by Grace Madsen
When developer Volition’s classic 2009 title, Red Faction: Guerrilla was announced, re-launching as a remastered version of its former self for current hardware, we were excited to dive back into the destructive nature of the full experience. However, this re-master or re-Mars-tered as it is advertised is no reboot. With how far action-RPG games have been enhanced by today’s standards, you would think some gameplay enhancement would be necessary for a more compelling experience, however the nostalgia factor of an old-school classic is put on full display, with only the assistance of 4K resolution and 60fps via the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X hardware.
Yet, despite the obvious outdated gameplay mechanics and simple narrative plot line, this critic still managed to enjoy his stay revisiting the campaign and side-quest objectives, ultimately attempting to be as destructive as humanly possible, throughout my return to Mars.
For those who never experience the Red Faction series, Red Faction: Guerrilla is the third game in the series which places players in the capable boots of Alec Mason as he works alongside the Red Faction to overthrow the oppressive establishment, which is maintained by the oppressive EDF or Earth Defense Force located on Mars.
As impressive as it was in 2009, the games Geomod 2.0 engine still maintained its enjoyable and destructive function allowing for buildings, cover and many other structures to be completely obliterated with the swing of your iconic sledgehammer, or any other damaging objects at your disposals.
This disastrous degree of creativity in approaching a given objective, such as breaking or crashing through structures, or leveling multi-story buildings and large bridges or catwalks to thwart the enemy, is what kept me coming back. In many cases, destroying buildings will leave behind salvage, the game’s form of currency, which can be used along with salvage rewarded by completing missions to unlock and upgrade weaponry and technology at safehouses.
During the campaign, the player is always equipped with the trusty sledgehammer which is both your handy tool and weapon, along the three slots for other weapons and explosives, selected out of a choice of almost twenty items. The player also has the opportunity to control armed vehicles ranging from retrofitted civilian vehicles up to tanks and large walkers for more destructive options against the EDF.
Objectives are primarily associated with getting rid of the EDF as mission types vary from launching assaults on important targets, protecting the oppressed from EDF attacks, evacuating allies to safety, to hijacking cars and doing epic damage on the all-important Martian landscapes. Ultimately, the experience is all about extinguishing the EDF at all cost and the variety by which it is accomplished ranges from the multitude of resources used to get the job done and we are talk an assortment of weapons coupled with jetpacks, mech-walkers, tanks, powerful rovers and other vehicles Alec Mason can commandeer.
Even today, the destructive nature of Red Faction: Guerrilla has this undeniable quality that is well placed within this satisfying formula. Sure, as Alec Mason you are a do-gooder looking out for your fellow man, in an effort to rid Mars of the EDF, however in the process, as the player you thrive on the bombastic destructive nature of the overall experience. Red Faction: Guerrilla is about liberation at all cost, and the affair literally begs you to destroy any and everything in your path, and for many of you you will love it!
As mentioned before, while Red Faction: Guerrilla does offer side-quests, nothing feels too out of place or unnecessary, as the full purpose of each objective, whether part of the main campaign or an optional, secondary quest, points at the same cohesive purpose. This makes your stay on Mars a more pleasant one, even if you would have liked a more complete ground up reboot with the same unique lethal perspective.
For most of the ride I did enjoy my stay on Mars, however I was often compelled by the idea of the possibilities associated with this remasters being more than a simple cosmetic update.
Regardless of the gameplay that often left me quite satisfied, the games story badly falls flat on its face. While the game does introduce key characters in an effort to add some narrative layers to your purpose, by ten years ago standards, sure this could work, today it is nothing short of cringe-worthy. The story is far from terrible, but is undoubtedly weak at best.
Interestingly, while the premise of the game is based in a reality on Mar where guerrilla warfare is supposed to be the necessary cause of action, you are actually more of a one man army than strategic fighting force working together against the EDF. And that does seem to be ok since you’re having fun. However, one does contemplate the untapped potential here.
In the end Red Faction Guerilla: Re-Mars-Tered is a lot of fun once you manage to chore your way through the initial shortcomings and accept it for what it is. While the resolution and frames per second boost on capable hardware does allow for a more tolerable ride, newcomers might be hard-pressed to actually digest the full ride. The game can get repetitive leaving much to be desired and with the lack of anything story related to sink your teeth into emotionally, the classic yet dated gameplay is left doing much of the heavy lifting.
Overall, I had a pleasant time revisiting Mars, yet in its current state it leaves much to be desired.