Review by BlueSoul

Reviewed: 05/25/01 | Updated: 05/25/01

Damn good game... falls a tad short though.

There once was a company called Volition who decided to make a fps game that would blow people away... This fps was dubbed ''Red Faction.'' Did they succeed in their mission to create a revolutionary new addition to fps gaming? In one word: almost. Easily the best fps I've played since Half-Life, Red Faction takes a few different gaming elements and crams then into one steaming, crimson package. Let's get to the details, shall we?

Gameplay: Nothing like picking up an assault rifle and mowing down armed guards... This is the meat and potatoes of the game. You have a gun. So do they. They also want you dead. What do you do? Easy enough, take down the opposition. With the variety of weapons and enemies, this doesn't get too old. The smart AI can mess with you at times while you're running for cover dodging bullets. Of course if the enemy has a rocket launcher, and the particular section of terrain you're hiding behind isn't some magical reinforced rock, you're not gonna have much cover for too much longer. THAT is what makes RF so new and interesting. The ''Geo-Mod'' (Geometry Modification) Technology, allows you to blow the hell out of most any part of the terrain, or so we thought. It turns out that maybe 50% of the terrain is blastable. Sorry folks, you can't dig a foxhole with your rockets and then camp there waiting for oncoming guards. After all the hype, it seems like a small disappointment. Now, don't be reading this and automatically assume the geo-mod isn't all it's cracked up to me, it is. At least on the blastable portions. It's just so much fun to dig tunnels and blow new passages when you're able to. It really is an enjoyable experience. Now, down to controls: Either you'll love them or you'll hate them. Fans and detractors of TimeSplitters will have things to say. The controls are exactly alike, with the exception of a jump button. AND the buttons are completely customizable. Having completed the game on EASY mode, I can say that the difficulty is fair. Standard guards aren't too smart, and their aim sucks. When you meet the mercs, their aim is better, coupled with the fact that they have better weaponry. Just keep your wits and reflexes about you. You'll do fine. There is also a bit of gameplay variety. Most sections will have you running around blasting said guards, but another section will have you with nothing but a silenced pistol while you duck around corners in disguise avoiding direct eye contact with guards in a well-sized admin facility. And yet another will have you piloting one of five nifty vehicles, either running over enemies or blasting them with mounted weaponry. So there is much to do besides running through corridors and mines figuring out where to go. The framerate is steady with slowdowns ONLY when you attempt to dig a tunnel with a rocket launcher or you're launching them around a room at random. Loading times are pretty good. No worse than when you're playing half life. Level sections seem a bit small though, between loads. Lack of an auto-save system will leave a few frustrated until you finally get it into your head that you should save your game regularly to avoid such headaches.

Story: A halfway unique story with a few things thrown in. Much feels like it is taken from the movie Total Recall, due to the Martian environment, mines, and the revolution. The character you play is an interesting sort... destined for high education because of overbearing parents who expect the best. So your man (Parker) gets fed up and leaves for Mars, totally unexpected. Well, things aren't exactly peachy on Mars either. A plague, harsh conditions and even harsher guards. So a resistance is forming in the background. And finally, one day, the @#$% hits the fan and its on full scale, with Parker caught right in the middle and expected to do everything.

Audio: One word: Perfect. Every gun has a unique sound effect, footfalls are different on every surface you traverse, and everything just seems well-placed. From the guards taunting you from around corners, to the ''innocent'' Ultor civvies pleading for their lives as they run, to the intercom heard in every area warning of an intruder (you) or announcing to miners to put their weapons down and move to a security station. Every sound has its place, and every place is right where it should be.

Graphics:One More Word:Awesome. It's very clear that a large amount of time was taken to detail the game. The smoke and steam effects are second only to Incoming on PC. Character animation and detail was given alot of time as well. You can look at a guard and immediately tell what kind of gun he is holding. When he fires, you are actually able to see the spent casings fly from the chamber. And after that, you even see the reload animation. MUCH detail indeed. Lighting was well done, with different colored lights casting strange hues on your weapons and companions. Though muzzle flashes have no effect on characters or the surroundings.

Replayability: Alright. Here it goes. The game really isnt all that long, despite what developers claim. around 10 persistent hours can lead to the final cutscene. That is, of course, if you don't explore every last nook and cranny, or maybe not. I did a fair amount of exploring myself (and got lost a few times, both exploring and looking for the exit) and came up with a rather short time. I plan on cranking the difficulty up to medium and playing again, though, so I can see how well I do. The game does incorporate a multiplayer option. You can go head to head with up to 6 bots on one of nine arenas, or head to head with a friend and up to 4 bots on said arenas. In the multiplay maps (with the exception of Hangar 18 and that underwater one, i still have more to test) Geo Mod is in full effect... at least most of the time. In the map Cat and Mouse (big canyon thing with two sniper bases), you can blow up most of the sniper base sections, but you can't damage the rocks or the ground in the deathzone. But in the lobby or warlords, just about everything but the ground beneath your feet is blastable. There is no slowdown when playing in multiplay (unless: read rocket thing above) even with all the bots on screen and signifigant damage already done to the arena. So you DO have a fair amount of replayability, whether in multiplay, or searching for hidden stuff and testing your skills in single play.

Rent or Buy: It is quite worth the $50 you have to shell out to buy it, but I would recommend renting if you are a first time console fps player, or at least to the PS2. Even then, try renting it and see if you enjoy it enough to keep it and play with a friend and test yourself in single.

Final Verdict: 8 1/2 out of 10. It's an overall great game with the interesting addition of the geo-mod system. I give it the 8 1/2 for the fact that the geomod did't quite live up to the hype, and was somewhat of a let-down in terms of total destruction. The game itself was a tad short, and took me a little less than 10 hours to beat. That is, of course, on EASY mode, and i didn't spend a ton of time searching around for secrets. Everything else, is pretty damn good. Graphics are awesome, sound is just amazing, and the variety of weapons and vehicles makes it fun to save and replay that section again. All in all: Great game, and I would recommend it to fps fans everywhere.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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