After writing part one of the Red Faction series, I decided to jump right into Red Faction 2. Three hours later, I am done.
Welcome back to my ranking of the Red Faction series. For those who haven't read the first part, I am ranking the Red Faction games (1, 2, Guerrilla, Armageddon) as I go. Each blog is the explanation of how I feel about the game, and the rank can be found here. Now, onto part two.
Taking place five years after the first game, you play as a man named Alias, a demolitions man in a squad of six working along side the Red Faction trying to take down a dictator known Victor Sopot in a place called the Commonwealth. This squad was originally created by Sopot using a nanotechnology, but feared betrayal and wants them dead and replaced with mindless soldiers. It is up to your squad and the Red Faction to find and kill Sopot and bring democracy to the Commonwealth.
One of the things I didn't like about the first game was the Half Life approach to the story. Still, I thought its corporation backdrop and Martian setting was good. Instead of expanding upon that, Red Faction 2 throws it all away. Now, you are on Earth and you are fighting some basic dictator. The characters had more, well, character, but I couldn't help but not like them for their personalities and terrible writing. Hell, you didn't even play as the Red Faction. But the biggest quarrel I had with the story is the connection (or lack thereof) to the first game. The game never explains the connection between this game and the last, so I spent the entire time wondering if there was any connection or if they just slapped some Red Faction people in the game to make the connection. Even the twist in the story is so basic that I wish it wasn't there, and I love a good twist in a story. The first Red Faction didn't have a good story, but what they did have was a solid foundation that the second game could've built upon. Instead, they threw it all away and instead made a bad everything.
Fortunately, gameplay wasn't as bad. I didn't have to download any mods just to play the game, so that's a start. Even though the guns were terrible at first, the guns you get over time are a lot more fun and ultimately better than the first game. Now, you have grenades that can invert your controls, an assault rifle that puts a box around the enemy so you can see their health and where they are, a gun that shoots five grenades at a time, and more. On top of that, some weapons can now be dual wielded. The game has slightly better direction than the first game; and just like the first game, this one has a good difficulty curve and it doesn't overstay its welcome (but I will get back to this soon).
The gameplay wasn't as bad as the story, but it did have some issues. One thing I liked about the previous game are the vehicle sections. Vehicles are back in this game too, but not in a good way. Now, vehicle sections are on rails and way too long. Later in the game, you got to use some vehicles that weren't on rails like a mech suit, but in the end I still feel that there were too many vehicle sections and they weren't that fun. The other I had was the constant spawning of enemies. I didn't experience this all of the time, but there were times here-and-there where I felt the enemies just kept spawning and spawning to the point of annoyance. I only really experienced this with the annoying enemies like the mechanical jumping explosive spiders (because of course I only experience it with the annoying enemies), and it was annoying as all hell. But in the end, I didn't think the gameplay was all that bad.
One thing I mentioned earlier and I wanted to come back to was the length. It only took me three hours to complete the game. That's it. While that was a good thing for me as for I am not a big fan of the game, I just can't help but think about the people who bought this game at launch only to find it be this short. The first game's length was also short, but I think six hours is a decent amount of time for a campaign. This is too short. I could only really see this length for the campaign if this game was primarily multiplayer, but I don't think it is. Speaking of which...
Multiplayer is back. As always, the multiplayer offerings don't affect my judgement, but I still like to talk about it a bit. Unlike the first game, Red Faction 2's multiplayer was bots only (as of now, it was probably online before). The bots do have a lot of customization with appearance and stats, which I think is pretty cool. Other than that, the multiplayer is still the same arena shooter like the first game.
While I don't think the game itself is bad, Red Faction 2 feels like wasted potential. What I liked about the first game was thrown away for a basic plot in a basic setting with cheesy characters. The gameplay was pretty good with solid weapons, but its short length makes it feel disappointing. In the end, I would say this game is behind the first, and my guess is it will either be number three or four. Thank you all for reading, and tune in soon for Red Faction: Guerrilla.