Welcome to part 3 of 4 ranking the Red Faction games. For those who don't know, the rank is here while this blog functions as the thought process to my rank. Also, I played the remastered version of the game and not the Steam version, so if there are any issues with the Steam version and not the remastered then you won't hear them here. Now onto part 3.
Taking place sometime after the first game, the Martian people have been betrayed by the EDF when their former ally turns against them for resources. You play as Alec Mason who has decided to move to Mars to see his brother and live a new life. It doesn't take long for the stuff to hit the fan because next thing you know, your brother (who you find out is part of the Red Faction) is dead and an incident later you fall into the shoes of your brother fighting for the Red Faction. The rest is, well, the rest of the game.
The one thing I have always been critical of with the previous games is the story. A lot of times they follow a basic plot, and this game is no different. I do think this story is the best of the three so far by diving a little deeper into the characters and adding a new faction (a Mad Max style faction known as the Marauders), but the story is still basic, predictable, and uninteresting. But I actually found the highlights of the story through other means like the setting and vibe of the game. The one thing I really liked about the first game was the setting and rebellious vibe, and this game returns to that in full force. I love the new Martian setting where remnants of the Ultor company can be found scattered around while still sticking with the corporation-against-the-rebellion vibe of the game. Also, other aspects of the game like the characters and this third new faction with their own background and motives prove to be better than the previous two games. I wish the Marauders had more time because I found them to be interesting and refreshing from the Red Faction-EDF struggle, but overall I think the story and all of its elements, while still basic, are better than the previous two games.
Story didn't change a whole lot, but the gameplay sure did. The biggest, most obvious change to the gameplay is the change to open world. As such, let's get into the open world and its aspects. Overall, I would say that the change to open world is a positive one, but with flaws. Red Faction: Guerrilla finally allows me to explore the Martian terrain while offering a nice spread of missions and other activities to do. All of the side mission types were fun to play, and the different biomes of Mars were interesting to see. But I also think that the open world is flawed as well. Ultimately, I found the world to be barren and the structures felt cut-and-paste. These issues affect other aspects of the game, but I will get to those later. Still, I think the shift to open world is a good one.
The second and third biggest change to this game is the change to third person and the destruction. While destrction can be found in the previous games, it was never as big as this. In this game, you are toppling structures like a kid with a bat hitting legos where in previous games the destruction stayed small. The destruction in this game is magnificent to see and proved to be a lot of fun wreaking havoc on buildings. And with this dramatic increase of destruction as well as your break-neck speed comes the change to third person. I feel it was necessary for the game to go third person because I think it would have been too hectic for first person, but I felt that the change had one big flaw: the controls felt stiff. The aiming was something I eventually got used to, but driving was difficult. Despite that, I don't think the game should have stayed in first person because of how hectic the game can be.
I am all out of big differences, so let's get into the smaller gameplay details. The absolute best aspect of the game to me is how guerrilla the games feels. I think the game nails its guerrilla feel really well. As long as you are in an alert status, the enemy will constantly spawn and overwhelm you. While I thought this was a bad aspect at first, I found the spawning to force me to constantly retreat back to home base after doing various actions, which if that isn't guerrilla I don't know what is. No matter how much you upgrade, it won't take long for the EDF to overwhelm you and force you back into hiding, and I loved that. Also, the missions you partake on feel guerrilla as well. I remember doing this one side mission that involved me and a group of fighters taking control of a building, then fending it off from reinforcements, then finishing it off with exploding the building. I have played other games that involve you playing as a guerrilla force (Homefront: Revolution, The Saboteur, etc.), but this game sells that guerrilla aspect far better than any I have ever played.
The world is divided into six districts, and each one has two meters: control and morale. Control is, well, the control EDF has over the district. This meter depletes as you complete main missions, side missions, and other things like destroying key buildings. Morale, on the other hand, is a meter you want to keep full. It's the morale of the troops and can be filled through kill combos, destroying propaganda, and missions while it can be depleted from Red Faction deaths. Having a high morale meter means more enemies will spawn on you in action and more salvage (the main form of currency) from missions. I really liked these two meters as for it was a good representation of progress for both your cause and the weakening strength of the EDF. Finally, the vehicles, despite the stiff controls, are fun to use (especially the walker), the game offers a jetpack halfway through that makes traversal better. The game offers a lot of great things, but there are some not-so-great things lurking below.
