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Red Faction: Guerilla: The Sky is Falling...

Company: THQ

... along with everything else!

I can sum up this game in 5 words. Blowing stuff up is fun. Now, my editor may want me to go into just a little more detail than that. And, I am happy to oblige. But at the end of the day, blowing stuff up is fun. For a quick history lesson, Red Faction originally came out in 2001. The ability to destroy just about everything around you made for an awesome gameplay experience. The game quickly grew a fast and fanatic fan base. Coupled with a good story and good A.I., this new technology and gameplay was breathtaking. Jumping back to the present, though, we now see disposable mesh and destructive environments in most games. You can't even be taken seriously as a racing game if you don't show some damage to a vehicle as you bump around the course. Battle damage is a must nowadays. With the future being now, what does the new Red Faction: Guerilla bring to the table? The whole meal, as far as I can tell. Right now, only the Beta is available for those lucky enough to get in. When I say luck, I don't mean it's hard to get in; I mean lucky as in it is a great game even in its very limited state.

Red Faction: Guerilla deviates from the FPS perspective that made it famous and switches to the third person over the shoulder. You switch to a quasi FPS perspective when you zoom, which was surprisingly smooth whenever it occured. I was a little apprehensive about this at first because I have not loved 3rd person shooters for the console in the past. I have not liked many FPS's either, but I digress. With this being said, I want to immediately point out how well this game responded and moved. As shooters go, I will say that this is far from an absolute twitch-based game like Unreal III, but it had good control and movement such that didn't feel like I was creeping along like F.E.A.R.. I really prefer this in between style when you bring things down to the console level. It doesn't make you any worse of a shot, and you don't feel like you have to drain a 12 pack of Red Bull to play. Simple things were simple. You point a gun at an opponent, pull the trigger, and they die. There is enough time to respond to someone firing at you, but at the same time, you weren't chasing them around the map for an hour with your finger held on the trigger the whole time, while they didn't die. To sum up, the bush I seem to beating around here is that the game already had signs of good balance. Fast-paced easy movement that you didn't need Dramamine to watch. Fast kills, without the essence of being killed instantly by a pin prick.

Red Faction: Guerilla has some very big pins, er guns, that is. They have addressed one of my personal pet peeves about shooters. I can unload an entire clip on an enemy, but if they get within one step, they can tap you with the butt of their gun and kill you instantly. Not today sir, not today. Today you have a giant sledgehammer. I would fully expect getting a knock at the door from this bad boy and its nighty night time. The sledgehammer is an indiscriminate basher; wood, metal, plastic, or brains, it smashes it all. So, besides this melee weapon of goodness that is the sledgehammer, they have some unique toys that go boom. The tripmine is an excellent deterrent to enemy advancement. You can stick these on almost any surface including an enemy. Couple the obvious advantages of a "set it and forget it" weapon, you can also remotely detonate them. Not to be outdone on the weapon front, the martian grinder is also a great weapon to have fun with. Whipping out saw blades like Frisbees of death, you can make quick work of your enemy. There is an element of the game that will allow for visuals of amputation, but it seemed to be very random. Though fun to use, the grinder did not do the up close and in your face damage of the machine gun, or standard RPG. Even with all of the weapons, there were still a few surprises to play with. Additional power ups came in the form of backpacks. Each of these packs added a unique ability. There was a little something for everyone it seems, with some allowing for additional speed, and my favorite being the Rhino that allowed you to blow through walls. I couldn't help myself from reciting a few quotes from the Juggernaut comics.

With all of the destruction you can wage on the battlefield, many times it looked like a junkyard by the end of the match. They only had three maps to play in the beta, but I am confident we will see quite a bit more with the release. There is a merit system with rewards, but we will have to wait and see how this affects gameplay once they get started, and if it becomes a barrier to entrance for new players as well. I was really impressed with how it felt to play this game. I am really looking forward to playing both the multiplayer and storyline aspects of this game. Given what the last game was, it would be a real disappointment to me if they skimp on the storyline and just stick with the Multiplayer aspect. We will just have to wait and see. See you on what is left of the battlefield.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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