Not too long ago a company called Volition went to work on a game called Descent Freespace. After gaining critical acclaim for its work the company was commissioned to develop a sequel to the game and again, it struck gold. Of course Volition decided to start work on another sequel to the game but in the end, the project got scrapped in favor of a first person shooter called Red Faction. Utilizing an incredible engine called Geo-Mod, gamers were treated to an amazing first person shooter that emphasized chaos and destruction. Of course, Volition struck gold again, paving the way for another amazing sequel.
This time around we get Red Faction 2, a sequel that successfully captures the excitement and feel of the original while managing to remain fresh and entertaining. Building upon the impressive Geo-Mod technology, this year’s game features more explosions, more diversity and more importantly, more carnage and mayhem. For you see, Geo-Mod is an amazing piece of technology that allows you to destroy key pieces of the environment. During the course of a battle you’ll see pillars crumble, walls tumble and entire buildings destroyed. Forget anything else you’ve seen in video games, Red Faction 2 by far provides the most interactive environments you’ll ever see. Throughout the course of battle you’ll see chunks of the environment fly into the air, after you’re done fighting you’ll really get the sense that you’ve been in a warzone and not some sissy playfight. We’re Americans dammit, not French!
The storyline is simple, you’re part of a rebellious group is being held down by a Saddam-look alike. You get some nice storyline and plot development but really, who cares? I play a first person shooter to kill, kill and kill, thankfully Red Faction 2 delivers in spades. Whether it be with a grenade launcher, machine gun or dual pistols, the action is always fun and furious. Most of the weapons have two firing modes and best of all, you can carry two handguns for a little bit of Woo-style action. Of course you’ll have your usual assortment of grenades, sniper rifles and high-tech machine guns. The weapon variety is just excellent in the game and every new weapon yields tons of pleasure and enjoyment. Get ready for carnage baby because RF2’s got tons of it.
Controls are a bit difficult to get used to at first, I was having a hell of a time aiming with the dual analog sticks. It seems the game is quite forgiving, however, as having my cursor in the general vicinity of my target would garner me a hit. Sadly the USB Keyboard and Mouse support that was present in the PS2 version is noticeably absent here. For anyone looking to replicate the feeling of a PC FPS they’ll be sorely out of luck.
Mission variety is very excellent and is somewhat similar to EA’s 007 Agent Under Fire. Red Faction 2 features first person shooter levels, classic rail shooter levels and you’ll even dabble in some destructive vehicle mayhem. There are some truly amazing ones like an early mission where you’ll man the gunner seat of a plane as you wreak havoc from above. The majority of the missions are just excellent, featuring great structure and design that usually provides an entertaining experience. Let’s be honest though, RF2 does have its share of annoying and tedious levels that really disrupt the flow of the game. Early on you’ll travel through a subway as you try to establish contact with your team. As you enter the evacuated station you’ll find spider mines at every turn. Everywhere you go they’ll hurl themselves at you and inflict heavy amounts of damage. Even after you think you’ve destroyed them all they magically reappear to make your life a living hell. I don’t mind facing intelligent enemies but cheap tactics like this just seriously piss me off and I’m sure it’ll get to you as well.
It’s a shame too because most of the time, the AI seems to be excellent if not brilliant. They’ll utilize squad tactics and hide behind any available obstacles. Most times you’ll see them pop out to fire at you and return into hiding when it’s time to reload. Other times you’ll see one enemy blanket an area with fire while another moves to flank you. Sure they won’t be filling out applications for Mensa anytime soon but they’re better than your average FPS fodder. They provide an excellent challenge but never really are difficult to the point where you become irritated with their actions –except for those damn spider mines of course- and most of the time, you’ll be having too much fun blowing them to shreds to really notice their deficiencies. Did I mention that combat in this game is fun?
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