The biggest issue I had with the game is how basic it is. Everything I did in the game pretty much boiled down to one thing: destroy. That's all I really felt like I was doing throughout the game: go in, destroy, retreat back to base. I get that this line of thinking is a very simplistic form of thinking on the game and that form of simplistic thinking can be applied on any game, but it never felt more apparent than here. The destruction in this game is great and all, but it felt like that was the only thing they did in this game and because of that they only want you focusing on that. I think because of this, the game feels basic and dated compared to other open world games. I also didn't find the guns as fun as the previous two games. Some weapons like the nano rifle were a blast to use no doubt, but I found the basic weaponry to be just that: basic. The one thing I liked about the previous two game's weapons were how they made all of the weapons fun to use, and I think this game lost some of that. There are fun weapons in here no doubt, but just not as much. Finally, can't change weapon aim between toggle and hold. In the end, I find myself conflicted on the negative aspects of the game. While I find this to be a better experience in terms of Red Faction games, I also find this game only okay in terms of open world games. Still, I think there is fun to be had in this game no matter what angle you take on it.
Because of how old games can be and how active or inactive their multiplayer is, I don't factor multiplayer into my ranking. It's there, and I got to play a match and it was fun, then I tried again later and the multiplayer is dead. In the end, I usually just mention it and move on. But this is the first time where other single player modes have come into play, and because it is single player it plays a bigger factor into my ranking. The single player mode in question is called Wrecking Crew, and I don't like it all that much. The mode involves throwing you into a multiplayer map and trying to destroy as much as you can. Every mode within Wrecking Crew are really just modifiers (unlimited ammo with only one minute, three minutes but every action reduces time, etc.). I found the experience to be dull. There is an activity similar to that in the game that involves trying to destroy the building within a time and inventory limit, and I found that to be a lot of fun because it almost felt like a puzzle to me. This just felt like more of that, but instead of that being a good thing I found the experience to be boring because the goals were different. With the campaign mode, you had to be strategic because you win by destroying the whole building, where as this game you were just trying to rack up points which meant I was just hitting whatever looked worth hitting. Also, the modes left very little to the imagination as for just reading the description paints an exact picture of what you are doing. Even with stuff like a horde-based mode you can still guess some of the smaller aspects like whether or not there are upgrades, money to be earned and spent, traps, and more. With this, you can know EXACTLY what you are about to get into and because of that the experience felt dull. I can't really complain a whole lot about its existence because it is a side mode and not part of the main game, but I still wish a different experience would inhabit that mode.
Finally, the game offers a bonus area diving into the backstory of one of the characters in the game named Samanya. The game throws you into a small new area with some new weapons and dives deeper into the Marauders; something I wish the main game did. Overall, I liked it. I enjoy that Marauder faction and the mini world I possessed. The weirdest part about the experience is that there are only three main missions and half of the map (which contains a plethora of buildings to destroy to lower control) remained in a walled off area until you made the EDF lose control over the entire area, but I don't have a lot of complaints outside of the ones said for the main game.
In conclusion, I find Red Faction Guerrilla to be a solid Red Faction. Its change to the open world is inviting, its deeper dive into the story elements is welcoming, and its destruction feels fantastic. The game does feel dated with its barren open world and single-minded focus on destruction, but I think the game shines as a Red Faction game. Unsurprisingly, this game will be ranked number one for now and my guess is it will stay there (considering there is only one game left).
What are your thoughts on the game? Tell me down below in the comments. I know I am (or at least I feel) like a minority in not liking the game as much as others, but that's okay (it's not the first time and it definitely won't be the last). Thank you all for reading, and tune in soon for the conclusion to this ranking with Red Faction: Armageddon.