Late To The Xbox Party: Red Faction Guerrilla (2009)

I played a bunch of games for the PlayStation 2, mostly superhero related ones, but there are three that stick out in my memory. I’ve talked about my love of Spider-Man 2 all over the place, but the other two were James Bond: Agent Under Fire and Red Faction 2. While everyone else was playing the hell out of Halo 2 on the Xbox in college, my gang was all about Red Faction 2 as far as mutiplayer murder fests go. I’ve never been very good at those kinds of games but I still love playing them with friends. The use of interesting weapons like the rail gun (which gave you thermo look at your opponents and ammo that could shoot through walls) and some huge bazooka type things. Fun stuff, great levels, friends, good all around.

Red Faction Guerrilla doesn’t have any of that stuff, but I still liked it. Having never played the single player version of RF2, I don’t know what the story is, but the story for this game is that you are a demolition expert on Mars who starts working with the revolutionaries. I skipped most of the cut scenes, but, basically, you get to blow a lot of shit up and collect salvage that you can then use to get better weapons and weapon upgrades to blow more shit (and bad guys) up.

It’s kind of funny that RFG actually has more similarities to Spider-Man 2 than RF2, now that I think about it. Both games give you sandboxes to play in with side missions that can earn you more salvage and experience in addition to story-based ones. I liked most of the missions, like the destruction and smashing ones, but just didn’t get into the race ones because, I generally don’t like car-based games (not enough things blowing up).

One of the things that got RFG attention when it came out is that the environments are very destructible. You’re encouraged to blast, smash or blow up most buildings and people. The only real limitations I came to with the controls/design–aside from only being able to carry three weapons and the hammer–was that sometimes you hit an invisible wall when it came to climbing on the mountains, which got frustrating. Another problem I had a few times was that the map system isn’t always great. You can place beacons on the map to guide you where you need to go, but if it happens to be off-road, the arrows disappear. This lead to some really long and annoying treks to found places I needed to blow up. Another negative came with some of the save points during missions. Many of them involve defending something from multi-tiered attacks, but also start you back at the very beginning if you die. I get that the game needs to be somewhat difficult, but that kind of stuff gets maddening for me. All of which leads up to my biggest complaint: I couldn’t beat the damn game. I tried so many times and even watched a few YouTube walkthroughs, but just couldn’t get my guy/tank/vehicle to survive long enough to get to the actual end of the game. That difficulty coupled with the crappy restart places just made me give up (after realizing it was the very last thing I needed to do).

I still had a lot of fun with the game, especially smashing things with my various hammers, I think I killed more bad guys with that than guns because it was super-effective. I still give the game a positive review which speaks to how much fun I had while playing it, even though I didn’t finish the game. I got enough enjoyment that it didn’t even bother me that much. Plus, I’ve been wanting to get into Prototype, which has been sitting on my shelf for a while, so it all worked out in the end. I’m looking forward to hearing he buzz about Red Faction Armageddon which comes out at the end of this month. Anyone hear good things?