Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered Review (Nintendo Switch)
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Developer: Volition Inc., Kaiko Games
Platforms: Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, Windows
When Red Faction released on the PS2 it was thought by many to be Sony’s answer to Halo. While it didn’t prove itself to be the system’s “Halo killer” it did introduce GeoMod technology that allowed the player to deform their environment in any way they dreamt of. After Red Faction 2’s lackluster reception and sales Red Faction Guerrilla released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in an attempt to reintroduce GeoMod and reinvigorate the franchise.
If you’re anything like me you likely will want to spend a lot of time just messing around with the games physics and causing as much destruction as possible. I was a little disappointed to find that unlike in the first two Red Faction games the GeoMod tech present does not allow you to deform your environment- only the buildings. There are a lot of fun and creative was to do so and even more available after a few hours of unlocking more weapons. When I don’t feel like doing a mission or farming for scrap I’ll find myself wandering around and trying to discover fun new ways to take down the metal and concrete structures, but it was never as amusing as being able to really alter your environment. I recall in a multiplayer match during the original Red Faction on PS2 I was able to fire rockets at a wall and create a tunnel that eventually lead me on top of the map where I found a new type of Nuclear weapon that wasn’t available anywhere else. This was one of the coolest discoveries to this date I’ve ever made in a game. This tends to feel a little unsatisfying.
RF:G controls surprisingly well for a 10 year old game. It’s standard twin stick controls with a little bit of Grand Theft Auto inspired driving thrown in. It works well in this open world environment. The Nintendo Switch’s Joy Cons are notorious for not being the best for shooters and this proves to be true here as well. They have a large dead zone making aiming quite difficult. Luckily the developers also included the ability to add gyro controls and I was able to tweak the sensitivity enough for both the joysticks and gyro to generate a happy medium. Twin sticks for major movement and gyro for fine adjustments to the aiming.
The open world is mostly barren with little encampments throughout, but you are not restricted from going anywhere you’d like. The vehicles add a lot to the fun of exploration here as there are quite a few of different types of vehicles to ride. Some are big and bulky allowing you to take a lot of damage and plow through buildings and other vehicles and some are more agile with guns mounted for quick escapes.
The gameplay loop was surprisingly satisfying. Drive to friendly mission marker, help resistance to gain support (more men to aid you in battle), then drive to destruction mission marker to destroy enemy camps to weaken their resolve, and finally take on major missions of gathering intel from camps or rescuing hostages or even taking out major resources. It’s simple, but very fun. Theres nothing quite like charging into an enemy base and plowing through the wall with your vehicle just to grab a prisoner and escape outrunning their vehicles.
The story of Guerrilla is really just there as a backdrop and to give you a reason for all the destruction and mayhem you’re about to unfold. It’s not bad, but its also just kind of there. You’ll get a pre rendered cutscene after the major story missions but other than that the story will be presented as radio transmissions. The voice acting is forgettable but delivered well; you may even recognize Troy Bakers voice as our protagonist, Alec Mason.
Where this remastered or, rather, Re-Mars-Tered edition shines in its faithful recreation of the original title, while managing to run without any major hiccups on the Nintendo Switch hardware. I played almost entirely in handheld mode and the game kept up beautifully, even during the most intense demolitions. You’re given two options for the graphics settings, a High Quality mode and a High Performance mode. After switching between the two I ended up sticking with High Quality as the only time where any noticeable frame dips was when I was inside of the building that was tumbling down and it was never enough to stop the action. There is a slight improvement in texture quality and clarity as well, and on the small screen I’ll take what I can get.
If you’re looking for something that you can pick up and play for a few minutes of destruction or looking for an open world objective based game you’ll find a lot of fun here, just don’t go in looking for a AAA story. At the Re-Mars-Tered Edition’s price of $29.99 I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. There is a lot of content in this package, all of the originals DLC is included as well as multiplayer.
Thank you to Kaiko Games for providing a copy for review
Fun gameplay loop
Runs well in handheld mode
Blowing everything up
Good vehicle variety
Lots of content
No environmental destruction
Controls take some customizing to get just right