Big Boom: Red Faction: Guerilla

Man. That’s a lot of colons.

Ever heard of Red Faction? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t. I completely glossed over it myself when it first debuted back in 2001, though hopefully I can rectify that by blabbing on and on about the upcoming third title in the series. Red Faction: Guerilla hits the market on June 9th for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, and promises to offer all the zany destruction and fantastical boom-things you could ever hope for.

And did I mention you can completely destroy everything? Yeah. Click that link down there, champ. You know you want to.

Let’s step back for a moment to 2001. Red Faction crashed the party with a gleaming new piece of gaming tech: Geo-Mod. That’s short for geography modification, and even shorter for a long sentence of explosion sounds and obscenities. In a nutshell, Geo-Mod let you destroy walls and sculpt the terrain however you like, creating a thoroughly different kind of first-person shooter. Big metal door in your way? Typical game mechanics would force you to run around the level for an hour until you found the blue key to open it. Red Faction let you take a few steps back, open fire with your rocket launcher, and laugh gleefully as the ceiling caved in on you.

It’s great stuff. And it’s logical, a word not typically associated with first-person shooters. Why bother with keys when you’re sporting enough explosives to destroy the entire planet? Why waste rockets trying to destroy that massive armored vehicle when you can shatter the bridge it’s standing on? Simple questions, of course, but ones not often asked until the latest generation of consoles opened up all sorts of processing power to make things go boom.

And that’s where Red Faction: Guerilla comes in. It’s destructive. It’s delightful. It’s also a pretty big departure for the series, dropping first-person shooting for third-person destruction(ing) in a massive, open world. Despite the viewpoint shift, you still have all the staples: guns, sledgehammers, rockets, over 30 vehicles, jetpacks, and a whole slew of things that promise to make the final product one worth keeping an eye out for.

But what if you can’t wait? Well, there’s a demo coming our way tomorrow, so you won’t have to wait much longer to get your hands on all the action. I got my hands on the demo a few days ago by telling a few white lies during the early admission sign-up process, and having spent a few days with it, feel confident to say one thing: awesome.

It’s not an easy thing to get into, admittedly. The demo didn’t offer much direction in the way of controls or objectives, so I died the first few times just running around and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. The demo mission tasks you with recovering a massive Walker robot from the enemy’s clutches, and that’s exactly what you’ll do: get to it however you can, steal it, and then go on a destructive rampage as you fight your way back to the starting point.

The process is a little more complex than that, sure, but what it boils down to is sweet, sweet chaos. The few guns you can grab during the demo won’t be particularly exciting, but the remote charges and sledgehammer you start with are infinitely satisfying once you realize that everything can be destroyed. This knowledge is surprisingly important, ladies and gents, so remember it well once you dive into the action.

I can remember at least a few occasions where I was pinned behind a building with bullets flying all around. Most modern action games would force you to stick to cover as you sneaked around the building and returned fire. Red Faction: Guerilla throws out the rulebook entirely, letting you improvise in a variety of destructive ways. What’d I do? Pull out my sledgehammer and break into the building itself, tearing down the closest wall and escaping inside. I knew there was a gas tank on the outside of the wall directly opposite me, so I stuck a few remote charges to the interior of it and ran screaming for the hills before I detonated them.

Boom. Blowing up the wall took the gas tank out too, completely shattering the building and setting off a chain reaction with the various explosive containers nearby. The enemies that had been inching steadily closer didn’t stand a chance. I surveyed the destruction from a distance, exhilarated, understanding in an instant why video games have such a violent reputation and not caring at all.

That’s a debate for another time. Red Faction: Guerilla looms closer by the day, and I’d rather focus on a very promising game and all of the delightful destruction that comes with it. Let me know what you think about it when the demo debuts tomorrow. I’m curious to see what crazy things every does with such an explosive playground.

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No Comments on "Big Boom: Red Faction: Guerilla"

  1. Kam
    23/04/2009 at 9:51 am Permalink

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for something new to play. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Brian
    28/04/2009 at 4:16 am Permalink

    Sounds cool, I’ll have to check it out – albeit in a delayed fashion, since I won’t have my gaming rig up and running until late August, give or take.


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