Release Date: 9/15/2009
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The Good: Destroying everything is fun, big open world, lots of upgrades, looks good technically
The Bad: Extremely repetitive, unbalanced and unfair difficulty, lots of little inconsistencies
Fans of the previous games will notice that the series has moved away from the FPS style, and went with an open world 3rd person action game. You play as Alec Mason who is just another miner on Mars trying to make a living. His brother is involved with the Red Faction, and you get recruited to be the voice of Mars, and stop the EDF (Earth Defense Force) from controlling the people. While that may sound pretty standard it kind of is and the story never really gets interesting since there aren’t many cut scenes, and the game concentrates mainly on the destruction style game play.
The game has an awesome destruction engine in which you can throw charges and detonate them and watch buildings crumble. I don’t mean pre cut pieces, but literally, as if it were a real building. You can plant charges and find buildings’ weaknesses or just use your hammer and wack away at walls until the whole thing crumbles to bits. Some missions require you to destroy a building and its integrity is displayed on your map so you get an idea of how much you’ve destroyed. Usually, when you weaken a building enough it will just collapse. This is really fun and satisfying, and there are so many ways to destroy them. You can ram vehicles in buildings, use a rocket launcher, even a nano rifle that eats through metal. While building destruction is the focal point in the game the freedom is as well.
The world is split up in section and you must liberate each one by completing story missions, but you must bring the EDF control down to zero before you can begin the last mission for that sector. You will also bring the morality of the people up, but this doesn’t ever seem to really do anything. You can bring control down in many ways through side missions. There are many types and some will even give you salvage which can be used for upgrades. Some missions types include demolition which gives you certain materials to use to bring down a building. Some of these are very challenging and some you just can’t figure out. There are “time trial” type driving missions where you have to get a vehicle to a certain safe house in a set amount of time. There are hostage missions, raids, defense, even one where you sit on a mounted gun on a truck and blow up as much stuff as you can.
While there is a wide variety in missions it gets dull after the second sector since it’s the same type of thing over and over again. The game play may be fun but it’s not very diverse and it will make some people stop playing before they even finish the game. The gun play is a little weak since you can’t aim down sights or anything. You can carry four types of weapons on you at all times and upgrades very from ammo enhancement, new weapons, and even some defensive stuff like armor and the ability to fast travel between safe houses. My main gripe about the game is the difficulty. A lot of missions will bring the alert to level red and you’ll have dozens of enemies come after you while you have to blow up certain stuff and it’s impossible to keep them off of you so you just have to run and blow up what you need to without dying. This makes you desperate for vehicles since you heal when you get in them and you can use them to smash down buildings. A lot of times you’ll also run out of ammo and have to search for an ammo box and a lot of times there won’t be one.
The game just has a lot of little inconsistencies like the vehicles being really squirrely, and even though the game is really open a lot of it is closed off and you stuck to paths due to all the steep cliffs and mountains. A lot of times buildings will collapse on you and kill you and you’ll get run over by vehicles but barely take any damage. There will be times where an objective is upstairs and if you destroy the ladder or stairs you can’t get up there. Things like this make you confused, but other than that the game is just repetitive and that’s the biggest issue. The game looks good technically, but the world looks really bland and is just well…red. If you love open adventure games Red Faction is your game otherwise stay away.