There are quite a bit of titles from the previous generation of games getting remastered for current consoles, and more noticeably so for the Nintendo Switch, in which dedicated fans of the brand would have seemingly missed major third party releases like Skyrim and L.A. Noire as they did not release on either the Wii or WiiU. Since THQs initial dissolution and more recently the resurgence through THQ Nordic Games, a good amount of their properties have been cleaned up and shipped out as remasters. Whether it is the Darksiders or Saints Row franchises, or the recently announced Destroy All Humans! remake, plenty of fan favorites are getting the “HD” port treatment. That includes a maybe lesser known title, Red Faction Guerrilla: Re-Mars-tered (yes that is the official name.) Let’s just call it Guerrilla for the duration of the review. Having played the original via a rental back when it released, I remember thoroughly enjoying the rampant destruction the game intended to be known for, but could not remember much outside of that. As someone who has been longing for a solid open world, third-person-shooter on the switch, I decided to hop the next ship to Mars.
Guerrilla throws you right in upon starting the story. You are Alec Mason (voiced by the fantastic Troy Baker) and you are just on Mars to earn an honest buck as a miner. Your brother Dan got you here and got you the job, so everything should be ok, right? WRONG BUDDY! The Earth Defense Force stationed to run and protect Mars is corrupt and vile, and the planet has become a warzone between the EDF and the Red Faction. Dan, of course, is a member of the Red Faction and wants Alec to aid in their efforts to get the EDF to run back to earth. Alec has no interest…until Dan is gunned down by the EDF in front of him. Now, with grief and anger to fuel him (as well as sort of being backed into a corner by being labeled a threat by the EDF), Alec decides to join the uprising against the EDF. The story and its quick intro is acceptably cheesy and predictable, like a good action movie should be, but in this day and age I actually appreciated that it cut to the chase and let me get to the good stuff more quickly. I don’t have all day to save Mars, just an hour or two here and there, so cutting out the fat really helps because smashing EDF buildings within 30 minutes is a lot better than going through three hours of character building and civilian work before becoming a freedom fighter.
The narrative that follows is okay, but spread thinly. You get a lot of radio communication to bridge the gaps, but there are a few much needed higher detail cut scenes here and there that really continue the “action-movie” feel. I think the game could have used more of these throughout, as they helped signify the larger bits of progression, where as much of my middle portions of the game kind of leave you high and dry as to where you are in the narrative arch. Additional character development would have been great too, as they throw out a lot of names and glimpses at important people, but really only develop on Alec and his femme fatal rebel friend Sam. But alas, the game is so close to a B action movie that its narrative follows suit, and it really is not that bad of a quality to have for a game that is fun. The story is solid, but mostly forgettable, which makes sense given that I only really remembered the gameplay above all else.
Like Saints Row The Third before it, Guerrilla was hand picked to get the remastered treatment above some of the others in the respective franchise, as Guerrilla is actually the third entry in the series that currently has four titles under its name. As mentioned before, this is probably due to that open world nature, in combination with the great physics based destruction that really made the game what it is. Think of the games structure as one closely aligned with more recent Far Cry, where you have several outlined territories on a map with a progressive tracking of your “liberation” of the area. There are several main missions that must be played to activate the actual liberation mission, all of which cannot be started until enough activities had been participated in within that region. These are your standard affair, whether it is raiding an EDF controlled property, destroying EDF propaganda, saving hostages, and more. These can get a bit repetitive, especially in this day and age where open world games abuse the hell out of side missions to come up with some grand number of hours that the game can be played yada yada but I digress. We know how this goes, BUT, at least this game lets you destroy everything in the process.
The shooting is lackluster at best. It is very basic, just about as basic as the enemies and the AI that powers them, but the more fun fights are the ones that you have with structures. That’s right, if a building or a billboard or even a bridge looks at you funny or stands in your way, you can tear that sucker down bit by bit. Whether it be with your classic mining sledgehammer, or a variety of explosive weapons like mines and rockets, destroying your surroundings is the name of the game. Blast through a side of a building with a weaponized mech? You can do that. Destroy a three story building by taking out crucial structural points of the main floor? You can do that too. DRIVE YOUR CAR COVERED IN MINES THROUGH THE SIDE OF A WALL, DITCH IT, AND SET THOSE SUCKERS OFF? Yeah, sure, GO FOR IT (see video below.) Getting creative is what makes it so fun, but not being creative and just winging rockets at a building is a ton of fun too. There are even challenges spread around the map that will test your creativity against the clock with limited tools and ammo, aiming for you to bring down a building as quickly as possible.
The world can be pretty dull, being on Mars and all, you really do not have much work with environmentally. Colors and textures come off as murky, muddled messes in some cases, but at a distance it looks fine. The lighting is solid, and the explosions get the job done too. There is distinct locale in each of the areas that need liberated, too. Some areas are more industrial, with blue collar workers doing the things others aren’t willing to. Other places like Paradise are more upscale and civilian, with nicer, leisure style cars instead of working trucks. The music though is surprisingly well done. It is very cinematic feeling, often hitting the right cues at the right times and bringing together an overall better atmosphere.
Performance wise, the game runs great and doesn’t look half bad either. I played mostly in handheld mode, and ran into very few issues. There are some game related bugs or accidents that were more funny then detrimental, and I only saw slowdowns in a specific area (the Badlands for reference) as well as during some of the excessively explosive challenges. But outside of that, things ran pretty well.
Additionally, there are some multiplayer modes that I dabbled with, and had some fun, but nothing I actively sought out to explore. Mind you, I would never get in a full lobby when I did try, so it was better to invest my time in the story mode. I put over 10 hours into the story, and there are still plenty of side activities to take part in if I chose to do so, but outside of causing some mayhem, I do not see the need. The game is great fun, and it launched at only $30, so without a doubt you can get it cheaper at some point. If you missed out on its initial release, this complete, upgraded version is a good excuse to hike out to the red, dusty planet. If you have played it in the past, you may have already got what you need from it, but having been in that exact position I still found it to be a very solid experience. Red Faction Guerrilla is the B movie game I needed in my life, allowing me to get a little rampant with destruction without the need to get too heavily invested in a story or skill trees and such. Rise up gamers, the Red Faction needs your credit card numbers!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7.5/10
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