In recent years we’ve seen a wide variety of remastered titles. Some, such as Bulletstorm, came back to try and find a market, where as others are about making sure everyone has a chance to experience it. And then there are things like Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered. The original was a solid follow-up to the original games and certainly better than the sequel, though Mr. Toots was amusing in his own way, but it’s hard to say if it’s really worthy of a remaster. Despite that, it’s back at a good price and touting improved visuals and other fixes. It is enough to join the fight and take back Mars or is the best thing about it the title?
Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered tells a rather interesting story about oppression and immediately gives players a reason to fight. After Alec meets up with his brother on Mars, he learns things have gotten out of control and Red Faction is trying to liberate the planet. On your first mission your brother is killed and they wrongfully assume you’re Red Faction, ultimately forcing you to join the fight. From there the story follows liberating areas, weakening the enemy and going around the world looking for trouble.
One thing that always stood out about Red Faction: Guerrilla was the world destruction mechanics. The goal was never to just kill enemies and/or start a war, but take out your mighty hammer and bring their world tumbling down. Realistically speaking, more often than not you’ll use explosives over your sledgehammer to destroy their buildings, both of which offer a lot of fun and tactical opportunities.
Much like the real world, enemies will use buildings and other places to their advantage. Maybe they’re on a ledge, perhaps they’re shooting you from cover, leading to the simple question of how to handle it. For most games it’s wait and shoot or perhaps flank, but Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered allows you to destroy the structure, killing or at leaving them open to attack. There is just something satisfying about blowing up a bridge and having someone fly with a bunch of rubble or smashing both their defense and skull with a single swing of your hammer.
Beyond the killing and bludgeoning, the adventure is less about seeing how many enemies will fall to your hammer, a statistic that likely adds a new level of depth to the opening scene, but rather, removing the occupying forces. With enough upgrades, which require scraps from destroyed objects, and planning, you can actually destroy a lot of their base without actually confronting anyone. In a lot of ways, the ideal isn’t hammering your way across the red planet, but coming in, throwing a few well placed explosives, blowing it up, swiping your loot and taking off before they’re the wiser.
Part of what makes this concept work is the fact Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is an open world adventure. While there are optional quests that involve shooting and action, as well as story missions, there is a lot you can do by just exploring. In fact, story progress is often linked to how much exploration you do. It isn’t enough to murder that one guy or obliterate some building, often times it’s finding critical enemy buildings and giving it your personal touch.
This has always lead to Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered being a more unique experience. Instead of following a set story, it feels like you can make your own adventure. Maybe this building is blown up, perhaps you stealth through that location or maybe you just want some quality time with your hammer. Often times it isn’t the story that decides how you create headaches, well, outside of having to create a certain level of mayhem, adding another layer of freedom.
Even though Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered does a lot right, it doesn’t stop it from feeling rather dated. Cut-scenes, character designs, how buildings break and more look and feel like an older game. Considering this is, in fact, an older game, that is perfectly alright, it just hasn’t aged as well as some other games. This won’t stop players from enjoying it, nor will the occasional hiccup, something that should be expected when you’re blowing up buildings while being shot at by enemies, but certainly something to be aware of.
While I wouldn’t consider Red Faction: Guerrilla a classic like Killzone 2 or Halo 2, it’s still a lot of fun to play. Sure, it hasn’t aged as well as other games but it’s still a fun experience, if only for the fact it allows you to think outside of the box. Maybe you smash this skull or blow up that wall, giving players a fair amount to consider while trying to free the people of Mars. Combine it with a story that instantly hooks you, though it fails to maintain the momentum, decent gunplay and plenty to see and do, it makes a solid choice for fans and newcomers alike.
[Editor’s Note: Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]