people about Red Faction and theyre going to tell you about the
innovative Geo Mod technology that allows you to morph your surroundings
by blasting through walls, floors and most other things that get in your
way. What you might not hear about is the innovative story of a miner
revolt on Mars, complete with Marxist overtones amidst vicious
capitalist propaganda. Treated like cattle, abused and exploited, the
workers of the world have united; theyve cast off their shackles of
oppression, and they are out to take down the Man.
was the real innovation of Red Faction. Todays videogame stories are
cookie cutter crap--disposable, plastic vestiges of better stories
written by better writers with something genuine to say. When people
tell me that the story in Metal Gear Solid 2 or Resident Evil is great,
its all I can do not to laugh at the absurdity and weep for the state
of the industry. So often we fall into the trap of confusing convoluted
with complicated, longer with better. The story isnt flawless-- its
prone to melodrama and rushed at times. Nevertheless, Red Faction II is
successful because the aesthetic, comprising all of the artistic
elements of the game, is so superb. From the Marxist propaganda on the
walls, to the ranting reporter in the closet, to the thundering rhetoric
of the Stalinist dictator Sopot, the aesthetic of the distopia is
immersive and genuine.
vision is whats so compelling about Red Faction 2. So when members of
the mainstream media like Gamespots Brad Shoemaker tell us "nobody
really plays first-person shooters for their stories, anyway" (in his
Turok Review), I say you obviously dont know your audience and wouldnt
know art if it slapped you across the face. I say speak for yourself,
and do so with caution. When next the zealots crying "murder machine"
comeand they willtheyll be quoting you.
into the middle of a political struggle between the desire for utopia
and a Stalinist regime, Red Faction II hits the ground running and never
slows down. This battle rages foot by foot, room by room as devastation
reigns around you. Enemies arent just lined up in hallways waiting to
be shotok some of them arebut others are coming through windows,
repelling from the ceiling, responding to alarms, and generally being
dynamic. Theyll insult you, taunt you, and ask beg for mercysometimes
disingenuously. Civilians try to distance themselves from the
conflictthey want to live, of course--and theyre still part of the
environment, adding detail and vitality to the world.
clear almost from the start that Red Faction II took a few lessons from
Halo. Your super-soldier motif, and costume, are both familiar. Red
Faction II also tries to drop you in as part of a team. Sometimes youre
fighting alongside another supersoldier and this adds quite a bit of
depth to the experience; though generally successful with the technique,
the result isnt as effective as the thundering squad based action of
Halo. Your teammates are nice to have around, and they liven up the
game, but much of their usefulness is story oriented.
Faction II has a bit of a problem with pacingbut even this drawback is
a bit original. The story and the gameplay both needed a few more hours
to fully develop. Moments in the mid-game feel rushed, narrative wise,
and they gameplay is rushed as well; sometimes theres just not enough
opportunity to play with new weapons, new toys, before the game ends.
ride while it lasts though. In all sincerity, the last scene is ranks
among the most thrilling in videogame history. Every element of the
gamestory, immersive world, acting, music, graphics, and gameplay, peak
in a tremendous symphony of thunderous, pulse-pounding fury of
breath-taking brilliance. For this alone, Red Faction II is worth the
price of admission.
course, theres the Geo Mod. The ability to destroy, disfigure, and
out-right remove your surroundings is an excellent milestone in
interactivity. I understand that many developers may be hesitant to
embrace the idea for fear of looking like clones, but the fundamental
philosophy behind geo-mod is the wave of the future and will become a
staple in game design. This level of interactivity, and the greater
levels that will come of it, are the future of gaming. Red Faction II
makes more use of Geo Mod, and incorporates it better into tactical and
strategic thinking. The only exception to this is the multiplayer mode,
which provides conspicuously little opportunity to make use of the Geo
general though, the multiplayer mode in Red Faction II is a step above
its predecessor. The eight game modes are fairly standard, though
theres a lot to be said for a group of people getting together to take
on a team of bots. The weapon customization is above average, but
doesnt have anywhere near the depth or customization of
Time Splitters 2.
Whats really missing from the multiplayer game is a co-op mode; taking
on the Man is more fun with a friend, after all. Its no secret that the
co-op mode was the breath and soul of Halo, and a little bit of that
action would have gone a long way. So while the multiplayer mode is
decent, if you are primarily looking for a frag-fest with depth, youre
better off going with Time Splitters 2.
But the single-player game shines. While the length is bound to
irritate some, the experience is fantastic while it lasts. The
compelling, action packed experience shows game design moving in the
right direction. In and of itself, this is noteworthy. Experience the
resistance--and see the future of gaming while youre at it.