21 people found this review helpful
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 9.1 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 22, 2016 @ 1:21am
Updated: Oct 22, 2016 @ 1:22am

Disclaimer: I feel the need to mention that I worked at Volition 5 years after Red Faction came out. I worked on Red Faction Guerrilla and Armageddon both. I no longer work at Volition and my employment there has only minimal effect on the review (I learned how hard it was to deliver Red Faction to the fans.) However I feel that I'm able to write this review with out a bias.

Red Faction is a very unique game. Playing it 15 years after it came out, and the strongest feeling from playing the game is how gimmicky the famous Geomod destruction is. At the same time, there's quite a bit to like about Red Faction, and even for a "gimmick" Geomod is really unparalleled as an accomplishment. Even later games in the series never reach the same heights as the original.

To get it out of the way, THE reason to play this game is the Geomod destruction models. And honestly, it's one of the coolest features. The player has the ability to use explosives to blow holes walls and buildings, and is able to use those holes to enter the building. There are stalactites all over the game that can be knocked down with a simple explosion. The world actually has physics on all these objects. From a technical standpoint this really is a unique feat, especially for a game that came out around the time of the PS2, but from gameplay side. Well there's the problem.

Red Faction Guerilla (the third game in the series) shows how cool destruction can look and feel during gameplay. The issue is in Red Faction, the player never feels like he has a wealth of these weapons. In addition explosions do huge damage the the player, so he tends not to use explosives. in addition there's not many explosive barrels in this game as others, and when a computer explodes it appears to not to damage to the ground or building.

Add to this the fact that a decent number of walls/ground and areas seem to be impervious, it makes it less likely the player is going to use geomod effectively That's a real problem in my book, because it's a major feature. A major feature that the player doesn't use.

As for the rest of the game. Well if you excuse the old style of gameplay, you'll actually find a pretty good game. I was wrapped up in the story. In fact there was a good amount of the game where I just wanted to see what happens next.

The story involves a miners' revolt on Mars, and a resistance. The resistance though is a bit laughable because every time you meet someone from the resistance it seems they live just long enough for you to find them and then they die. Luckily you are the great hero in the game. Not one of prophecy but the one who actually can fight and not die (mostly).

The story is worth playing through, so I won't go over it, but honestly, there's not a ton of twists, just solid story telling. I enjoyed the story more than I expected, and that's kind of impressive for such an old game. There's almost constant discussion and interactions with people. Again that's quite unique for the time.

The one thing with the gameplay is the AI in this game is a little weak. Granted most shooters at the time were weak, the AI in this game tends to zigzag all over the place. Half life came out the year before and had slightly better AI (or at least different). The thing is the enemies in this game are a bit hard to kill, so that's works. It's just a bit silly looking at time. Otherwise the gameplay is solid for it's time.

The other thing to mention is that the game does take the player through enough areas with a lot of variety that they don't get tired of it. The rock formations are dull brown, but this was before everything had to be brown. There's office buildings, facilities for the planet.

One thing that annoyed me is after about 70 percent of the game, the sound started cutting out. now I had done a marathon gaming session, about 7 hours, maybe something ran out of memory and stopped talking, but it seemed pretty reproducible, so I missed some of the final area's dialog, and that annoyed me.

The other thing is I had to use a cheat code.... on easy mode... for a boss. Because that boss was... I'd call it broken. I'm kind of shocked how hard he was so I cheated just so I can see the rest of the game and story. It was really annoying, but that was the only place where the game had a huge difficulty spike. As long as the player autosaves reasonably often they'll make it through the game with out a lot of problems. But watch out for Capek's boss fight.

Overall though Red Faction is a great game for 2001. And playing it now, it's interesting. I won't call it the best game ever, however it's an interesting technical feat, and the game and story is quite good. The graphics have aged, very poorly, but overall the game is entertaining. If you want to see something that's old but still works great, Red Faction is a good pick up. Just don't expect anything like the later sequels, which took the destruction in a different direction.
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Atisz Sep 7, 2022 @ 1:43am 
In my opinion, this - the original Red Faction - was better than Half-Life, even with the half-baked demolition system.
Goober May 16, 2020 @ 9:17pm 
Hey there, just wanted to drop this link - it's a comprehensive Red Faction help site with FAQ, community links, a quick start guide, and resolutions to common issues (such as the issues you described with sound & broken boss fights). :)

DownSideUp Nov 15, 2016 @ 12:42pm 
That's really cool. Guerilla was- I mean is, my second favorite game in the series, just because of the Parker Easter Egg.