reviews\ Oct 30, 2001 at 7:00 pm

Red Faction - PC - Review

Red Faction is yet another shooter with a tremendous amount of potential.  It features Geo-Mod technology, which translates into the ability to blow holes into whatever you want within the game engine.  This isn’t entirely accurate.  Yes you can take out walls, and buildings.  The effect is very cool, and lots of fun.  It doesn’t always work though.  There were plenty of times when I tried to blow a hole in the side of something, and I got little more than a black burn mark.  So lets just say when you can blow stuff apart it is very satisfying.  The graphics are crisp with sound quality to match.  I had the opportunity to blast my frickin’ ears out with this baby!  If you’re using EAX, and have some monster speakers RF won’t disappoint.

Parker went to Mars for adventure.  The Ultor Corporation’s recruiting posters were so damn enticing.  He decided to dig holes instead of attending Harvard.  I know that’d be my choice.  When he arrived on Mars, Ultor gave him an ill-fitting uniform, and told him to go dig.  Turns out Ultor is an evil company who enslave the miners to do their nasty work.  The miners live under horrendous conditions, and there is even a plague involved.  After some beatings a woman named EOS persuades the miners to unite, and over throw the Ultor Corporation.  This means you get to play the part of Parker as he tries to plug a hole in every single Ultor guard out there. 

After the initial revolt you’d think that eventually we’d meet up with EOS, and the miner alliance.  She just continues to send you on ridiculous missions instead.  Go blow up a guard station.  Find, and kidnap an Ultor executive.  Sabotage the main frame.  This worked in System Shock 2.  It created suspense.  Red Faction had its moments, but just lacked that certain something to push it over the edge.  By the end of RF I wanted to shoot EOS as much as the bad guys.  You do get messages transmitted to your head from an annoying guy named Hendrix.  I tried to shoot him too, but I just couldn’t blast through the damn wall.  Geo-Mod technology indeed.  That’s okay because even though the story isn’t riveting the gameplay offers up some delicious fun.

Standard shooter controls will make gamers feel right at home with Red Faction.  There are many weapons, including a flamethrower, sub-machine gun and of course the rocket launcher.  The latter is great for pulverizing walls, and small buildings.  The best by far is the sniper rifle, which comes complete with a scope.  Every now and then you’ll come across a gigantic heavy machine gun, which is necessary to mow down the badies in large quantities.

Enemy AI is a bit erratic.  When a guard is hit he runs around like a chicken with its head cut off.  I shot a secretary in the hand, and she just died.  Maybe she just passed out.  It often takes many bullets to bring some enemies down, but there is also the head shot rule.  One shot to the head, and they are dead.  That’s why I dug the sniper rifle.  Of course the rifle in Deus Ex was better, but I’m not complaining.  The level design was mediocre, but you get to drive some vehicles.  This option keeps things interesting enough to finish the game.  Overall I don’t think Red Faction is going to win any awards, but it does offer up some frantic fun.        

Install: Easy
Standard stuff.  No problems.

Gameplay: 8
Good, clean, fast paced violence.  Easy to learn, fun to play.

Graphics: 8.5 
Geo-Mod technology delivers a nice combination punch.  The environments are crisp.

Sound: 9
Play it loud, or just don’t play it.

Difficulty: 7.5
This game is not hard.  It may even be a tad too short.

Concept: 7
Actually I think the idea of a revolt is a good one.  The story never really goes anywhere though.  I never cared about any of the characters, and the plot never really took hold of me.  Now Star Wars, that’s a good concept.

Multiplayer: 8
Who the hell needs plot when you can frag someone’s ass!  There is an editor here folks.  So lets see all you future game designers take these guys to school.

Overall: 8
Red Faction gets a high score because it was addictive fun.  There is an editor included which means it has potential staying power.  It sounded great when I cranked the volume.  Did I mention I liked the sniper rifle?  Red Faction is not a classic, but the new Doom ain’t out yet buddy.  Red Faction will allow you to practice the frag fest fever for the time being.


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