Red Faction: Guerrilla Impressions
Volition has released a demo for its upcoming open-world shooter, Red Faction: Guerrilla. We bring you our impressions of this demo, which is worth a download for any shooter fan who's grown tired of Mercenaries 2 and would like some science fiction mixed in with their destructible, wide-open environments.
In Red Faction: Guerrilla, you are Alec Mason, a colonist who's come to Mars to do some mining. When you arrive, however, you find that the planet has been overrun by a shady organization of capitalist oppressors known as the EDF. These jack-booted stormtroopers think nothing of blowing up human settlements and busting unions that stand between them and the sweet, sweet mineral resources of Mars. Sledgehammer in hand, you raise a band of oppressed workers and set off to start a revolution to bring down the parasitic EDF capitalist class. No wonder they call it Red Faction.
"He simply wanted to go down the mine again, to suffer and to struggle" -- Emile Zola
The demo takes place during one of the earlier missions, and you begin with three weapons: your trusty sledgehammer (useful for one-hit kills at close range), a standard assault rifle with a frustratingly pathetic sense of power, and some remote mines that can stick to environmental objects.
Our favorite weapon during the demo was actually the sledge, which can send enemies flying in gloriously satisfying ways if you can sneak up on them.
Sneaking up on enemies is not much of a challenge, at least in this early part of the game. Much like their counterparts from Mercenaries 2, EDF stormtroopers just kind of stand around waiting to be killed. They also aren't much good with their own assault rifles, whose bullets just sort of bounce off the main character anyway. To balance things even further in favor of the player, the game gives you regenerating health, which can be quickly recharged by seeking cover. Hopefully the demo version of the game has been nerfed and the final release makes things a bit more challenging.
Not that seeing enemies fly around like ragdolls in all directions got boring during the 15-minute long demo. By far the most satisfying portion of the level came at the end, when we were given a laser cannon and told to take out anything that moved from the back of a rolling truck. This section, while scripted, provided lots of opportunities to show off the game's ridiculously cool physics engine. Enemy vehicles, when hit, would flip and roll over, sending the stormtroopers within flying off on their own painful trajectories.
Another thing that we appreciated from the Red Faction: Guerrilla demo was the destructibility of the environment. Rather than simply paying lip service to this new trend in gaming, the developers at Volition have gone all-out. We quickly discovered that just about every object in the game, from solar panels, to walls, to walkways, were completely destructible with the right amount of firepower. Luckily, there are tons of exploding barrels strewn all over the place for those moments when you need to get through a wall in a pinch. When we got our hands on a giant, mechanical walker, it was simply a matter of going from point A to point B, and crushing everything standing in between.
So far, Red Faction: Guerrilla looks to be all about instant gratification. The developers know that some gamers just want to blow things up, and they have done everything possible to appeal to the ADD crowd. On the other hand, many of the issues that continue to plague open-world gaming are here as well: AI is pretty rough, the graphics could use more polish, and without scripted events, the game would lack focus. There might not be a lot of strategic depth to what we have seen so far, but we still found it enjoyable in a visceral way. Really, think of it as Mercenaries 2 on Mars. With more communists.
There isn't much that can stand in the way of the walker.
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