Review by Lord Hugo

"An FPS That Takes the Story to the Limit"

Red Faction was released quite a bit ago, but is still considered one of the most ground breaking early games for the PS2, or any console for that matter. It featured destructible environments and an excellent story, one worthy of an RPG for that matter. It still has quite the rabid fan base that begs for a proper sequel. Without further ado, I shall delve into the review.

Graphics – 6/10

Nowadays, the graphics are very bland. I upped the score because when they came out, they were definitely an upgrade from the Playstation and Nintendo 64. But graphics were never a real selling point of the game. A lot of the clothing, curves, and such look painted on. But Red Faction does have quite the facial expression lineup. Bad guys faces seem to change when they are scared and the cut scenes show a lot of expressions via the face. One thing I can find fault in is the lighting. Lights would be destroyed, yet the light was still displayed. That definitely took away some of the realism. But nowadays, the graphics of Red Faction are mediocre at best. However, the rest of the game has aged well.

Gameplay – 9/10

The gameplay was fairly basic FPS fare. A fast pace and quick action was rampant throughout the game. But what set it apart from other games was the Geo Mod system. It allowed certain pieces of the environment to be destroyed, and sometimes utilized. That alone makes Red Faction an intriguing game. But it also has a plethora of weapons; almost all having two different uses (i.e. Pistol with regular shot, or attaching a silencer). This, with the fast pace, gives the game many options on how to take combat. Multiplayer is limited, but the action and single player storyline are the big draws. The game also has a good deal of vehicles. They aren't utilized exceptionally well, only having one or two instances of each, but it does make it more interesting. The game only has 2 downsides. One is lack of a decent multiplayer. A shame, as the geo mod technology could've really been used via online matches exceptionally well. The other is the excess loading screens. They only take 10 – 15 seconds, but having them go every 5 – 10 minutes can get a bit annoying and take away from the action.

Story – 10/10

The story is awesome. The best in an FPS I've ever seen, including the recent Half-Life 2. It revolves around you character, who went to Mars Mining Colony for a way to decide what to do with his life. Unfortunately, once Ultor (the company that runs the colony) got everyone up there, they made their lives hell. Constant beatings from guards, 8 to a bunk, and 12 hours in the mines drenched in sweat are some of the cases. The game drives you through a rebellion of the miners, and discovering what caused the plague…and why. Plenty of plot twists abound, and the story moves along at a good pace. As I stated earlier, the story is easily worthy of an RPG, and the game has a strong following (including this writer). The game itself takes about 10 – 12 hours to complete tops, but the game is so addictive and fun you will replay it in time.

Camera/Control – 10/10

The game has standard FPS controls, which work exceptionally well. The controls are very responsive, which is needed due to the games brisk pace during firefights. Never once did I find myself cursing the controls for me messing up, and that is definitely saying something. The weapons were also mapped well, requiring only a few button presses. While one might say it takes too much time, I think changing weapons on the fly takes away realism. The camera fits the game as well, for an FPS. Meaning wherever you're aiming, you're looking. My only complaint is that the vehicle controls are clunk. While it never affected me overly, trying to steer while moving forward (both are mapped to the analog stick) was extremely annoying, and the smallest of barriers sometimes would stop the vehicle.

Sound/Music/Voice Acting – 10/10

This category gets glowing scores as well. It has an excellent score of music, which seems to fit the game well. Music will change depending on the situation as well. Sound was also very well done, weapons making fairly accurate sounds. The sound and music fit so well, it's hard to find words to say that actually describe it. Voice acting, to my surprise, was well done as well. Lips moved fairly accurately, which stunned me. For its time, this was definitely awe inspiring. Not to mention hearing glass crunch under your feet was something I'd never seen before in a game to this extent. Kudos to the Red Faction team!

Replay Value – 5/10

As far as unlockables, multiple paths, or side missions…This game has nothing like that. So why so high a Replay Value some would ask? Mainly because the game is a great game worth playing through several times. It also has some multiplayer options, and the game can change somewhat from time to time. But if a stellar online FPS is your thing, stick to Unreal Tournament and Battlefield.

Conclusion – 9/10

I wanted to give this game a 10 out of 10, and for its time it was certainly perfect. But nowadays, it's hard to rate a game like Red Faction without considering online play and replay value. But I felt it deserved a 9 because the Story, Gameplay, Sound/Music/Voice Acting, and Control/Camera truly excelled above and beyond. I highly recommend this to any person who is a fan of an excellent single player experience. This game will totally outclass other FPS' in that.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/08/06

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