Review by PJ_Pope
"Not the revolution we were hoping for"
Oh, Red Faction, the game that was supposed to change the way we look and play first person shooters. With the hyped Geo-Mod technology that allowed you to destroy the environment in real time, what could go wrong? Well for starters, what you can and can't destroy is quite scripted. For one, almost all the mine walls are destructible (which is a good thing), but no matter how many times you shoot it, it will still only leave a dent in the wall. Occasionally you'll find designated holes in the wall (that was for you, kids) and acquire additional ammo but it doesn't really add much to the experience. All of the other destructible environments are highly scripted events were your explosives and weapondry suddenly become more powerful. With all this being said, I commend the team for their effort, but the simple fact is that the PS2 isn't powerful enough to live up to the hype they created, especially at that early stage of its game cycle, and is unlikely it can with other such offerings (Black) coming up short as well.
You are Parker, a miner employed by Ultor on the planet Mars. One day you witness a guard brutally attacking another miner and you are left with only on choice--kill or be killed. That was from the manual, and as you can see, this game's story borrows liberally from the movie Total Recall. After you've killed enough guards, you will eventually become noticed by Eos, leader of the Red Faction. Then you will be following her orders, mostly alone. This game is surprisingly long for a PS2 FPS and quite difficult on the harder difficulties. Most notably, later in the game you will face enemies with the rail gun driver, a gun with thermal sensors that allows you to see through walls, and while you also have this gun there are more of them and their shots sometimes come out of nowhere and you will often come out on the losing end and have to reload your game.
Speaking of loading, this game has quite a bit of it. The load points are fairly often and more than fairly long. The graphics are pretty bland and you won't see any lighting or high polygon textures that will excite you. The character models and animation seem quite clunky, particularly in multi-player. The sound quality is decent, but you'll notice things like the pistol is a bit muzzled even without the silencer, the games soundtrack which I'm pretty sure consists of the same track over and over, and the annoying death screams every time you kill someone (this makes multi-player excruciating on the ears). While the controls in this game are standard for a PS2 FPS, the aiming and hit detection are questionable. You will find many times you have your target on the enemy and the shot goes astray or does minimal damage. There is an option to "focus" your aim by pressing up on the d-pad while aiming, but this leaves you as a sitting duck, unable to move. You have 15 weapons to wield (including the riot shield), and while this game is set in the future, many of these weapons are quite familiar, and quite fun to use. You will also have access to some vehicles such as an ATV, a driller, a fighter, submarine, and an APC. These vehicle sections are for the most part well done and are a nice break from the on foot action.
While Red Faction has some things going for it, it does little to separate itself from the pack. Simply put it is an average to above-average FPS on a console that was sorely lacking any decent shooters at the time. What separates it the most is its long and difficult campaign, which offers some PC shooter value on a console.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/26/11
Game Release: Red Faction (US, 05/21/01)
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