"With Red Faction: Guerrilla's campaign mode being a sandbox game (taking place on Mars), I knew I was bound to get caught in some crazy situations. One such early instance was when I traveled to an apartment complex after a guy on the radio asked for help. Not even a minute after I got there, all hell broke loose: armored vehicles with turrets, tanks, and a buttload of soldiers came spilling into the area, ready to kill, kill, kill. I did my best by throwing a bunch of explosives, only sw..."
With Red Faction: Guerrilla's campaign mode being a sandbox game (taking place on Mars), I knew I was bound to get caught in some crazy situations. One such early instance was when I traveled to an apartment complex after a guy on the radio asked for help. Not even a minute after I got there, all hell broke loose: armored vehicles with turrets, tanks, and a buttload of soldiers came spilling into the area, ready to kill, kill, kill. I did my best by throwing a bunch of explosives, only switching to my machine gun when anyone dared get close. But the fight wasn't going so well for our side, and before I knew it, everyone was dead, leaving me with 20 soldiers and two armed cars to deal with.
I was behind one of the apartment buildings when this nightmare dawned on me, and soldiers were closing in on both sides, leaving me with no place to hide. I attempted to break through one side, but I knew I wouldn't make it out alive, especially with vehicles in the front waiting for me. So in the middle of the botched escape, I ran up the stairs to the second floor and rushed into one of the small apartments. From there, I crouched in a corner of the room, and picked off anyone dumb enough to just walk in. This "tactic" was going great... until I unintentionally blew up the only stairs left to my floor. I knew I had to either improvise or die, so I equipped my sledgehammer and smashed open the room's back wall, where I then continued to pick off soldiers down below. Unfortunately, I didn't win the battle, because, apparently, I was suppose to prevent the complex from being destroyed (life forms be damned!), and I was doing the exact opposite. But that didn't take away from the experience being fun as hell.
Moments like that made me think I was in for a treat with the rest of the campaign. Though, I soon realized that the feeling of enjoyment was mainly reserved for the early parts, when everything still felt fresh. It wasn't until I reached the Badlands, which was the third sector of Mars I had to liberate, that I noticed the campaign mode ran out of steam. The missions were really a blast to play at first, like House Arrest, where you barge into guarded buildings, free hostages, and try to escape with them while bullets and soldiers suffocate the location. Riding shotgun for Jenkins was also a hoot, as he was a Martian redneck who talked his mouth off while you blow up every military-owned property in sight. But all of this becomes extremely repetitive when the campaign just repeats the same missions over and over, until you eventually liberate Mars. You get a small dose of variations later on, but those also get beaten to death with repeats.
The missions that get it the worst because of this repetitive nature are the ones where you have to blow up important military buildings. The thing with having to destroy most of these huge structures is that you'll need to cause a lot of destruction in order to take them down. Now here's the problem: you never have enough ammunition. So you're constantly stuck in a nasty situation of quickly using up your explosives and missiles, run away to restock, then come back to repeat the process. Seriously, I spent over two hours attempting to destroy a base with five or six important buildings thanks to this nuisance. It's amazing how much time you can spend playing the campaign, actually trying to get things done, and still feel like you haven't accomplished much.
In the long run, completing missions will eventually feel like you're getting chores out of the way. What burns the most about the majority of these missions is that they're "optional", yet you still have to complete them anyway. You see, by finishing a mission, you end up raising the moral of the people in its sector. In return, the people will pop out of nowhere to aid you in battles, ensuring plenty of distractions for the military while you complete your task. You're also rewarded with salvage, the campaign's form of currency, which you need plenty of in order to purchase more powerful weapons, as well as a crappy jetpack that acts like a glorified double jump. That's the great irony: while most of the missions are optional, you'll have to complete them in order to survive later missions.
So with the campaign mode not being all that great, that just means there's only one place left for possible entertainment: multiplayer. Sadly, I ended up finding so many issues and stupid modifications that frustrated and irritated me. One of the bigger annoyances I found was that it's hard to distinguish team member from foe half the time, thanks to character designs being very similar (grays and browns). Markers do appear on top of players from time to time, but that's the thing: from time to time. They also have this awful habit of disappearing when you're right beside other players, placing you in many situations where you assume someone is on your side, only to find out the hard way that they're not. Give me a break and just provide each team with an easily recognizable color.
At first, you think you can deal with it, but more problems just keep popping up. There's this issue of a very absurd option you get in matchmaking team lobbies: after a certain amount of players appear, everyone gets the ability to vote if they want to start the match, instead of waiting for the rest of the players to show up. This is very stupid. It's stupid, because you can easily start the match with uneven teams. How is this fair? How is this fun? It's bad enough that players constantly drop out of matches in these types of games, they don't need encouragement from the developers to do it even more.
When you play a match of Capture the Flag, it actually feels normal at first. Then you steal the other team's flag, run all the way back to your base while dodging bullets, get ready to plant the flag, and feel that sweet taste of victory. Except that last part never comes. Instead, you're just standing on your point with the flag, only for the game to tell you that you can't score unless your own flag is also on the point... Who seriously thought this was an awesome idea? Also, while the Siege mode, where you're either defending or attacking structures, may seem fun at first, you'll quickly notice its worst flaw on repeated plays: respawns. The majority of the maps in this mode are designed in such a way where no one is safe. Normally, after respawing, you have a huge chance of being attacked (same problem happens in the deathmatch mode). On the Cornered map, a defending person with a sniper rifle can jump on a mountain and pick off attackers as they respawn. On the Framework map, an especially small map, defenders can run out into the open field and hunt attackers, since there's not many respawn points, and they're out in the open. It really makes me wonder if this was play-tested at all.
Demolition mode could have been a great experience, but the majority of gamers who join ruin it. I just can't seem to explain it... it's like they purposely turned off their brains when they enter this mode. Demolition isn't even that hard to grasp: each team has one Destroyer, which gets randomly switched to another player when they die, and their job is to attack structures for points. The team with the most points wins. Simple. Or so I thought. Almost every time I enter a match, most, if not all, of the players on my team start destroying everything in sight. Then there are Destroyers who don't even destroy, opting to kill people as if it was a deathmatch session. Hell, usually when I try to rebuild structures, so that the Destroyer can get more points, players react as if I lost my mind, going as far as attacking me.
Out of all six modes presented, I only ended up enjoying one: Damage Control. You basically just go to specific spots on the map, build a control tower to gain points, wreak the enemy's control towers, and repeat this simple process until one side has the most points. It somehow manages to avoid/reduce the pitfalls that plague the other modes. And that's such a sad statement to make, since all the other modes shouldn't be so problematic to begin with. I guess it comes as no surprise, considering how the campaign makes you feel like you're playing a job.
Unfortunately, the overall issue with Red Faction: Guerrilla is that, while it follows in the footsteps of previous, similar games, both in campaign and multiplayer, it does so in such a half-assed manner. That's really a damn shame, too, because this title had so much potential.
Community review by pickhut (August 03, 2009)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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