Red Faction Guerilla: Re-Mars-tered Edition (Switch) Review

by July 21, 2019

Way back in 2001, Red Faction hit the gaming scene. The Geo-Mod engine allowed you to destroy the environment around you. For the console at the time, the PlayStation 2 (and strangely enough the N-Gage also!) it sounded pretty amazing. It wasn’t until the third game, Red Faction Guerilla on the Xbox 360, that I actually got to see what the Geo-Mod engine could do, although a much more enhanced version. It’s time to get back to Mars and help the resistance.

The Earth Defence Force (EDF) has taken control of Mars and its resources, and in turn, forced its citizens into unpaid labour. The titular Red Faction are freedom fighters seeking to make it a free Mars and get the EDF off the planet. You play as Alec Mason, a mining engineer and demolitions expert who has recently moved to Mars. Looking to make a new life for himself with the help of his brother, after a short tutorial and a sudden death in the family it quickly becomes a tale of revenge. What better way to take the EDF down a peg than knocking down all their buildings and any other fun things they have to break. There is more to the game, but it’s all pretty inconsequential to the main thing the game wants you to do and that is – breaks things.

There are main missions that progress the story and bring the fight ever closer to the heart of the EDF. Along the way there are side missions, There’s a bit of variety to these, whether it’s to protect something, rescue hostages, or trying to blow something up in the quickest time. Working out how to demolish a building with limited resources was a neat little puzzle to work out. Rescuing hostages or any side mission that involves combat is less enjoyable. As soon as you have to point that gun at the EDF the fun factor takes a nosedive.

Being the ‘Re-Mars-tered’ Edition, it’s hard to tell if the upgrades the game received on other consoles made it over to the Switch version. There seem to be some lighting effects, but Mars is hardly a vibrant place and any graphical improvements feel irrelevant. There is an added option for visuals, giving you High Quality or High Performance as the two settings you have for making the game look or run it’s best. The game runs smoothly enough, and it’s not until there’s a lot going on with buildings coming down and explosions going off that the game struggles. Though this happened across the other remastered ports too.

While Red Faction is an ‘open-world’ game, there’s no hiding that Mars is a bland environment. Areas are restricted a fair amount with rocky areas or spaces with nothing to do in them. There’s not much to do with the vehicles most of the time, and if you’re not near one you have a fair way to run. Thank god there’s no stamina bar. If you’re going to destroy buildings for that sweet sweet salvage, to upgrade your gear it needs to be EDF property which then limits down the number of buildings that matter on the map. Maybe we should be thankful there’s not another game with 20 extra hours of side content to play, just don’t go into this game looking for a big fun open world. 

Load times haven’t changed, unfortunately. Other recently remastered games like Assassin’s Creed 3 for all its shortcomings, the load times felt shorter. In Red Faction they couldn’t feel any longer, I don’t know what the greater punishment for failing a mission is; having to redo it all after restarting back at the home base, or the time it takes to load. Bad news is you have to endure both, so fingers crossed you get everything right the first go. To add insult to injury, driving around to mission objectives or to take on a mission is uneventful to the point it’s just filling time. 

With a game focused on destruction and demolition, it’s fortunate that wielding the sledgehammer and chucking around demolition charges feels so fun. Getting into firefights with EDF soldiers is an exercise in tedium, it’s hard to know where to start. The controls for shooting are poor, to even make them bearable you have to adjust the sensitivity. Being a Switch game they’ve also included motion aiming. Soldiers take way too much ammo to take down, and when they’re alerted to your presence they manage to appear all around you in big numbers. When you have several soldiers shooting you from all around, good luck actually pinpointing them and dealing with them before you’re killed. It’s just as bad when you’re in a vehicle and you suddenly have every EDF tank gunning for you, or just causing a pile-up and damaging your ride.

Wrecking Crew is a mode for one to four players. There are a few modes within it, such as taking turns with a limited time to do as much damage as possible to structures around you. There’s some variety across the modes that should ensure you and some friends can settle on something. 

There’s also a more traditional online deathmatch with XP and unlockables and all that. In 2019 I don’t know if Red Faction is going to be your ‘go-to’ multiplayer game or the chances of finding an active group of players. It’s hard to complain about there being more options to play the game, it’s there if you want.

Not only is this the (sigh) Re-Mars-tared Edition, it is also a complete edition and that means it also comes with some DLC from the original release. In this case, it is Demons of the Badlands, a prequel to the main game. It’s not bad, it’s just more of the same. If you do like the story, it helps explain what happened before Alec got his ass to Mars. 

Red Faction: Guerilla is a curious game to remaster, besides THQ making the most of rereleasing their catalogue. There’s a lot of destructive fun to be had, but it’s often lost amongst boring driving and frustrating combat. If you still have a soft spot for Red Faction then this is very much the same game, warts and all. 

Rating: 3/5

The Good

- Still so fun to knock down buildings
- Wrecking Crew can be fun with friends
- Especially fun to knock buildings down with the sledgehammer

The Bad

- Load times feel like you’re flying to Mars in real-time
- The story was average when it came out the first time
- Open world with little to do when you’re not demolishing something

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Red Faction: Guerilla is a curious game to remaster, besides THQ making the most of rereleasing their catalogue. There’s a lot of destructive fun to be had, but it’s often lost amongst boring driving and frustrating combat. If you still have a soft spot for Red Faction then this is very much the same game, warts and all.

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About The Author
Paul Roberts
Lego enthusiast, Picross Master and appreciator of games.

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