The year was 2009, I was 29 years old, The Black Eyed Peas had a feeling, Dizzee Rascal was bonkers and Lady Gaga was showing off her poker face. The gaming scene was alive with Uncharted 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum and a little gem by developers Volition called Red Faction: Guerrilla.
For those of you that were possibly only 9 years old back then (I’m not bitter at all and you missed an amazing millennium party) Red Faction: Guerrilla was the 3rd instalment of the Red Faction Saga which introduced a third person open world style of gameplay to the player.
Previous games in the series, Red Faction (2001) and Red Faction II (2002) were first person shooters that saw you play in the first game on Mars as a miner called Parker who was having his life ruined by the giant Ultor Corporation and therefore join a rebellion, called the Red Faction, to break free. In Red Faction II the story shifted to Earth where you are in a rush to prevent the wrong people from having access to new nanotechnology, the EDF (no not the electricity company but Earth Defense Force) have taken over the Ultor Corporation and you play as “Alias” as you seek the research data for the Republic of the Commonwealth.
What was fun about the Red Faction games, other than the rebellious story-line, was that you could destroy pretty much everything in the environment thanks to the unique at the time “Geo-Mod” Engine. Perfect for releasing tension!
So how come there is a remaster now? Well why not. THQ Nordic own the game series rights and more recently Deep Silver (the buyer for Volition). It kinda all ties in really. Add the fact that Red Faction: Guerrilla has an open world concept, something that is popular in many modern games at the moment such as Conan Exiles, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, even the Lego games! it just makes sense. Open world games are generally engaging in my opinion as they allow the player to explore the map and make discoveries for themselves, let face it, rail roaded games do tend to get a bit of a slating nowadays! This particular remaster has been carried out by Kaiko who recently took on Darksiders Warmastered Edition. Running at 4K native on the PS4 Pro, Xbox X and PC while showing off reworked graphics and various other visual effects, what’s this game all about then?!
Red Faction: Guerrilla has you play as a demolition expert called Alec Mason who is stunned to learn that the mining colony on Mars, now under control by the EDF, has returned to its old days of pretty much slavery and crap working conditions (if this sounds like your job i’m sorry!) The Earth is out of resources and the productivity of Mars has been ramped up much to the expense of everyone working there. Obviously you aren’t going to stand for this so you embark on your mission to overthrow the EDF sector by sector, rallying rebels in the process and aiding the rising Red Faction.
Using a giant sledgehammer you can smash down walls, houses, towers and pretty much anything else that gets in your way, however this isn’t your only tool. At the beginning you have a pistol, machine gun and some pretty fun remote sticky bombs to bring out the inner rebel in you however ammo is limited therefore you do need to be slightly sensible…he says.
For every mission and activity you take part in and complete you help entice more rebels into joining your cause for that sector and this brings with it other perks such as better resupplies and more people fighting alongside you during shoot outs.
The missions vary from rescuing prisoners and demolishing EDF structures to completely taking out armies and fortifications. On occasion real time missions appear where the Red Faction will ask you to quickly get to a specific place and help defend their strongholds. What you choose to do affects your sector influence so be willing to drop everything and run!
All of the martian vehicles can be entered and driven, one moment you can be in a small buggy, the next a giant rock carrying space lorry or even a tank. A handy beacon system lights up the roads to take you to each point of interest that you designate on the map so there is no excuses for getting lost. The vehicles can be a little clunky to drive at times with the turning circles of a Ford KA (To the non UK folk reading this, the Ford KA is a tiny car which struggles to turn into a car park space without numerous Austin Powers-like movements.)
Destruction is on an epic proportion and while not the most prettiest looking game in the world, smashing down a tower or building does fill you with a great sense of achievement. Just watch your head as hard hats aren’t provided and you will get splatted if you are standing in the wrong place. When the dust settles you can salvage the red glowing materials that are peppered across the land by running over them. These are used back at HQ to purchase new equipment and upgrades. Having more remote bombs is a must as well as having the amazing nano rifle.
As well as the single player campaign, there is a multiplayer online battle mode that sees you run about like a headless chicken as everything you hide behind is obliterated. The various game modes are said to be destructive and frantic however as the game isn’t released just yet I can’t give you my verdict for this part!
A cool party mode called “Wrecking Crew” can be played too. Here you can either play by yourself or with upto another 3 friends in a timed demolition attack whereby you have a minute to cause as much destruction as possible. Players compete one at a time to demo as many structures as possible before the timer runs out. When your go is over you simply pass your controller to the next player and off they go. Once everyone has had a turn the round winner is announced based on the highest score and it is onto the next round. There are numerous maps to play such as Factory and Complex and the types of ability and weapon can be either random or pre selected prior to the start. I had a lot of fun with the Grinder weapon which allowed you to fire out spinning disks that slice through buildings where as the Nano Rifle disintegrated anything that it hit. If you really want to go to town you can even turn off the timer and just spend the next few minutes levelling everything to the ground.
One thing that maybe a shock to some players is that there is no auto aim when firing games therefore you must line up your shots accurately to take the enemy out. The gun play is ok, however it is the blowing up of buildings and other structures that makes Red Faction: Guerrilla really fun.
Ok so the game has been reworked all over to shine it up and get those animations running nice and smooth and to be fair the devs have carried out a great job. I remember the days where when something big happened during a game you were hit with all kinds of animation stutter while the graphics card and processor tried frantically to keep up with the action, thank fully this isn’t the case here! Giant towers fall graciously and factory warehouses crumble to the floor in a manner that would make the late Fred Dibnah proud. Ok so some of the building parts may look a little chunky when they break up however remember that this game has come back from 2009 and received a polish rather than a complete overhaul. The lighting looks great as day rolls into night and the orange of the martian landscape casts shadows onto the buildings below.
The soundtrack on the promo trailer called “Space Asshole” was a song released in 2009 by artist Chris Remo as a tribute to Red Faction: Guerrilla therefore it is awesome of THQ Nordic to incorporate this track into the game. The soundtrack itself has been composed by a mixture of artists such as Tim Wynn (XCOM, Command & Conquer 3 & 4), Jake Kaufman (Silent Hill: Book of Memories, Rampage), Raison Varner (Borderlands 2), Dan Wentz (Freespace 2) and George Oldziey (Wing Commander) and features some of the best space ambience music around in my opinion. Tracks such as “Defiance” and “Oppression Ambience” do well to convey the thoughts and feelings of the storyline as you continue to blow everything up in sight! The sound effects and dialogue are good, I particularly enjoyed the creaking and rumbling of the structures as you try to work out if they are about to crash down around you!
Red Faction: Guerrilla takes destruction to the limit and being incorporated within an open world environment allows you to take whatever approach you want in order to cause it. The Wrecking Crew party mode is fantastic and we had great fun trying to top each others scores and learn better ways to quickly drop the structures. Online multiplayer is yet to be seen however if it has the intensity of the rest of the game then it will certainly be a nice distraction from the real world and enable you to release a lot of stress and tension in the process!
Based on the enjoyment I had playing the game, and being a lovely break from the games I am used to currently playing, I award Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered the Thumb Culture Gold trophy!
Disclaimer: A review code was received in order to write this article and boy I had fun breaking things in the process!