I literally yawned when someone here asked me about Red Faction: Guerilla. I yawned, which is an awful thing to do about something that took years off the developers lives to… er… develop, so when it arrived I looked at the M. Learned that it’s a “sandbox” game (do whatcha want, when ya want) where you can blow up buildings. Not knock them down like Far Cry and not blow holes through them (like Bad Company). Here you can do “demolitions!” I normally don’t like these kinds of games – unless they’re named “Grand Theft Something” mainly because they demand a time investment I’m usually not prepared to make. I like simple stories – these kinds of games are recreation to me. Well, I’m glad I stuck it out. Here’s why . . .
Red Faction concerns the doings on the strangely breathable surface of Mars. It feels like an alien world because it is one. All red desert, rock formations, and ramshackle buildings that house oppressed miners. The story is fairly SOCIALIST, in that it concerned LABOR fighting against the depredations of a company like group called EDF (Earth Defense Force). The EDF like destroying things with their SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY, but they’re no match, it seems, for you and your buddies in the Red Faction. These guys, and you, like to blow up things, eliminate buildings and set ambushes and raids. Sound familiar? They call themselves guerillas, but that’s just another name for TERRORIST or INSURGENT.
With a few changes, I’m saying, this could be an Iraq simulation. Heck, innocent people can even die in the crossfire. Is it offensive? Probably not, I haven’t read a review or commentary yet that notices it. And hey, this is also similar to many other wars where the weak fight the strong. It happened in the Revolutionary War (the US were insurgents), Viet Nam (the Viet Cong were insurgents) and that famous war from the ’80’s where the Wolverines used terror tactics against the evil USSR (a fiction that came true for the Ruskies when they invaded Afghanistan a few years later). Afghanistan and the USSR. Hmmm… wonder how that went . . . Another key difference is that there is no-civilian killing. Like Grand Theft Auto you can do it, but unlike GTA doing to lowers your all important standing (if you’re a hero, the miners will help you more) and eventually will end the game.
Enough social commentary. They game is good. Stuff blows up really good – you can bring bridges and roofs down on the enemy and in that rare bit of coolness, made up tactics work. In an early mission we knew the enemy was coming and where they’d have to get to. I blocked the underside of the bridge with trucks and laid a couple charges. When the baddies tried to ram the trucks out of the way I brought the bridge down on them. The explosion triggered the trucks to blow and the enemy was eliminated without a shot fired. I enjoy that sort of tactical reward and thank the game for it.
KID Factor: It’s M but there is very little blood. Just some spatter on rocks and every kill involves this graphical tag somewhere. The story is great – the bad guys are really bad – and it unfolds at your pace. There’s nothing sexual that I could find and I’ve heard a bunch of bad language (M-f-er is one, sh*t is another, ALL are completely uncesessary) but the violence is at Teen levels. Do I recommend it for under T-Teen, no. But I could see it being Teen provided parents are comfortable with the violence, blood and PROFANITY – and the lesson that one man’s insurgency is really another man’s guerilla action. In short, this is a terrific game that’ll spark a teen or adults interest, skill and imagination – it also does a fair job teaching about engineering (better explosive placement = fewer explosives) and physics. Not recommended for Teens, but definitely on the lighter side of M-Mature.
It’s available for PS3. Xbox 360 and will be on PC in late summer.