Review by Shinnokxz

"Enter the Red!!! .... Hmm... I'll go play the Virtual Boy instead."

With computer technology moving forward in leaps and bounds, First Person Shooters (FPS) are becoming more and more popular with just about every gamer. But, with 14 Half-Life expansions available these days, the genre is starting to turn stellar with all this third rate crap. That's when the lovable THQ comes in. Yes, the company that specializes in wrestling games comes forth with a new innovative FPS. Dubbed Red Faction, this game was promised to not only push the current technology to it's limits, but it would feature some breathtaking attention to details and new innovative ideas.

The story while original, is not at all stellar. Putting you in the role of Parker, a member of the Miners Co. working in an underground mining facility on the planet Mars called Utlor, RF pits you in the middle of a riot against the evil organization. From the first few minutes of the adventure, it's clear that Ultor do not treat the slaves/miners picture perfectly. Killing all those nasty slave drivers of Ultor may seem enjoying at first; but looks may be deceiving.

Parker, apparently the only strong enough fool that could pull this off, is given the righteous honor of being the man that gets help from the two people who have been planning a riot against Ultor for some time-- Eos and Hendrix. Over time, these two chuckleheads call you up on your little walkietalkie and tell you what to do next. Good in theory, these fools don't really help much at all. Pointing out the complete and utterly obvious: ''Listen, Parker, I need you to go up that ladder and get to the top floor!'' ''Parker, go through the door and find the key. Then go back and unlock the locked door!'' These two really don't help you much when a really sticky situation arises. Not to say the least, this game will give you hard time with some of its multitasking puzzles.

In your riot against Ultor, you get to choose from an assortment of somewhat satisfying weaponry that you get from the exposed of slave drivers. Although you'll be suited with a silenced pistol practically half the game, you will stumble upon more powerful firearms. Though all enemies usually go down in a few shots of lead to the chest from any gun, the more powerful ones do serve a purpose. The first so-called ''innovation'' would be, of course, Geo-MOD. This interesting little game play tweak sounds impressive on paper, but it hardly does the game justice. Yes; it would prove useful when facing a handful of baddies underneath a huge platform that could easily collapse on all of them in a matter of a few shots with the trusty 'ol Rocket L., but situations such like these rarely even pop-up. With any explosive weapons (C4, Mine thrower, Rocket Launcher) you will actually leave a good sized impressive looking hole in the wall. You can keep on doing it to your hearts content-- seeing how far you could go down -- but it hardly serves a purpose game play wise.

Another feature the game sports is its wide vehicle support. There are tanks, cars, trucks. Hell, even small hover-planes; but they all leave something to be desired. Most of the vehicles sport fantastic looks and feel; but everything is a disappointment when all you needed that big driller-tank for was to drive through an electric fence not more than 20 feet away. By far the coolest vehicles in the game, the planes handled nicely and were fun to shoot. Your joyride was abruptly ended and landed after only 3 or 4 minutes of actual constructive piloting.

The game sports an impressive interaction system. But that's as far as I'm going to go. Conversing in between characters is impressive at first, but the second rate voice acting really takes a toll. Most of the miners you'll be talking with will die in about 2 seconds after starting conversation with them any ways, because they're usually shot down abruptly by a guy you thought you killed a long time ago.

Speaking of which, the blue suit wearing slave drivers workers for Ultor that are going to try to be killing you throughout the whole game are lifeless and unexciting. Faceless drones, all that which looks the same as the last guy you just fried, are as dumb as they are plentiful. AI is painfully slow, and even turning up a difficulty notch won't stop these guys from stopping, shooting, missing, and running away.

Yep, these pretty boy adversaries not only run when attacked-- but talk garbage too. ''Miner Scum.'' ''You're dead, Miner!'' are some of the small tidbits that they might be saying to you throughout the whole game-- every 30 seconds. The nerve.

Probably the thing that pisses me off the most is the AI. Say you'll be in a barrage of bullets with a pesky worker. You get closer to him to improve your accuracy; ''Don't shoot! I'm unarmed!'' he yells while running for his life, with a clear-as-sky shotgun in his right hand. Only to turn around and shoot you a few seconds later. Rinse and repeat. It's a strategy; I'll give them that. But after they do it so many times, it is painfully hilarious.

Sure, a few mini-bosses here and there will be thrown at you; they usually pose no threat. Massive, slow, clunky robots that attempt to shoot already painless projectiles at you are very far and few in between, they ''go'' with a few C4 blasts.

I'll give THQ some credit for the graphics. They really did do good on fine small details. Explosions are colorful, crisp, dynamic and light up your monitor with beautiful flare. When shot, glass is fluid and full of animation to the last falling shard. But that's about all. The necessary graphics, on the other hand, are bland, dull, and boring. You'll be seeing red texture way too much in this game, and the small concrete rooms and halls you pass through are no more satisfying. Another dagger in the heart is the music, or lack thereof. During intense moments, the game will pick you up with some nice atmospheric mood-setting pseudo techno tracks, but for most of the game --you'll be hearing silence. It only adds to the boredom, folks.

Red Faction tried so hard to add some new twists to the FPS genre, and I give THQ (a newbie when it comes to computer-gaming any ways) a kudos for putting up a good effort. But put into contrast with other such story-driven FPS like Half-Life and Medal of Honor, Red Faction's new innovative ideas just didn't cut it. Lets hope that THQ cleans up their act and get's their priorities straight for Red Faction 2 on the PS2 and PC. -Shin (6/29/02)


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 04/26/03, Updated 05/19/03


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