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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #392: Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Volition, Kaiko

Publisher: THQ Nordic

Category: Action

Release Date: 7.2.2019

Price (at time of review): $29.99

Buy Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered from Amazon here.

The Factions Back & Switches Things Up

Switch has become the safe haven for ports of all shapes and sizes, and I highly approve, even if we as gamers are hit with the unnecessary and notorious Switch tax. But, I digress, and revel in the fact that we get all these games I loved, and even more so, the games I missed and I’m now getting a chance to play.

Speaking of games that I missed, one of them is the game Red Faction: Guerrilla, and I’m finally getting my hands on it now. It’s from the Red Faction series, which I enjoyed when I first played it on PlayStation 2, but felt the second was similar to the first in a lot of ways, and because of that, I skipped the third installment when it hit PlayStation 3. THQ Nordic has been really impressing me lately, so I’m very excited to jump in and see if it hits the mark with this remastered version.

The Battle Continues For The Red Planet

Red Faction: Guerrilla takes place in the year 2126. The Earth Defense Force (EDF), the allies in the original Red Faction, have become the main antagonist of Guerrilla. Although initially supportive of the Martian miners, Earth's natural resources have run scarce, and as a result, its world economy has collapsed from rampant speculation of commodities and lack of production.

Under pressure by Earth's corporations and leaders to acquire the resources of Mars at any cost, and at a pace to meet Earth's high demand, the EDF has forced Martian society into a permanent state of unpaid labor. The newly-reformed "Red Faction" arises to revolt against the EDF, drive them off the planet, and begin fairer negotiations with Earth.

Alec Mason, a mining engineer, arrives at a region of Mars called Tharsis—fun fact: Tharsis is home to the largest volcanoes in our solar system—to reunite with his brother, Dan, and begin a new life. While on work detail, Dan testifies about the EDF’s cruelty to the Martian people, and asks Alec to join the Red Faction, of which Dan is a member. Dan is soon after gunned down by air support from an EDF assault team. Alec is rescued by Red Faction guerrillas, and reluctantly becomes a freedom fighter for the group alongside avid inventor "Sam" Samanya, rambling psychotic Randy Jenkins, and commander Hugo Davies—although in the game, he’s known as RF commander.

Between Davies' command and Alec's skill and bravery, the EDF are quickly driven out of the sector known as Parker. The campaign against the EDF continues, as Alec tries to end the ongoing war, bring peace to Mars, and exact revenge by any means necessary. The story flows rather well, and I thought Alec was a strong lead—and his story, though fantastical, is still one that people can relate to. As he rises up, either going undercover or finding the corruption within his own ranks, he and his story always felt engaging.

Get Your Ass to Mars & Fight!

The Red Faction series took a turn with Guerilla, as they ditched the FPS linear model for a 3rd person action game with an open world. The most notable open-world game on the Nintendo Switch is Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which set the standard for open-world games on what’s considered a hybrid system that runs off of a mobile chipset. Volition developed Saints Row The Third, which is also an open-world game, and I was let down by how that one ran out of the gate on the Switch. It shows that THQ Nordic has it together, because after playing almost 8 hours, I could tell this was a solid port—and a game that I’m glad got ported over.

The first game in the series, which came out in 2001, was a game changer with the destruction physics introduced to the game by Volition’s GeoMod. In today’s games, you see this used all the time now, from Rainbow Six to Battlefield, and more; but I can see now after playing that Volition hit its stride with Guerrilla, as the game’s physics and destruction were unparalleled at its time—though the destruction can leave the screen a little chaotic, which isn’t always the best, because it can make the framerate chug a bit. That being said, I enjoyed the game, and without the destruction element, it’d be just another 3rd person GTA-type clone in space; but having the option to blow a hole through the wall to get to the enemies just takes the game to another level.

Speaking of blowing a hole, it’s not just the explosions that set the game apart, it’s being able to destroy almost every single thing you see! Alec uses a sledgehammer that was my go-to weapon or tool for almost every mission. No matter how far into the game I got, I noticed I’d rely on ol’ faithful. I could be stuck somewhere, turn on my cloaking device—one of the many upgrades you can purchase at the upgrade station—and roam into a room of baddies, clobbering the hell out of everyone with one shot at a time.

The way the territory is laid out, you have the EDF forces all around, and if you engage, they will reciprocate in the same fashion. If you destroy their bases, you’ll lower their influence and power over the territory. Almost every mission or activity has something to do with destroying something or blowing it to smithereens. My explosive charges and hammer could handle most missions, but before you know it, you’ll be manning huge weapons, like rocket launchers or vehicle-mounted weapons like turret set motorcycles.

The content is here—and packed! In terms of content, everything from the other ports is here. There's the full multi-player suite—complete with a local, multi-Switch option—the "Wrecking Crew" bonus mode, which is a solo or multiplayer mode where players try and destroy as much of the map as possible, and even the DLC campaign. Since the maps are cut down in multiplayer, the game typically performs much better than it does in the campaign.

The Destruction Master side-missions are still the best, which task you with destroying one or more structures in a time limit with a certain weapon. You might need to use remote charges to topple a tower, or you might need to blow apart a facility from a distance with a rocket launcher. Watching masonry crumble away as internal steel structures warp and break never stops being a riot, even when you’re hours and hours into the campaign. The fun is finding where a building’s weakness lies, and how best to exploit it. This edition includes everything on all of the releases, even the DLC, Demon of the Badlands. There’s even support for gyro controls, which are actually much better than aiming while in normal handheld mode.

Audio & Visuals

The overall sounds are great; the thunderous explosions and meaty, deep sounds while driving certain vehicles all blended nicely, though I did notice some issues with the cut scenes that sounded muffled as if the audio wasn’t converted correctly. I never had issues handheld, but in docked mode, I did notice a few things that need patches. The release trailer for the remastered Guerilla game uses the fan-made song "Space Asshole", composed by Chris Remo, which had gone viral in the wake of the original game's release. The game has a solid lengthy soundtrack that feels triple A, and the sound effects are done well, even if there were some audio and cut scene issues.

This remastered version of Guerilla, called the Re-Mars-tered Edition, includes graphical upgrades, and supports 4K resolutions from the Switch version. Like the Darksiders Remaster—also THQ Nordic—this game has the option to choose either quality or performance, one offering higher resolution for 1080p with quality, the other offering a higher frame-rate with performance. During my playthrough, it stayed locked at a very respectable 30 FPS. Either way you cut it, you’re getting a PS3 game on the Switch, and I expect it to look exactly as it does. If anything, it exceeded expectations after being slightly letdown from other open-world games.

It’s A Wrap!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Red Faction: Guerrilla was originally released. I say that mainly because no game since has met the scale of sheer destruction and explosive nature that RF:G displayed, and more so, reveled in. All these years later, it’s still not a perfect game by any means, and the story can feel a little bland, but the gameplay is a lot of fun once you get going. I had a lot of fun and was glad to finally play this one and finish off the series. I can recommend adding this one to the collection as a fun action game that will give you a lot to do, and will also allow you to have a lot of fun blowing things up while you do it.

Score: 8/10

Buy Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered from Amazon here.

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*Review Code Provided by Terminals

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