Red Faction: Guerilla Hands-On Preview

Red Faction: Guerilla is the third installment of the long running shooter series, set about 45 years after the events of the last game. The action takes place on Mars this time around, as your character Alec Mason has a simple mission: destroy the Earth Defense Force. The EDF is an evil organization that has been kidnapping citizens and forcing them to work in slave camps, and Alec must put a stop to this at all costs.

The demo starts you off in a place called the Dust Sector. Your first mission has you stealing a giant mech known as a Walker for a group of local miners, who in turn will help you eradicate the EDF from that area. You start off on-foot with two weapons: a standard assault rifle and a hammer that is capable of sending enemies flying. The EDF is unaware of your presence early on, so you can use this anonymity to find an advantageous engagement position. Once the bullets begin to fly, the action feels solid with spot-on aiming and satisfying combat. By clicking in on the left stick, you are able to concentrate your fire more accurately, which increases your chances of landing a devastating headshot. One drawback to the warfare would be the enemy AI, as your opponents don’t seem to work together as they try and mow you down. While not terrible, this makes the gunplay a bit more predictable than it would have been had they utilized teamwork.


The first thing that you will notice about Red Faction: Guerilla is that the game looks really good. While not up to the level of Uncharted or Gears of War, the graphics are very clean and vibrant. The world is populated with a lot of standout red and orange colors, which makes sense given the Mars setting. One down side to the visuals is that the scenery and enemies all tend to look the same, though the main character is nicely detailed. The action is shown from a third-person perspective this time around, giving you a wider viewpoint of all of the havoc that is constantly occurring around you.

This havoc seems to be what Red Faction: Guerilla is all about, as nearly everything that you see can be obliterated. While you can only do so much damage on foot, nothing can stand in your way once you step into a Walker. This mech—seen in the screenshot below—makes up for its lack of guns with a pair of ultra-powerful arms. Pressing the trigger or bumper buttons allows you to swing the massive limbs of this beast, which comes in handy when you want to fling enemy vehicles miles into the air. If one of these vehicles happens to land on a building, it will actually take down the area of that structure that it hit. Even more impressive is the fact that any untouched sections of that building will be left standing, as the game features a dynamic damage system. The carnage is portrayed beautifully here–reacting as it would in real life–so praise goes out to Volition and the GEO-Mod 2.0 engine for that.

Since the game is set in an open world environment, there are a number of ways to accomplish each mission. I was able to take three different paths to get to the same point on consecutive tries, causing as much chaos as I possibly could in the process. Eventually, I had to use the Walker to barrel through everything in my way as I headed towards a truck to get picked up. Once there, I had to mount a turret to destroy oncoming enemy vehicles and structures in a thrilling on-rails shooting sequence. Annihilating every object that you see ends up being advantageous, as taking down EDF buildings gives you salvage that equates to Mars currency. You can use this money to buy weapons and upgrades, encouraging you to decimate everything in sight!

After spending some time with Red Faction: Guerilla, it looks like it will be well worth picking up. I only hope that the rest of the game’s 120 missions are as much fun as the one in the demo, as what I played was really promising. It may not bring anything new to the table, but it definitely succeeds at everything that it tries to do.

Red Faction: Guerilla ships in early June for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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