Red Faction Guerrilla Demo Impressions - April 28th 2009

It’s been nearly seven years in the making, but Saints Row developers Volition are finally ready to unleash Red Faction: Guerrilla, the latest instalment in the popular action series, into the hands of gamers this June.

Volition is facing an uphill battle with this game, to say the least. A major sticking point for many gamers was that the Red Faction series had, in the past, failed to live up to its promise of completely destructible environments. A much hyped feature of the original games, the widely publicised Geo-Mod technology was an impressive concept. But hardware limitations meant it could never reach its full potential. Fast forward to the next generation of console gaming, and Geo-Mod 2.0 is the engine now driving the latest Red Faction game. And based on my hands on time with the demo, we shouldn’t be disappointed. Guerrilla is coming along very nicely indeed.

The destructibility of the game world is incredible. Although the terrain cannot be affected, everything else can be ripped apart to your heart’s content. Each object or structure within the environment can be broken or damaged, and even torn down completely if the right amount of force is applied. And it’s not just the “never gets old” remote charges that can dish out the damage. Vehicles (and the backpacks included in the full game) can still wreak havoc at every turn. There is a pleasing aftershock effect following a buildings collapse, as pieces of debris crumble and fall around you. Explosions are successive, and are much more dramatic as a result. The destruction is quite a sight to behold, and is definitely the big selling point here.

It is a brown game, but the destruction more than makes up for that.

Visually, Guerrilla isn’t quite so strong. The graphics aren’t bad, but with everything going on, sacrifices clearly had to be made in order to keep the game running smoothly. The character models lack detail up close, and the colour palette (at least in the restricted area offered in the demo) gets dull very quickly. Hopefully when the entire map is opened up, there will be some variation in the environments. Although judging from most of gameplay movies and our experience with the game so far, it’s probably going to be red and dusty from start to finish.

Despite this, Red Faction: Guerrilla still manages to get most of the basics right. The guns feel powerful and sound great. The third person movement is slick and well animated. Above everything else, the game is very easy to pick up and play, with only a short amount of time required to get used to the controls. The open world aspect is promising, and quite a departure for the series. Again, we won’t know how this plays out until the game is on store shelves.

The level of damage you can cause is simply unparallelled.

1 - 2 - Next