Jumping into Red Faction II
feels like picking up where the last game left off. The history of the mines and the revolt on Mars led to a smuggled bit of technology on Earth that allowed for the creation of 'super soldiers.' You step into the shoes of the man who eventually gave the nano-technology to Chancellor Sopot, leader of the new Republic of the Commonwealth. And as The Who said, 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.' Sopot decided he didn't trust his hyper-soldiers and ordered them all eliminated. You and 5 others escape the carnage and now are coming for Sopot, working with a rebel group known as Red Faction
to assassinate the Chancellor. Instead of being an indentured miner who reluctantly takes up arms and becomes a hero, Red Faction II
goes a little deeper to put you in the shoes of a fallen hero, fighting for his life against strong odds.
As with the first game, story is everything. Each little segment of the game plays out as scripted and you're far from a casual participant. Alias, the character you portray, has to cooperate with his team members, covering them during gun fights and supporting them when needed. Neatly done, the squad members are far from dumb AI bots. Each will realistically support you and provide cover or get you through tricky areas. Each member has a unique talent and will be instrumental in accomplishing mission objectives. It's not so much that you have any direct control over your team, but having them as part of the action is awesome. And, those special qualities each member possesses really come out in the Multiplayer modes. With a seriously upgraded Multiplayer offering, Red Faction II goes toe to toe with any of the FPS games on console right now in trying to offer the best of both worlds. I think it's clear that surpassing Unreal or Quake at the arena-style FPS is going to be damn near impossible, and nothing seems likely to dethrone Deus Ex as the FPS with the deepest and most engaging storyline. But, at a midpoint between insanely good action and great story, Red Faction II does a really nice job.
6 Multiplayer modes including Arena, Capture the Flag and the expected Deathmatch stand alongside Bagman and Regime Mode. Bagman is just a pickup mode, and gives 'left him holding the bag,' new meaning. Regime is locked in the beginning, just one of the many earned options. Bots can be set up and saved in Red Faction II, customized to perfection and turned loose on the Multiplayer arena. Profiles for players can also be saved individually, allowing you to take advantage of specials you unlock while playing. This goes for Single Player mode also, and special actions called 'Heroics' can earn you one of three endings. Echos of Deus Ex there, eh? The experience put together is a great one for gamers who want quick and hard action, but does a lot for folks like me who respond better when there's some depth or story driving all the insanity.