June 30, 2022

Red Faction Guerrilla: Re-Mars-tered Xbox One Review

Red-y for another Red Faction game? Red-y to stop missing the Red Faction universe? Red-y to go back to a high in the series? Red-y…..okay I’ll stop now.

Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is your chance to revisit Volition’s explosive sandbox on the current generation or play it for the first time if you managed to miss it. Being a big fan of the series, I was very excited to get my hands on this and experience a brilliant game on current generation consoles.

At first sight the game does look a lot slicker, then again, what did you expect? The frame rate has been upped and it is immediately noticeable. Unlike the original version, there’s no jarring visual lag when massive structures come toppling down in a heap of girders and rubble. This pleased me so much as it caused me a lot of headaches when playing the original.

However, Guerrilla on Xbox One has a lot of the same problems it had almost a decade ago, which is a bit odd for a remaster. There are numerous bugs here and there like enemies falling through the terrain and fellow Guerrillas getting caught in scenery or just randomly falling out of vehicles for no apparent reason. Now I know that we seem to have come to accept bugs in certain new games recently, as an industry on a whole, but this isn’t a new game; This is a remaster (sorry, Re-Mars-ter) and you would have thought that these things would have been polished out for this release, especially as they’ve had nearly a decade to do it. The compressed cutscenes still look awful and could have done with a facelift. Come to think of it, the draw distance is pretty shoddy too, certain distant, flat-textured mountain peaks appearing on the horizon as if by magic (this especially stands out on the open plains of the Badlands). Overall, the game hasn’t aged particularly well, technical wise.

Despite these ‘niggles’ from the original Red Faction: Guerrilla persisting in the remaster (sorry Re-Mars-ter), there’s nothing that detracts from the sheer, unbridled enjoyment of smashing buildings to bits and watching them collapse around you. Therein lies the charm of Guerrilla: the ability to systematically pick apart a structure with your sledgehammer and a few remote charges never gets old. As you progress, Mason’s WMD’s (Weapons of Mars Destruction) also grow increasingly potent, the building (and person) dissolving power of the Nano Forge or the sheer force of a Singularity Bomb providing a constant source of amusement.

Mission variety is also something Guerrilla does well with a change of pace for each story mission and an array of side missons – or ‘Guerrilla Actions’ – to perform, like rescuing hostages, ambushing convoys, intercepting enemy intel and so on. Then there’s destructible objectives – high importance EDF structures to topple (the EDF being Mars’ oppressive occupying force exploiting the hard-working people – this games version of Ultor). Destruction is the main course of the game and by the time you’ve unlocked the walker mechs later on, the extent of your arsenal is such that you can become increasingly bold when wreaking havoc, your armour upgraded, the amount of ammo and destructive power at your fingertips making you a walking Terminator.

Outside of the decent story and open-world made up of red dusty areas like Parker and the more terraformed, slightly greener regions like the affluent Oasis, there’s the local multiplayer Wrecking Crew mode. This was stupidly entertaining even if you were only able to play alone. There’s the same selection of online competitive modes too, that back in the day provided a neat twist on straight-up blasting with different backpacks that lend your character a unique ability. This is all still present and correct, but at time of writing, the servers are a ghost town. I couldn’t find a single online match (bar a couple of locked ones), probably because the game has only just launched.

As a package, complete with the game’s Demons of the Badlands DLC and all of the other extra trimmings, Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered represents pretty good value for money, especially when you consider how well the core gameplay holds up after nine years. As last-gen third-person open-world adventures go, they don’t get more Hollywood blockbuster Michael Bay-esque popcorn chomping fun than Guerrilla. Whether you’re smashing the EDF or the ragtag Marauders, playing on Mars’ dusty surface is a constant joy.

So while Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered isn’t the best example of a remaster around, given that it still feels slightly rough around the edges and a bit on the buggy side, the amount of fun to be had is ridiculous. If you’ve never played in Volition’s destructible red sandbox before, (what’s wrong with you?) then picking up Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is a must. On the other hand, if you have previously visited this version of the Red Planet and fancy a return trip, then “Get Your Ass to Mars, Quaid!”

Positives

  • Voice Acting

Troy Baker is still brilliant even in one of his earlier video game roles as Alec Mason, and is joined by a cast of decent voice actors. The Sci-Fi soundtrack is decent too.

  • Playability

This is where it really counts. Despite the aforementioned niggles Guerrilla is still childishly enjoyable, the simple act of smashing stuff to pieces never really gets old. The weapon selection and general controls are bit clunky, but you can remap the layout.

  • Content

The base game and its accompanying DLC, the overlooked multiplayer and excellent Wrecking Crew modes are all present and accounted for but it’s all a bit sloppy to navigate and doesn’t flow well.

Negatives

  • Visuals

The upscale in resolution and frame rate is plain to see, but there seems to have been little effort to optimise Red Faction: Guerrilla for the Xbox One with a minimal draw distance and a collection of bugs not polished out.

  • Achievments

The same old list from nine years ago, which wasn’t a bad selection to begin with. Again, however, there are a few too many achievements skewed towards multiplayer.

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  • 7.5/10
    Overall - 7.5/10
7.5/10

Overall

While not necessarily a great example of how a remaster should be done, Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered still serves as a reminder of how enjoyable the franchise was and how lovely it feels to bash buildings to rubble with a big sledgehammer. We recommend you get your ass back to Mars sharpish.

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