (Or should that be miner? Don’t worry, I hate myself already) details as well. Voice acting is as dire as should be as expected for a game, with the second-in-command’s British accent being like listening to the sound of a cat screeching followed by a cacophony of musical harmonies, as created by scratching a blackboard. Except slightly worse.
However, playing Red Faction and expecting an art game is folly. Red Faction isn’t about the joy of brilliant stories and voice acting. It’s a game about blowing things up, just because you can. Playing Red Faction is like opening your presents at Christmas, and discovering that you’ve been given a machine that makes remote mines for you, and a whole little universe with which to make the pretty sound of explosions with. If you don’t like that, then there is something wrong with you. Officially. I can’t think of many people that won’t like this, unless you can’t get past those flaws. But you’re missing out.