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Red Faction: Guerrilla review

AT A GLANCE
  • Makes the sandbox super convenient
  • Gleeful destruction is more than a gimmick
  • Smart AI buddies
  • World is a bit sparse
  • Could be prettier
  • Not much story

Guerrilla is all about potential, never encouraging you along a ‘correct’ path but giving you the tools and a mission and setting you loose in a way no other open-world game has had the brass balls or sheer programming smarts to allow up until this point. For technical reasons it’s a sparse world – applying the destruction model to an entire city would murder your system and reduce the framerate to Hanna-Barbera levels – yet it never feels empty. There’s always something to do, something to destroy, or some squishy skull to smash with a sledgehammer.

Yep, it’s as if they knew. They knew the best vehicle foisted into a shooter is Halo’s Warthog so they made every car bouncy in the same way, even naming their main jeep the ‘Groundhog’. They also knew how you hate hopping off the turret to drive the ‘Hog so they gave every vehicle-mounted gun an auto-targeting system. They knew how much fun a physics playground can be, but they also knew how limited physics toys are and found fun ways to exploit the physics – explosive weapons, gravity weapons, even ones aimed from space.

They knew it was fun to just tear through Mercenaries 2’s world on an unstoppable gin-soaked rampage and how many laughs were had with Saints Row 2’s bonkers shit-hosing tankers and sausage wagons, but they also knew that both games were complete technical shambles. They built their new Red Faction on an engine that almost never drops a frame, built a world that remains perfectly consistent, and populated it with characters who rarely lose their way.

They knew how much fun it is to bring down a building, but they also knew how hard it is to build challenges in a world with no lockable doors or windows. They created story missions that only briefly steal away your time with exposition before leaving you to smash things up, stop convoys, steal documents, rescue hostages, recover artifacts, and assassinate enemy commanders – whether you snipe them with precision or drop a sky-scraper on them and their entire army. And while obligatory bloke in a bio-suit Alec Mason’s story isn’t nearly as expansive as Nico Bellic’s and the world isn’t anything like as delicately detailed as Rockstar’s Liberty City, it’s clear that’s something the developers always knew. Red Faction: Guerrilla was never about telling the best story or showing the most beautiful scenery. It’s about having the biggest explosions, the most bombastic action set-pieces, and the most flexible combat.

Guerrilla is the surprise summer blockbuster this year, filled to the brim with gaming superlatives and free of any pretentiousness or doubt as to what it wants to be. Volition have quite possibly made the best straight sandbox action game of this generation. And who knows, perhaps they knew that too.

June 2, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jun 02 2009 - Xbox 360, PS3
Sep 15 2009 - PC (US)
Jun 05 2009 - Xbox 360, PS3
Sep 15 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Shooter
Published by: THQ
Developed by: Volition
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Strong Language, Violence

24 comments

  • alex-roy-bristol - June 22, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    Playing this game right now, it never gets old. I literally just want a new Red Faction game. That's all I need. More like Guerrilla, less like Armageddon, but still a bit of both. Don't even improve much, do a Crackdown 1 to Crackdown 2, I don't care, just make it happen please <3
  • swagger21 - November 2, 2009 5:25 p.m.

    oh mannnn, if you like destruCCCtion buy this game, im still playing it and blowing shit up never felt so good. If your looking at this review your already one step closer to making your little pLMS SWEAT LMAO!!!
  • GamerTagsSuck - July 30, 2009 5:48 a.m.

    I got this game for the same reason I got Prototype. Some douche at the store messed something up and called my house saying the game we reserved was in. 5 dollar discount here I come.
  • shockolate - June 22, 2009 9:27 p.m.

    Micheal Gapper seduced me with his words.
  • redsolobird - June 7, 2009 6:45 p.m.

    This game is NOT good it is a game in which you can seemlesly barge through huge structure in a 'tonka toy' it is ridiculous the missions are repetative shooting is flawed and online is remeniscent of hell. 'nuff said'
  • TripleAD - June 7, 2009 11:30 a.m.

    one of my favourites soo... much fun but my only dissapointment is that things stay destroyed so when you finish the story theres not much else to do but then again I haven't finished it yet soo... who knows Personally from your review it sounded like you'll give it a 10 'cuz you said only a few problems ReCAPTCHA: $5-million craft... blimey that must be one hell of a craft
  • Fancy Rat - June 3, 2009 10:50 p.m.

    I've been FUCKING PSYCHED about this game for so long and no one gave it the attention it deserved. Now I get to say I told you so.
  • anubisduo13 - June 3, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    Oh, and it's very true about the lack of story. But the destruction factor is oh so amazing. Honestly, the lack of story doesn't bother me so much, because I love how much strategy, or lack of, I can put into destroying structures.
  • erreip199 - June 3, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    u know something what might be fun? coming back sometime later to ur destruction playground and see the NPCs building it back, so u can destroy it later or simply destroy what has been rebuilded so far with the npcs with it
  • FingeredPope - June 3, 2009 9:15 p.m.

    Argh the wait is killing me. APO shipping just takes too long. I want it now, and not in anotherr week!
  • DRILLERDUD - June 3, 2009 8:24 p.m.

    i still have red faction 2. I didn't like the story that much but I still kept it for the multiplayer with the bots. I want this game badly
  • anubisduo13 - June 3, 2009 6:52 p.m.

    This game is amazing. It feels a little like Far Cry 2, at least in my opinion. It's so much fun destroying everything. Everything!
  • Moosebomber - June 3, 2009 3:51 p.m.

    i remember the first red faction, ahhh nostalgia.
  • madmatt49 - June 3, 2009 12:20 p.m.

    i played both demos of this and 1 thought crossed my mind this game is awesome getting it on friday
  • NipplesTheSuperHippo - June 3, 2009 4:29 a.m.

    I might look into it. thanks GR
  • Mittenz - June 3, 2009 3:39 a.m.

    If I only get get one game this summer, I will make sure its Red Faction Guerrilla
  • totalsniper - June 3, 2009 2:07 a.m.

    im getting this Saturday and wanted to see a good review...so i came here knowing ied get a strait forward review good job guys and gals :)
  • Samael - June 3, 2009 2:02 a.m.

    Aw man, I was hoping they would do a US super review for this. Oh well.
  • FluffyDestructo - August 25, 2009 8:17 p.m.

    It's a great game, i haven't beaten it yet though i've only rented it but i'm gettin it in a couple days.
  • louiec314 - June 16, 2009 6:10 a.m.

    lol @ the total recall reference

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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