Red Faction was a franchise that I was not too familiar with before heading to Comic Con, and after getting a taste of the latest entry in the series, Guerilla, I’m starting to wonder why I haven’t noticed it before. The display itself was hard to miss, as THQ had eight consoles running the game (six multiplayer, two with the single-player demo), and because of it there were lines of people waiting to get their hands on it all weekend.
It took me until Sunday, the last day of the convention, but I finally got a chance to test out what the game had to offer. This preview is for the multiplayer portions of the game, as I could not get anywhere near the single-player mode due to the traffic around it.
For those of you who are not familiar with Red Faction, let me give you a bit of background info. The series takes place in the future, and deals with wars on both Mars and Earth. This third entry marks the return to Mars, and with it comes an open-world, third-person shooter affair. The hallmark of the series has been the elements of environmental destruction, and with the power of the high-definition consoles running the show this time around, the ante has been increased significantly. Cover explodes, buildings topple down, and the game even encourages this kind of behavior through the use of specific suits.
These suits are another Red Faction trademark, as they bestow special powers on the wearer. There’s a stealth suit for invisibility when not firing, a suit that makes your character run faster, one that allows your character to hover above the ground and fire down at targets below, as well as one that will allow you to knock a building down and crush all within the walls, including you.
These suits are available in multiplayer, which gives the game a unique angle with which to build from. The controls are tight and easy to pick up on if you’ve ever played a third-person shooter, so it’s simple enough to learn how to use the suits to your advantage without any clumsy adjustment time. Trust me, you will want to learn how to use them. All it took was one guy popping out of stealth mode in front of me to melee attack my character before I realized just how key those suits are to your survival in multiplayer.
Experimenting with the suits is a lot of fun. Stealth mode has obvious benefits, but using a jetpack to shoot yourself onto a rooftop or above a foe stuck on the ground has its merits as well. Knocking down a building is satisfying, as is using the aptly named Rhino suit to charge through enemies in your path. It gives the multiplayer a reason to exist besides simple running and gunning, and you can already tell, based on my own experience with the title and those of the fans new and old at Comic Con this weekend, that developer Volition has nailed the multiplayer experience in a way that will tear people away from their established shooter franchises.
Let’s not forget that Red Faction: Guerilla is a sight to behold as well. Even though the map I was playing in looked like a desert-this is the surface of Mars, after all-the browns and reds were vibrantly colored, and were, in a word, gorgeous. The character models are richly detailed as well, with excellent animation for running, shooting and the use of all of the suits. The tremors caused by one of the suits has to be experienced, because it’s quite the sight to see your entire screen start to shake and warp out of control at the press of a button. This is a game that looks incredible in motion, far better than the accompanying screens for this piece lead you to believe. It may have been the best looking game on one of the high-def consoles at the entire event; if not the best, then certainly up there alongside it.
This game was nowhere near my radar when I came to New York Friday, but it has shot its way up the ranks just from the short time I spent with it. If you’re a fan of the series, it’s time to get excited, and if you’re new to the franchise like me, then strap in just the same, because this game looks like it’s worthy of your attention. Red Faction: Guerilla will release this summer on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.