Preview: Red Faction: Guerrilla Hands-On

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Starting today, if you pre-order Red Faction: Guerrilla at GameStop between now and April 22nd you can gain exclusive early access to the single-player demo (PS3 and Xbox 360 versions only, of course). THQ set me up with a demo code for the 360 version last night, and after playing the damn thing to death (literally) I’m back with a brief impressions recap.

Sadly, there’s no Ostrich Hammer in the demo, but what it does offer is one short solo campaign mission and a small chunk of the sandbox Mars landscape to wreak havoc upon. The available mission is pretty straightforward: storm an EDF compound, steal a Walker (aka giant mech), safely guide it to a transport truck and then mount the truck’s missile turret to defend your theft from pursuing EDF.

Within that mission you have free reign to approach the target however you choose. I played it to completion at least a good six times (over 10 times counting failed attempts), and even though this particular mission is fairly direct with its objective I saw something new each and every time through. The first time I took a more subdued approach, beating down EDF guards with the sledgehammer en route to the Walker garage. But then as I settled in I become more and more overt with my tactics, using explosives to destroy as many EDF buildings as possible, hopping into nearby vehicles and charging through everything in my path, and running and gunning through EDF forces with a machine gun.

And that’s the beauty of the game: experimenting with the open terrain and dynamic destruction physics to figure out new ways to achieve the goal at hand…or just to have fun discovering new ways to blow the bejesus out of the game world. And boy let me tell you, this game world blows up real nice, and even amidst the constant spectacle of explosions and flying debris the frame rate remains remarkably smooth. GeoMod 2.0 engine for the win!

Guerrilla’s new third-person perspective felt immediately comfortable to me. Not for a single moment did I find myself missing the first-person perspective of the previous Red Faction games. On foot, the game plays like you would expect a modern third-person shooter to play. You run, you jump, you shoot things, you latch to cover for defense…yada, yada, yada. With so much destruction going on I did find myself getting stuck on debris a few times – oddly more while in the Walker than while hoofing it on foot — but overall the controls and gunplay felt very solid.

It’s difficult to judge such a huge open-world game based on one of supposedly 120+ missions that’ll be in the full campaign. I mean, the story and certain gameplay elements — such as a morale system that determines how the civilian mining colonists react and harvesting salvage from destroyed buildings as a monetary source for purchasing upgrades — are simply impossible to gauge from such a small sampling. But after playing the demo’s lone mission repeatedly I can at least tell you that Red Faction: Guerrilla really is everything it shows itself to be in all the trailers, and that’s one destructively fun action game!

Red Faction: Guerrilla is scheduled to ship on June 9th for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!