Hammer Time

Originally Published: 30 June 2009

I bought Red Faction: Guerrilla pretty much the day it came out. I had asked Loz if I could borrow her review copy when she’d finished with it. By lunchtime on release day, I’d decided to buy it. I had been a massive, massive fan of the previous instalments and loved the fact that I could blow the shit out of things. I also like the fact that now with the third instalment there are definitely “three ages of Geomod”.

In the first Red Faction you could blow up, well, not much really. Despite it being a big selling point of the game, you were restricted to only being able to destroy certain areas. Usually areas that the story required you to destroy, if I’m being honest. There were a few parts where you felt you were being naughty and breaking a wall or two but it really didn’t amount to anything.

Red Faction 2 dialled the destruction up a notch. Here you could have more of a blast, literally, and take out walls and ceilings with more gay abandon. While still better than the first you did still feel a little restricted in your destructive ways, almost as if a member of the game’s staff was sitting with you going “No, we don’t want you to blow that bit up”. RF2 was brilliant in other ways though. You could, whilst playing through the game, unlock a genuinely hilarious “backstage look” at the lives of the characters from Summoner 2 – a game which both myself and my sister hammered the crap out of when it was released.

Then along came Red Faction: Guerrilla. This is the one. While some have complained that you can’t destroy the surface of Mars (you know if we could someone would have spent a lot of time tunnelling to whatever the Mars equivalent of Australia was) you can pretty much destroy everything else and it will remain destroyed unless it’s something to do with a mission and it needs hastily rebuilding. I do like the fact that the demolition missions, where you’re tasked with destroying a building using limited resources, do allow you the chance to redo them – hastily reconstructing the battered building which you can see before you as you choose to retry. Anyway, the destruction in the game is top notch, and really can change the way you play the game.

Take this, for instance. I was asked to stop a convoy. I noticed, on my travels, that the convoy happened to pass over a small bridge. In my infinite wisdom, I went to this bridge and mined the crap out of it. I stopped the convoy – they all got stuck in the gully and I just rained destruction down upon them from a safe distance – but since that day I have been left with the opposite of a bridge over this gully. Yup, I have no bridge. This now means, if I am tasked with driving through Dust Sector and my route takes me over this bridge I have to weigh up my options. I need to look at my vehicle and ask myself one question – do I jump it? I discovered, through trial and error and a teensy-weensy bit of titting about that this lack of bridge presents me with two options. The path indicators persuade me to drive into the gully and up the other side. The voice in my head persuades me to go to the other side of the bridge to where the land is a little bit higher and trust my luck. So far each and every jump I have made has been successful – even if one did find me sitting in my seat rocking as though my forward motion could have moved my perilously dangling vehicle from the chasm that lay below it.

Another fun element in Red Faction: Guerrilla is the MOAB. I am assuming that this stands for Mother Of All Bombs because it’s pretty good when it goes off. You earn one MOAB for every three radio tags you find (if you’re wondering, they will show up as a green dot on your mini-map and an orange swirly thing on the landscape when you’re close to them). Simply drive over your newly discovered MOAB and your vehicle becomes the ultimate explosive device. I have had awesome fun taking down high importance buildings with these. Drive up to the building, depart your vehicle. Liberally coat the outside of your vehicle with remote bombs. Retreat to a safe distance and press the button. No more vehicle. No more building. No nothing. Just swing in, collect your scrap and be gone. It’s an awesome destructive tool and brilliant to watch as well – I just wish I had found more radio tags.

Not all destruction is good, mind you. One of the Guerrilla missions asked me to protect the Red Faction from the EDF at a housing complex in Dust. This was one of the harder Guerrilla missions I had undertaken at the time and took many, many attempts. When I finally pulled it off I was quite pleased. Another Guerrilla mission under my belt. A bit of morale to help spur on the troops and plenty of salvage from all their wrecked vehicles. As I was gathering the scrap, I heard a sound behind me and turned. I turned in time to see a whole residential block crumble to dust. I may have saved the day and driven off the EDF but I hadn’t managed to keep the buildings intact. Fearing a reprisal, I swung my hammer on my shoulder and legged it.

Having gathered the salvage first, of course