It’s probably already clear to anyone who knows me that smashing and blowing stuff up in games is one of my favourite past-times. A game with good destruction physics will keep me entertained for hours. So when I was given Red Faction Guerrilla: Re-MARS-tered I was an excited chap that’s for sure!
I never actually played the original release of Guerrilla and you know what I’m not even sure why! Being a departure from the first two Red Faction Games, Guerrilla plonks you on the surface of a terraformed Mars as reluctant hero and layered clothing enthusiast Alec Mason. Starting the action and mechanics demonstration early Alec and his brother take a drive to a derelict base so that Mason can use his sledgehammer and what appears to be apocalyptic strength to take down a solid concrete tower! After this little tutorial disaster strikes ending with Alec joining the Red Faction resistance against the almost comically evil EDF (something to do with the earth government?). This opening mission is your first lesson in how ALL buildings found in the game can be taken apart piece by piece like they’re made from cardboard and blue tac. Now this is obviously the main selling point of the entire game. However that is ALL the game really has to offer and even to me that got pretty boring eventually.
So what IS there to do in this vast open world? Destroy buildings… AND rescue people….by destroying buildings. Sensing a pattern here? It’s made pretty clear from the start that Alec’s one key feature and reason the Red Faction want him so badly is that he’s pretty handy with a hammer and sees solid concrete structures as mild inconveniences rather than actual obstacles which does make getting to certain objectives quite easy. Wall between you and the target? What wall? Just smash through with whatever weapon you have to hand or vehicle if you’re feeling really daring. It makes the tedium of driving through an open world just a little more bearable as you charge through barriers and obstacles like they’re not even there and watch your enemies bodies bounce off your bonnet like they’re made of rubber.
Now being that this is a remaster (and yes I refuse to write that stupid Mars pun name again) there have obviously been a few changes. However, as I never played Guerrilla when it first came out I honestly can’t say if the changes and improvements are that drastic. What I will say is that the frame rate is fairly impressive as even when I was waist deep in particle effects and pieces of building the frame rate stayed smooth and consistent! Some parts still look dated however with story FMV’s hampering the experience when it looks like you’ve booted up your PS3 or Xbox 360 again luckily though these are few and far between so it doesn’t get in the way too often!
Talking about looks the whole game is pretty enough with character models for the main cast looking pretty decent though enemy characters looking like more bland Stormtroopers and having very little distinguishing features from the Red Faction members you come across leading to quite a few friendly-fire incidents! The environment as a whole is also sadly quite bland with the orange canyons and sky getting quite tedious to look at after a while and even the buildings all blending into the skyline. Not that you’ll see a lot of the orange however as the games day-night cycle seems to be incredibly biased to the night end of the spectrum!
I’ll be totally honest I did get all that far into the game as I was too busy having fun wrecking stuff! I mentioned it before and I’m doing it again Red Faction really shines when it comes to destruction. Alec’s hammer makes cutting though buildings incredibly satisfying and it’s even more fun to turn the tool on the enemies who turn up to stop your unscheduled demolition! I almost completely ignored firearms during my play through relying solely on the hammer and explosives to get me by and loved every second of the chaos that caused! Taking a part a tower with the hammer then turning and tossing a remote explosive charge into the middle of a gaggle of baddies never gets old and the fun only intensifies when you get hold of a rocket launcher and multi missiles later on!
At its core Red Faction: Guerrilla is just a good amount of fun wrapped up in a game trying to be bigger than it is. With the focus almost entirely aimed at blowing stuff up with reckless abandon occasionally broken up with moments of clarity and a story about….freedom or something?
I give Red Faction Guerrilla: Re-Mars-tered a SMASHING 7/10