And they came very close in the gameplay as well. While the fact that you have to use a Dual Shock controller definitely takes away from what would be perfect as a mouse-and-keyboard combo, and the game has a few bits that are 'silly', Red Faction
is perhaps the most entertaining romp I've had on my PS2 yet. [Well, not counting Swing Away Golf
, but we won't talk about that
little addiction.] With style to spare and action aplenty, Red Faction
throws you to the wolves and never really relents.
The game tells the story of a group of rebelling miners on Mars, people who are tired of The Man bringing them down and decide to mete a little justice on their own. You start off coming back from work on a normal day when one of your friends gets accosted by a guard. The worst happens, and before you know it you're busting up baddies with a pistol. While the story progression isn't as smooth as I would have liked, it's definitely entertaining, and makes playing Red Faction that much more enjoyable.
The basic gameplay is much like you'd expect. You can run around and fire your weapons, taking out good guys and bad guys alike, although it's wise to stick with the latter. The game allows you to do some fine-tuned targeting, and while it's still annoying on the Dual Shock, it's not unsurmountable. The environments range all over, from expansive caverns to tight inside corridors, and you have to adapt your play style depending on the location.
One of the things that Red Faction does that hasn't been seen before is very, very cool--the Geo-Mod technology. This is basically a cute name for 'blow crap up'. We're not talking Duke Nukem 3D blow-stuff-up levels; we're talking taking chunks out of walls, blowing escape tunnels in the floor, taking out land bridges, and other sorts of destructive mayhem. While it may first seem like a gimmick, it soon shows its usefulness; you'll find yourself blowing up new passageways around doors you can't find the key for, making shortcuts between tunnels, and in general making a nuisance of yourself to the poor chaps who have to keep the place repaired.
The game itself is long, and along with the single-player experience, there's a solid two-player deathmatch feature. You can have computer-controlled bots to make the battles more interesting. The AI in the game is truly something to behold; your foes group, hide, and in general do the sorts of things that real people would do in the situations they're in. Nothing amused me more the first time a guard ran out of ammo and started running away, screaming 'Don't shoot! I'm unarmed!'. Shame I had to cap him in the back. Of course, they're just using it as a tactic to reload, so he deserved it.