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Red Faction: Guerrilla PC Review

Red Faction: Guerrilla pack shot
Developer:Volition
Publisher:THQ
Genre:Third Person Shooter
Platform:PC
Official Site:http://www.redfaction.com/
Release Date:September 18th, 2009 (UK)
Reviewer:Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
 

Having already reviewed Red Faction Guerrilla on the Xbox, I was unsure how to approach the game on the PC.

As with many games, I was fearful of the dreaded 'console-port' disease, which has made such a mockery of so many decent console shooters, but I'm happy to say that with Guerrilla I was pleasantly surprised, but not overwhelmed, by the quality of the PC version.

The basic tenants of the game are of course the same as its console-bound counterpart - set on Mars 50 years after the events of the first Red Faction, the Earth Defence Force (EDF), once the liberators of the red planet from the grip of the Ultor mining corporation, have now become the hated oppressors of the workers, dealing death and injustice wherever they go, rounding up mine workers and generally being as Nazi-like as possible.

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Into this melee comes Alec Mason, a demolition engineer summoned to Mars by his brother Dan, who instantly gets killed by EDF forces after being caught stealing from a demolished mining outpost. (Incidentally, if you kill your brother yourself as soon as you get control of Mason, THQ has a little message for you...)

Mason, now slightly peeved by his situation, joins the re-formed Red Faction resistance movement and is given one objective- liberate Mars.

To do this the gamer has to liberate Mars' different sectors, starting out in the miner-held town of Parker before fighting through 5 other zones and ending up in the modern metropolis of Eos, which is all high-rise buildings and majestic bridges (which are just aching to have a rocket fired into them.)

There are also a variety of side missions Mason can undertake and complete, such as rescuing miners from EDF captivity and intercepting convoys and couriers, as well as demolition missions, which challenge you to find the quickest way to level a building - all of which lower the EDF's control over the sector.

Once the EDF is forced out of a sector, the weak storyline moves on to the next area - rinse and repeat. It's a shame THQ didn't bother to advance the storyline a little with the PC version, but the gameplay is still just as fun.

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The action more than displaces the game's weak storyline, and Red Faction continues the brilliant destruction mechanic the console version did so well. Using THQ's GeoMOD 2.0 engine, every building has been programmed into the game as if an architect designed the structures.

A tower block's outer walls disguise the structure's load-bearing core, which can be easily brought down with a couple of mighty blows from Mason's one-size-fits-all tool, the sledgehammer.

After a while taking on the different missions becomes something of an art, and I found myself approaching the challenges looking for the best place to crash my mining walker into, so as to send the tower block tumbling into a massive pile of rubble.

All of the game's weapons make a welcome return on the PC. Starting off with the usual selection of pistols and machine guns, Mason quickly acquires heavy missile launchers, explosive charges and the ever-effective nano-rifle - which melts the building it hits.

Despite all this wanton destruction the game doesn't suffer on PC hardware however, though the occasional slowdown might be evident depending on the power of your gaming rig.

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The graphics are smooth and the frame rate keeps up with the action to a large extent, but may suffer a little in multiplayer. While there are the occasional graphical bugs, you'll probably be moving too fast to notice or care about them.

The sound design is also very good, with the crash of a building being a particular stand out, ranging from a nerve-jangling creak as the metal starts to sheer before a loud 'crack' signals the collapse of the metal joists - It's like being an architect in reverse, and the sound really ups the atmosphere.

The multiplayer also makes a welcome return, offering all the fun of online-smashery with friends and enemies across the internet. Modes on offer include the usual deathmatch modes, but the game also features two modes centre around the destruction/defence of targets and a brilliant offline demolition-derby style game, Wrecking Crew, which will have new maps added periodically to its line up.

The multiplayer "backpacks" are also included, with the Rhino pack, which allows the player to run through walls, still being my personal favourite, followed by the Concussion pack, which knocks players to the ground, and the Thrust pack, which propels the player to the top of a building- or down on top of enemies below with crushing force.

The PC version also includes the 'Demons of the Badlands' expansion, which offers another hour or so's missions and challenges, as well as some interesting insights into the history of the Marauders.

Playing as Samanya, one of the main game's support characters, the game explains how Samanya ended up in the Red Faction camp and goes a little deeper into the Marauder's actions and beliefs.

Though Samanya plays exactly the same as Alec Mason, the DLC includes a whole bunch of new weapons to unleash upon the unsuspecting EDF troopers, there's the Spiker - an anti-personal rifle which fires huge nails - along with more powerful remote charges, sharp objects to stab troopers (the Gutter- a pike, basically) and my personal favourite, the missile pod - a rocket launcher which fires a stream of micro-rockets and is ideal for demolition duty.

Summary

Overall, the PC version is a faithful port of the console version of a great game. While it is a shame the developers didn't take the opportunity to boost the storyline, the game is still a blast to play through, even if occasional bugs blight the experience. A fun game to enjoy with friends or alone, Red Faction Guerrilla offers hours of explosive gameplay and is the ideal stress buster - just imagine the tower block you're slamming through in a mining walker is your office...

The bottom line
8.0 / 10

Good stuff

  • Solid gameplay
  • Great multiplayer
  • GeoMOD engine runs well
  • Free DLC

Not so good stuff

  • Graphical bugs
  • Poor Storyline
  • Can be repetitive


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