Review by gloBal enemy

Reviewed: 07/21/01 | Updated: 07/21/01

The first-first-person-shooter to live upto the Playstation2's expectations.

The Red Faction game is based on a story about the horrible conditions of Ultor Mines, a mining giant on the planet Mars. People on Earth, tricked into working for Ultor with promises of a great life. With Miner's conditions very poor, sharing bunks, working long shifts in horrid conditions, our story begins with Parker. An average miner who has noticed that many of his fellow miners have disappeared ever since an unknown plague hit the mines. With many problems arising, Eos, the leader of a revolt, starts a major revolt. The many miners all fight, with the assistance of Eos and Hendrix to guide Parker around, what could go wrong.

Also well known is the fact that Red Faction has its excfellent GEO MOD technology which allows for complete destruction of the environment. Whilst annoying at times because you aren't sure whether or not you are meant to be using the Geo Mod, it still is overall exciting. With the Geo Mod, you can explore a mine, and simply blow up areas where you wish to go through. Simply aim a rocket launcher or an explosive of some sort set towards a wall. Fire. Destroy. You now have a new hole in the wall which you can walk through. This Geo Mod has been hyped up to excessively high levels when really, it is nothing all that great if you ask me.

The Red Faction game has an excellent story and the first-person-shooter is top-notch. Unlike Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Revolution, we haven't been there, done that. Everything is totally new. The characters don't have that unrealistic look like they did in Timesplitters and the weapons are somewhat more realistic in terms of how they are used.

Red Faction is one of those games where a tutorial option is offered and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you use this as it will teach you the controls and how to go about using them. It is also extremely fun if you are stuck in the main missions to just sit back and roam around shooting whatever you like.

Starting off, we'll talk about the weaponry Parker (your character) is issued with. At the beginning, you get a pistol with a silencer to use. Each weapon has a primary and secondary function that they can use. The pistol's primary fire is non other than shoot with the secondary function been attaching and detaching the silencer. There are many new objects for Parker to pick up during his adventures both in Mars/Ultor and during multiplayer against friends or bots.

The controls for this game are quite good considering that the Playstation2 controller is not the best for FPS unless you are used to it. Using TRIANGLE to reload your weapon, CIRCLE and SQUARE to switch weapons, and R1 / R2 controlling primary/secondary fire, the controls are quite well done. The CIRCLE and SQUARE switch weapons is quite unique, where you keep scrolling until you find the weapon you wish to switch to (shown by a icon and the name) and then you have to press R1 to switch (just in case you decide against it you can press R2). Each weapon has its own loadup animation/charge up so it makes selection a lot easier using this. Using the standard layout where the left stick controls movement forward and back, strafe left and right, with the right stick controlling all the look and turn elements. Also used is L1 for JUMP and L2 for CROUCH. One of the more unusual aspects of the game is pressing LEFT on the D-Pad will cause you to holster your weapon. Stopping other characters such as scientists from been scared of you.

One of the other interesting things about this game is that there are MEDICAL ROOMs. Each room has a Medic who has sworn to heal anybody including the miners in the revolt. There seems to be a lot of speech in this game but after a while, some speech tends to get repetitive. There is also lots of voie acting which come through at the top and are critical to finishing the game.

The level design is quite interesting and sophisticated. Very futuristic and exactly what I'd imagine Mars would look like. Because of the realistic-like story, it is very easy to believe that this is a real thing. The enemy bots get smarter as you progress through the game with different levels of what weaponry they use and so on.

There is however one critic which comes to mind at the thought of the level design. Everything is one big level similar to the style used in HALF LIFE (by Sierra on PC, and soon to be PS2) where the whole place is a large map but as you travel through certain ''points'' or ''barriers'', the game loads another map. Fortunately, Red Faction developers put the loading points in places where there is not much action so you don't have to worry about the loading causing you to die the moment the game finishes loading.

The manual is also very detailed detailing every weapon and vehicle you can control. This leads to the point that YES, you can drive certain vehicles in the game. There is a submarine you can control (you find this out in the training level) but as for the rest, I'll keep it secret. Each vehicle does handle very differently, has very different controls and are all unique.

There is also a multiplayer option. In the multiplayer, you fight on specially created maps with each having a designated ''recommended'' amount of players/bots. If you don't have a buddy to play, you can also use bots. Upto 6 players/bots at one time. In other words, you can have two players, and 4 bots maximum, or one player and 5 bots maximum. The multiplayer maps of course use the Geo Mod technology somewhere. Unlike Perfect Dark or Timesplitters, there is very little control over what you can do about the bots. You cannot select their face/body, their level of difficulty (you can only select a difficulty for all) or what team they are on. Actually, there are no team games. Just DEATHMATCH. There is however a kill limit/time limit option and it is quite nice to hear the voice countdown the seconds remaining and to say WINNER.

Red Faction uses 99% of the PS2 graphics abilities if you ask me. These graphics are unparalleled anywhere. Every shot, every part of the map, everywhere, the graphics are excellent with map design playing a part of it.

There are special effects such as what I call the ''MATRIX STYLE ROCKET LAUNCHING'' where if you strafe across an area and shoot a rocket, it looks similar to The Matrix how you see the circles appear behind it in a semi-slow motion like scene.

The sound effects are truly excellent. With each different weapon, different sound effects arise and when you shoot different terrain, another level of audio arises. It is truly amazing how the Playstation2 can combine the audio effects of weapons, the speech, and all the background noises into one.

The music is also suitable for the game. Pushes the adrenaline further. It is creepy at times, and pushing the other. Both make you want to play more and this can be quite good or quite bad depending on your situation.

Other/Overall Presentation
The game's manual is worth noting, the menus are excellent and easy to use (with a nice design too) and everything is great in the options. The only annoyance is the load-times but I guess every game has it so there is no point in deducting points for it.

Lasting Appeal
Finishable in a fortnight or less if you are a hardcore gamer but if you set the difficulty to maximum (Impossible) in the game, then you will have a fun time beating this title.

The story is quite good so it may keep you coming back for more and I know the deathmatch option, whilst not as good as that found in older titles like Perfect Dark and Timesplitters, it still is just as addictive.

RENT/BUY : BUY - This title just rocks. Best FPS on PS2.

Gameplay : 10
There is nothing wrong and personally, I find that every aspect of the game is near-perfect. With a nice long story and the great Geo Mod, this gets a perfect 10.
Graphics : 9.5
The graphics are superb and there is no slowdown whatsoever even when it gets real busy. The only slowdown is in multiplayer when everyone launches rockets at each other. This could be improved so I'll leave it at 9.5.
Sound/Music : 9
The sound/music is excellent and it is better than the average title but I'm sure there could have been many ambient improvements to the levels such as dripping water.
Other/Overall Presentation : 10
Just perfect. The loadtimes don't really worry me. And I think I'll say here that you can SAVE ANYWHERE so this helps a lot of us who just hate those RPGs with save points.
Lasting Appeal : 9
The multiplayer could last a while and the story will take a bit of time out of everyone's daily life.

OVERALL (not an average) : 9.2 = 9 (GameFAQs)

Author's Comment
This game is really a game to own for the Playstation2. Whilst many will wait for Half Life's debut on the PS2, this game'll keep many FPS-fans happy and I know it kept me quite happy. Only problem is sometimes the story really annoys you and it twists in unexpected ways.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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