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Red Faction (PlayStation 2) artwork

Red Faction (PlayStation 2) review

"Somewhere in our little insignificant solar system there is a planet that goes by the name of Mars. Admittedly being so many light years away from it on Earth I'd always found the planet to be a fairly dull place; however with Red Faction now in my possession and its fiery war a common guest in my living room I have to say that Mars is not so dull, and I'm looking forward to visiting it in the near future (fingers crossed). "

Somewhere in our little insignificant solar system there is a planet that goes by the name of Mars. Admittedly being so many light years away from it on Earth I'd always found the planet to be a fairly dull place; however with Red Faction now in my possession and its fiery war a common guest in my living room I have to say that Mars is not so dull, and I'm looking forward to visiting it in the near future (fingers crossed).

You play the role of the deep space miner Parker, your job is to lead him in the rebellion against the insidious Ultor Mining Corporation and liberate the miners from the near-slavery conditions. Will you be able to single-handedly get a bunch of people of Mars? Will you uncover the secrets behind the deadly plague that has struck down so many miners? The answer is a probable yes, but one thing that is ensured is a lot of fun!

The gameplay of Red Faction combines some classic shooting elements with a few interesting new technologies and ideas. It's a very nice combination that will leave you aching for me weeks after you've purchased the game. You've got yourself a nice little single player mode available along with the obligatory multiplayer game, these two modes alone will have you playing well into the night and first thing the next morning.

The single player mode takes you, the ordinary Joe Blow miner, one a quest to greatness. You start up caught in the midst of a minor scuffle, kill a couple of guards and find yourself trail blazing a full-blown revolution. Along the way you'll find yourself killing off half of the Ultor payroll, as the body count multiplies so does the fun until the heart-wrenching climax tops off a truly masterful journey.

Rather than just splitting the game into levels or missions the Red Faction experience is a non-stop one, however if one feels so inclined they can save at any time that they want (eliminating annoying repeat travels). You will be faced with that dreaded LOADING words at regular intervals, it won't be up for too long but is guaranteed to slaughter some of the tension which may have built up.

On your travels you'll negate some wonderful terrain, moving through mine shafts, mutant filled ''zoos'', into outer space and back down again. The transition between them is logical and not just done for visual impact, it's a very professional game you see. The missions that actually go with the landscapes are varied and interesting, blowing up stuff, killing people and the occasional element of stealth rear their head in Red Faction. On top of all this there are four different vehicles that are made available at certain times, there's nothing more fun than running over a few helpless guards are going crazy with some heat-seeking torpedoes (the vehicles are an ATV, driller, sub and flying fighter thingy just by the way).

Unfortunately the multiplayer foray is not as classy as the solo mode, it lacks enough speed and action to make it truly great and worthy of play. Only nine levels have been made available, and all can be selected from the start, unlocking things is a common feature in FPS games and is a glaring omission here. The design of these levels is good, nothing too extravagant but all the little hiding spots and vantage points that people love are here. Games are limited to two human players (any more would slaughter the frame rate) and no more than 5 bots can be chosen at any time. Even though there is usually only a small amount on screen at any time play can become choppy, poor frame rates are a reasonably frequent occurrence here. The play is quick, but certainly not quick enough, tactics seem to be the order of the day in this case.

The weapons available in Red Faction are a fairly good lot; power, precision and explosiveness all just waiting to be unleashed at the twitch of a finger. Most of the weapons are bog-standard fare, the sniper rifle, the rocket launcher and the assortment of machine guns aren't anything you haven't seen before. A little thing known as the ''rail gun'' is the saving grace here, an automatic one shot kill with the ability to shoot through any number of walls (x-ray vision included) should have any shooter fan salivating. A reasonable bunch with a couple of stand out performers, you shouldn't be too disappointed with this arsenal.

The thing in the gameplay that really has it stand out is the geo-mod technology. This gives you the opportunity to shoot holes in and blow up much of the terrain in the game. Explosive weapons such as rocket launchers and grenades all leave holes at their impact locations, but what is even better is the strategic options now made available. In both facets of the game there are secret rooms filled with the best weapons and extra health, just keep blasting and you're bound to find something! Make your own sniper hole, create tunnels between two sections of the map, this new technology can be used in any number of ways to help your cause. In the single player mode it is a tad neglected towards the end of the game, but there's enough overall to keep most satisfied.

