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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
8.5
Visuals
8.0
Audio
8.0
Gameplay
9.5
Features
9.0
Replay
7.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
THQ
DEVELOPER:
Volition, Inc.
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
May 22, 2001
ESRB RATING:
Mature
IN THE SERIES
Red Faction: Armageddon

Red Faction: Armageddon

Red Faction: Armageddon

Red Faction: Battlegrounds

Red Faction: Battlegrounds

More in this Series
 Written by Kyle Williams  on June 12, 2001

Full Review: I'm sorry Red Faction?Ooo, I am for real!


In the last ten years, very few games have really done something unique with an existing genre. This is especially true for first-person-shooters. True, 1999 brought us Half-Life and the advanced A.I. that it included and 2000 saw the release of Deus Ex and the involving story line that made it into more of a story than had been seen before. For those two masterpieces though, how many pieces of recycled Quake and Doom crap were we fed? Sure, a lot of them may have been fun, but they were the same game: Shoot things. Well, 2001 has blessed us with another genre enhancing experience in Red Faction.

In Red Faction you play Parker, a disgruntled mine worker that is rebelling against the evil corporation that runs Mars (that's where the red comes from), Ultor. This includes lots of the typical fps run and shoot action to keep your adrenaline going, but it also throws in a twist in the form of the Geo-Mod engine that developer Volition has produced. The Geo-Mod (which, by the way, stands for geometry modification) engine allows players to literally blow just about everything up, including walls, bridges, and columns. This is a truly great feature. I spent 20 minutes in the training mode just blowing the crap out of underwater columns and watching the pieces fall.

Beyond the great new technology, Red Faction contains a pretty decent, if not entirely enthralling, story. Let's face it, few action games out there have what would be considered excellent stories that would stand on their own merits. For a true action game though, the goal is to develop a story that moves the action along, and Red Faction accomplishes this well. The story, combined with the level design, keep you right in the thick of things, so that you never have the chance to get bored. The movement controls are nice and tight, but precision aiming (like on all console fps') is a tad difficult on the fly. The game compensates for this through an auto-aim function that will draw a bead on your enemy for you if your aim is a little bit off. The drawback of this is that the auto-aim puts your crosshairs right in the middle of a guy's torso where he is most heavily armored. This can cause you to waste a significant amount of ammunition trying to get through a guard's armor where a headshot might finish him off. Luckily, this option can be toggled on and off to fit your individual taste.

It is no surprise that with the Geo-Mod engine being so susceptible to change that several different types of exploding weapons are included in this title. Rocket launchers, grenades, and remote charges are all present along with the typical assortment of shotguns, machine guns, and sniper rifles. The weapon that best takes advantage of the new engine is the rail gun that, under the right conditions, can shoot right through a wall. This works very well when combined with the alternative fire mode, which brings up a scope that shows you what is on the other side of the wall. Red Faction also gives you five vehicles that you can commandeer and use to destroy your surroundings. Transitioning between walking and piloting is also flawless, with no load time between the two and the controls staying consistent from one mode to the next.

Amidst this great game are a few flaws though. The load times between areas tend to be a little distracting, each lasting around 20 seconds. Also, explosions, while devastating to the scenery, don't seem to affect people correctly. I have become accustomed to a rocket explosion really launching a body across the screen. While that end is, I am sure, a little exaggerated, it is also fun. Red Factions guards are simply knocked over. True, they are probably dead, but it feels like there is something missing to the experience. There has to be some middle ground to explosive physics somewhere.

The most disappointing aspect to the game is in the multiplayer experience. For starters, you are limited to only two players. This is probably due a hardware limitation somewhere (like a lack of internet support), but a great multiplayer game will allow at least eight human combatants. The next drawback to the multiplayer game is in the fact that deathmatch is the only mode available. This is enjoyable for a while, but the real fun kicks in when you throw in capture the flag, king of the hill, and team games. In general, the multiplayer features need to be revamped entirely for any sequel.

This is one of those games that is definitely taking gaming in the right direction. I am looking forward to future games that take the Geo-Mod engine and expand upon the gaming experience that it offers. This technology has so much to offer if people continue to use it right.

Bottom Line
Red Faction is a great game that takes the time tested first person shooter formula and spices it up using the fantastic new Geo-Mod engine. There really is nothing quite like shooting the ground out from underneath your opponent. This is a solid game that easily overcomes its few flaws.


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