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It would have been nice to have a bud with a gun covering your six early on, or an all-out gun battle in the mines with several miners facing off against guards, with Parker in the middle. For all the rhetoric about miner’s uniting, though, Parker spends almost all of the game alone. Red Faction features polished console graphics that transfer nicely to the PC.
The mines are claustrophobic and badly lit, and one gets the impression of actually creeping down shafts. Special effects are, for the most part, refined, and what little lighting is to be found is excellent.
Water effects are no more than average, but definitely not terrible. Volition, Inc. The most impressive aspect, however, is the innovative Geo-Mod technology, which gives you the ability to realistically blast most walls into rubble or tunnel through them with machinery.
It is a subtle touch that opens several possibilities for mod designers using the engine. Sounds are well done. Guns bark with authority and explosions rip through caverns convincingly. Even the tech nerds shriek satisfyingly when a gun is pointed at them. All of the ambient sounds, coupled with a solid music soundtrack, make the audio package very complete. The action in Red Faction is probably the most disappointing aspect, as it’s too familiar to fans of the genre.
Although the single player game is woefully short, shooting countless guards gets old fast. The guards, while smarter than usual, provide little variation in targets for Parker.
There are a few places where vehicles break up the side-strafing tedium, but they feel like mini-games, rather than an integrated part of the whole. Also, there are times when Parker must sneak through buildings undetected, but it feels out of place, especially if he’s supposed to be a bulky miner, not an espionage specialist.
It may well be big. Red Faction was easily the most complete FPS that we saw. The big thing about it is the accurate deformable terrain – somewhat of a first in this genre. We had loads of fun burrowing under doors and through walls, but when it came to the actual combat, we weren’t quite so convinced.
However, the effects are incredible, and the weapons included some really heavy duty equipment, which will satisfy just about anyone with a love for mindless destruction. As with several other FPSs on show, Red Faction will give you the opportunity to pilot a variety of vehicles. We tried out the assault helicopter, which was very easy to manoeuvre with the mouse and keyboard controls. This was by far the most amount of fun we had during the presentation, and while we left impressed, we were hardly blown away by the whole experience.
Medal Of Honor. Return to Castle Wolfenstein and AvP2 might be the year’s biggest shooters to come, but there’s another single-player game just around the corner that you should keep one eye on.
I’ve talked about Red Faction in these hallowed pages before, but with THQ and Volition concentrating on getting the PS2 version out of the door first, the best incarnation of the new game has been conspicuous by its absence over the past few months. That all changed when the latest build arrived on my desk, including the full single-player campaign and 24 multiplayer maps including 18 straight deathmatch and six CTF.
So what’s new? The unique selling point is still the Geo-Mod technology, which enables you to blast through most of a level’s architecture, but now that we’ve had the benefit of the PS2 reviews a couple of interesting points have been raised. For a start, despite the existence of the Geo-Mod technology, criticisms have been levelled that the game doesn’t make full use of it.
In fact, it’s only actually necessary to use it in a few sections in the game, which seems like a bit of a waste. In one level you come across a couple of guards cowering inside a fortified room.
Running up you can throw an explosive charge through a gap in the wall, kill the guards and then blow a hole in the wall before getting in and pressing the obligatory switch. This sort of thing is pretty basic when you think about the stuff that was being shown as part of a tech demo last year, with lava flows being diverted and the like.
Puzzles built around the Geo-Mod capabilities would have lifted the game above its FPS counterparts, but it looks like Volition isn’t going to exploit this fully in its first title. The multiplayer side of the game is far more open to the possibilities of the new technology. In one of the CTF maps we played, you can blow holes in the opposing fortress, leaving your opponents far more open to attack. Volition has cleverly introduced indesutictible meshes into walls, which means you can’t blow every last brick away, although you can snipe through the holes with your rifle.
Better news comes with the fact that the game is going to ship with a full editing suite, RED. Because of the Geo-Mod technology, it might take a bit of time for the mod designers to get up to speed, but it should mean future mods will make more of something that Red Faction appears to have sidelined.
Another issue with the game is its AI. Early on in the game, the guards you encounter show about as much intelligence as a paper cup filled with goo. Apparently this is deliberate – the early guards are intentionally stupid to introduce you into the game softly. The fact that they don’t appear to get any cleverer later on is a bit more worrying, although this may well change before the game goes gold.
As with No-One Lives Forever, the guards do show some signs of basic scripting – running away when low on health and the like, but there’s nothing that we’ve seen yet that’s on a par with the best games over the past couple of years.