Overall the gameplay is a long way above average. Both sides of the spectrum are adequately covered, if you prefer tactical play over straight out firepower or vice-versa then this game can accommodate to your needs. It's not the fastest game out there and there should have been more customising available in multiplayer, but the top class story and geo-mod are more than enough to win fans over to Red Faction.

Running in hi-res for the majority of the game, Red Faction offers up some sumptuous visuals. From start to finish there is rarely a flat spot, and some sections might just make your eyes pop out (no promises though). The backgrounds have an immense amount of detail packed into them, cracks in the rocks, rust on the metal, they've thought of pretty much everything! There are some fine water effects, huge waterfalls and pools of water and the like, everything just seems so finely polished and it looks like these visuals won't be surpassed (on the PS2 at least) for some time to come. When shooting through the walls there is only one repetitive texture used in your little hidey holes, but everything else looks so realistic and highly detailed that you just won't care.

The characters are fairly good, not to the standard of the backgrounds but very passable nonetheless. The animations look a little jerky and not quite right, and the speech and accompanying close ups of peoples faces are a little silly. The special effects on display are great, all kinds of explosions doing justice to the larger weaponry. Overall there is just so much on display here all at once that one just can't help but fall in love with it. You'll continually just stand around looking at the breathtaking scenery for seconds (yes, SECONDS!) on end.

The sound does its bit to uphold the quality witnessed in the prior two categories. The background music is top stuff, it's a varied soundtrack that blends in nicely with the scenery and action and everything else that's going on around you. There's the boring old rock music which seems to be in every FOS, but to back it up there are some quieter more emotional tracks that do just as well to heighten the suspense. Not a bad effort here at all!

The sound effects are good enough, they don't do anything to stand out (have any sound effects ever stood out in the history of everything?). The weapons go boom, people go UUURRRGHHH, I don't quite know what else you people expect. Oh yeah, they do have nice ambience....if you care about ambience (I don't think I know what ambience means). Anyway, there are one or two nice performances from the speech kind of things, but the remainder are hammy and over the top. It's nice that the enemies say things in-game, but being called ''MINER SCUM'' 20 billion times in one minute is going a little bit too far.

Overall the sound is a fairly fair effort. Half way between brilliance and not brilliance. =D

The lifespan of Red Faction is a long one, you'll want to play through the single play game a few times to experience the different difficulties and explore for hidden rooms and such. You'll also be stuck like glue to the multiplayer game, it may not be perfect but it's good enough to suck you in for a number of months. The lack of unlockables may just shorten the longevity, but not enough to make it anything less than a really bloody long time.

Some aspects of this game are immense fun, just playing with the geo-mod will give you more enjoyment than you really need. It's just a kind of FPS which doesn't intimidate, you'll always feel comfortable playing it and when the really inventive parts of the game kick in the fun will be off the scale. A very high mark for Red Faction in this category.

A well-rounded challenge can be found in Red Faction. There are four different difficulty settings to choose from, the first one is perfect for initial plays, the fourth mind bendingly difficult in either style of play. The AI is surprisingly good, especially in the single-player mode. The enemy will move around constantly, and if they run out of ammo will run away screaming until the next cartridge is loaded up. Constant saving and an auto-aim feature make it a little easier on those tougher styles, everyone is sure to find something to meet their challenge needs no matter their skill level....just look out for those baddies with rail guns, 90% of game overs are caused by those meanies!

When it comes to first person shooters it is often the little things that make the difference between the good ones and the ugly ones, Red Faction has enough of these little things to make it a winner. The enemy AI, gorgeous graphics and especially the geo-mod are all good reasons to make one consider Red Faction their next purchase. The single player mode is a gripping one, the multiplayer mode an exciting one, you will not be wasting your money! In terms of the competition Red Faction is right up there with Red Faction, if you found the solo adventure in that title a bit lacking then this one is right up your alley. In the top echelon of PS2 games at this very moment, worth a peek at the very least!
- Supremely good graphics!
- The geo-mod is a brilliant innovation
- The story is surprisingly good, it'll make you stick it out until the end

- Single player could be just a smidgin longer
- Nasty frame rates can appear in multiplayer mode
- Could have done with a couple more imaginative weapons
GRAPHICS - 10/10
SOUND - 7/10
OVERALL - 9/10

~This review dedicated to those involved in the NYC/DC tragedy. May Parker nail those terrorists with a fusion rocket launcher.~

kingbroccoli's avatar
Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)

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