There have been plenty of games based around just one unique gameplay mechanic. Some have been absolutely terrible, while others have managed to wrap their one trick in a package captivating enough to keep players’ attention. Red Faction for the PS2 was one of those games. A fairly typical FPS story and gameplay were made much more entertaining through the use of Volition’s Geomod technology. Blowing holes through terrain did tons to bring depth and realism to the game, and it was a favorite of its generation.
On the PS3 we got Red Faction Guerilla. This time around Volition dropped tunneling through the ground and replaced it with fully destructible buildings. Again, this was a pretty standard third-person shooter for the time, but being able to dynamically destroying structures piece-by-piece adds a ton to the experience. Destructible terrain and buildings are still something we mainly only see in voxel-based games. So, even though Red Faction Guerilla was released in 2009, Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered still feels incredibly innovative.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered Review: Generic Sci-Fi Plot
Unfortunately, the plot is not part of the innovation. It exists primarily of a reason for you to destroy buildings and doesn’t really pack any sort of punch. It’s set 50 years after the original Red Faction and the former good guys, the Earth Defense Force, are now the bad guys. You’re Alec Mason, a mining engineer who has just arrived are Mars to live with his brother and start a new life on the Martian frontier. Problem is, big bro is part of a revived Red Faction who are dedicated towards throwing the yolk of EDF oppression off their shoulders.
One thing leads to another, and you become part of the Red Faction. After that, you start saving the innocent people of Mars from their Earth-based wardens and yadda, yadda, yadda. The plot in Red Faction Guerilla is threadbare and generic and easily the weakest part of the game. It sets you up a reason for destroying lots of buildings, and that’s all you really need it for.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered Review: Demolition Man
The real draw to the game is breaking buildings. There are all kinds of structures to destroy. You got your smokestacks, your little buildings, medium-sized buildings, then there are some big buildings for you to break too. As to what their purpose is, I dunno. Most of the time you’ll get something on your map that tells you it’s an EDF something-or-other, but again, it doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is how cathartic it is to break down load-bearing walls until a roof collapses, or blowing structures asunder with remote charges and rocket launchers. There are even vehicles, so you can just straight plow through a building. Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered is at its best when it just gives you a structure to take down and the means to do it with. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of in-between stuff you have to deal with that detracts from the carnage.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered Review: Remember How Horrible Third-Person Controls Used to Be?
Red Faction Guerilla is a game that harkens back to some of the more awkward lineage of third-person games. It wasn’t too long ago, but in 2009 open-world third-person shooters still had a bit of a way to go when it came to pinning down aiming and enemy AI. So, when you’re fighting the EDF, you’ll find that your character suffers from imprecise aiming, and Volition went with the old standby of just spawning a ton of enemies to increase difficulty instead of having them actually be smart.
Some missions are just frustrating with how bad the design is for them. One early quest in which you have to drive an armored vehicle throw a series of twelve sensor outposts was just infuriating. The EDF that are chasing you have infinite spawn, and your vehicle just doesn’t have the health to make it through the whole mission unless you play it just perfect. If your vehicle takes too much damage you can get out and hop in a new one, but guess what, the EDF in this mission just infinite spawn and will home in on your position no matter where you are and run you over while slamming into each other ceaselessly. I eventually was able to discern how to take down the sensors while staying out ahead of the EDF, but it was a ridiculous mission, especially since it’s only the fourth or fifth one in.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered Review: A Strict Remaster
This is a remaster (a ReMARSter), so what’s improved? Well, the answer is not much. You get the base game here, along with the three DLC packs. The graphics have been cleaned up, but not remade, so it looks much the way you remember it, albeit with the ability to display in up to 4K.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered doesn’t contain any new content, unfortunately. It also doesn’t include any new bug fixes, and if you’re playing on a regular PS4, you can expect some of the same slowdowns that were a hallmark of the PS3 version. The PS4 Pro seemed to perform much better, and I didn’t notice any stuttering there, but the slim and base model will likely chug a bit from time to time.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered Review: Mindless Fun
Red Faction Guerilla is a one trick pony, which might lead you to believe it’s not worth playing. That’s not at all true though. The one trick this pony does is impressive even today, and the years have been kind to the game. Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered does suffer from a generic story and floaty shooting controls, but it’s a blast if you’re looking for a mindless, destructive romp where you can bring down any structure you can see.
Red Faction Guerilla ReMARStered is far from perfect, but it’s fun, and it’s proof that not every game needs to have a serious, super in-depth narrative to please. If you owned the original on PC, the remaster is free, and it’s an affordable $29.99 on console. In a summer that’s been pretty devoid of significant releases this remaster will go a long way towards curing your video game blues.