Even if the A1 isn’t honed to perfection, there’s still enough about Red Faction to make it stand out. Instead of having to trudge through it all on foot, you get to commandeer vehicles, including a submarine and a jeep. The range of weapons is good, and most come with a dual fire mode.
The assault rifle, flame-thrower and rocket launcher should ensure your blood lust is sated. Geo-mod system doesn’t sound exciting. In fact, it sounds downright dull–like an option you’d hear “comes standard” on a car commercial. But what it represents makes Red Faction the most exciting thing to happen to first-person shooters since Quake took them online. Sure some games use bullet holes or scorch marks to show damage, but the Geo-mod short for Geometry Modification system in Red Faction takes that idea and runs away with it: You can actually blow real holes in the walls, floors and ceilings.
And this means more than just a nifty new layer of realism–it opens up whole new avenues of gameplay, as lead designer at Volition Alan Lawrance explains: “You can blow holes through walls to form escape routes or attack unsuspecting enemies. You can collapse structures to kill enemies that might otherwise be impossible to kill.
You can destroy the cover enemies are hiding behind, cause bridges to collapse, or burrow yourself a nice spot to use for protection.
The other thing that makes Red Faction so exciting: the physics. You’re probably thinking “Physics?! That boring crap I have to sit through in third period? Check out all the cool stuff that Red Faction’s super-physics make possible: When you shoot a window, it shatters out from the bullet hole into tiny shards that realistically fall; when you blow up a window, or a wall–or a group of bad guys, for that matter–the debris flies away from the blast, just like in real life careful, it can hurt you too ; fans and the wind outdoors effect smoke and slow-moving projectiles like tossed grenades, for example ; bullets ricochet off of metal surfaces at the angles you’d expect them to; water and lava pour and pool like real liquids; it’s all very kick ass.
But take away the Geo-mod and the fancy physics, and what would you be left with? Actually, Red Faction would still be shaping up as an excellent first-person shooter. Let’s go down the shopping list for what makes any fps worth a damn:. Cool story line: check. You play Parker, a miner on Mars and employee of the Ultor corporation. Horrible working conditions and a mysterious mutation-causing disease known as “the plague” have the workers ready to revolt.
As a member of the underground resistance group Red Faction, your goal is to discover what’s behind the plague and bring down Ultor. You’ll travel through subterranean mine shafts, over the Martian surface–even up to satellites orbiting far above the giant red planet. Scripted events a la Half-Life : check. And not only does stuff happen as you’re playing in the levels to advance the plot, often times you can alter the course of the game by your actions.
For example: At one point you might find a guard about to execute a fellow miner. If you don’t intervene in time, he’s dead meat, but if you do, he’ll tell you the location of a weapon storeroom.
Cool weapons: check. The bread and butter of any fps, Red Faction will have 15 weapons, each like Unreal Tournament with two ways of firing them. Some look especially tasty, like the flamethrower: Shoot it normally to light your enemies aflame or turn off the pilot light, spray the liquid all over the hall, and ignite it when your friends walk in.
Plus there’s plenty of bigger weapons–machine guns and rocket turrets, as well as vehicles with mounted guns and other deadly goodies. Multiplayer: check A two-player splitscreen game will be included, but four-player looks doubtful since, as Alan explains, “we don’t want to dumb down the visuals to the point where it’s playable for four.
So while Red Faction looks like it will be an incredibly unique and innovative title, Volition knows it can’t stop there. The guys behind the Descent games, who still play Unreal Tournament almost daily on the office network to blow off steam, know it’s not buzzwords or innovation alone that make a game worth playing. The Red Planet.
Determined to profit at any cost, the Ultor Corporation has established a monopoly on Mars, giving them the ability to strip-mine the planet’s natural resources. In response to their abuse of the local mining population, the Red Faction freedom fighters launch a revolution that will change the face of Mars forever. In order to accomplish their massive goals, Ultor has established a brutal and oppressive corporate government.
Miners are overworked, underfed, and controlled by gestapo tactics and bullying guards. The conditions are hostile, and the plight of the miners is a desperate one. To make matters worse, a virulent and mysterious plague has begun sweeping through the population, randomly striking miners with a terrible wasting disease.
Your character is one of the miners, Parker — a intemperate youth from Earth, bitter with the knowledge that he can never return home. All is not lost though. A small, hidden group, calling themselves the Red Faction, led by a mysterious woman known as Eos, seeks to free Mars.
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