Hands-On Multiplayer Preview: Single-Player? Multiplayer? Wrecking Crew? Since when does communism include options?
Red Faction: Guerrilla Week:
Monday: Video Blowout | Tuesday: Volition Video Interview | Wednesday: Single-Player Hands-on Preview | Thursday: Multiplayer Hands-On Preview | Friday: History of Red Faction
We previewed the single-player campaign of Red Faction: Guerrilla extensively
, but that's only half of what this upcoming game has to offer. There's also a 16-player online mode and a hot potato Wrecking Crew offline mode that will have you passing the controller. Now, you may be thinking: Single-Player? Multiplayer? Wrecking Crew? Since when does communism include options? You'll be glad this game doesn't follow the ideology of its workers' rebellion storyline that closely because both modes can be described as addictive and Wrecking Crew is definitely an unexpected surprise. And, like their story-filled counterpart, these two multiplayer components are destruction-filled fights to the death thanks to the series' patented GeoMod 2.0 engine.
Red Faction: Guerrilla includes
Mars-shattering multiplayer destruction, but what makes its online gameplay innovative isn't the surrounding chaos, six different game types, or support of up to 16 players. It's the special backpacks that contain game-changing powers. They're on racks, much like you'd find at a drugstore selling sunglasses, but you don't want to take all day finding the perfect backpack. It's all about equipping any of the ten backpacks as quickly as possible and using their advantages in conjunction with your shooting skills.
In battle, it's always wise to take the higher ground, so the Jetpack enables you to go airborne and pick off enemies from above. From vertical propulsion to horizontal momentum, the Fleetfoot backpack has the ability to temporarily increase your speed and approach distant enemies with the touch of a button. When you're not the one using Fleetfoot, the best way to stop a rapidly approaching Fleetfooter is to use the Concussion backpack, which sends shockwaves around your character. It's hard for enemies to rush you if they're lying on their backs on the ground.
The aptly named Rhino backpack brings the power of a sledgehammer to your whole body, allowing you to charge and destroy anything in your path like the wild animal gone mad on safari. Meanwhile, the Stealth backpack plays it cool by cloaking your character and allowing you to move around the map in a much less noticeable fashion. Thrust puts enemies above and below you on notice, as you can quickly ascend and descend with great force. For more strategic advantages, Firepower increases your attack damage, Vision enables X-Ray vision and Heal regenerates your health with rainbow curing powers.
Finally, Tremor, the most destructive of the backpack bunch, takes the effects of the Concussion backpack and multiplies its power to include leveling the environment around you. This makes it the most pleasing backpack to use and watch being used because levels can be instantly transformed during tight battles. Better yet, lying and waiting for enemies at strategic locations like the end of bridges brings about even more fun. As soon as an enemy sees you idling and your back turned from the other side of a bridge, they quickly run in your direction with guns-a-blazing. When they're half way across the bridge, too far to hit you with a bullet, but too far to run back, switching on the Tremor backpack collapses the bridge, catches the falling enemy by complete surprise, and allows you to grin and do an evil cackle.
Online Multiplayer Game Types
While backpacks certainly give you an edge, you have to know the objective of each game type in order to properly use their powers. Online multiplayer starts off with the usual and self-explanatory Anarchy, Team Anarchy, and CTF. The teammate gameplay gets a little more complicated with Damage Control, which involves two teams going after three targets and, for the first time, using the Reconstructor gun. Basically, this gun is the opposite of every other weapon, as it reconstructs the crumbled environment in an effort to rebuild targets and score more points. Siege switches things up by having the two teams take turns attacking and defending targets while, again, using the Reconstructor gun.
Demolition is the last mode available and is all about protecting a teammate dubbed The Destroyer, who scores points for the team by turning the environment into rubble. Whenever The Destroy on a team dies, someone else is anointed as the new annihilator. Compared to the first two game types , which incorporate the Reconstructor gun, Demolition is all about The Destroyer tearing everything down and everyone else tearing apart enemies who get in the way.
Wrecking Crew Mode
Volition mentioned in our Red Faction: Guerrilla video interview
that the Wrecking Crew mode was an afterthought that the office was just messing around with at first. After doing a little messing around with it ourselves, we quickly realized why this ?Jenga meets Bloom Blox? mode became such an addictive mode at their Champaign, Illinois headquarters.
Wrecking Crew is offline and requires only one controller, which we're grateful for because few games include split-screen multiplayer anymore and there's little reason to invest in more than one controller. Each player takes a turn destroying as much of the environment as possible within a certain time limit and then passes the controller down the line to see if someone can best his or her score. There are even four game types included: Barrel Dash, Total Chaos, Rampage and Escalation.
Rampage and Escalation are most fun for people looking for game types that involve strategy. Rampage puts three minutes on the clock, but every shot and every backpack use costs more time. Escalation introduces limited ammo in addition to limited time, but increases the amounts of both with each succeeding round. Conversely, gamers looking to let loose will appreciate the minute long Total Chaos competition, which features unlimited ammo, or the one-minute hunt for red barrels in Barrel Dash.