Red Faction Re-Mars-tered Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Kaiko/Volition

Published By: THQ Nordic

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to THQ Nordic/Evolve PR for providing a review code

Mayhem, chaos, destruction the three elements that are needed to make a “smash” hit. Seriously, I love games that let you essentially blow up whatever you’d like. Many might think that it doesn’t take a lot of work to make games like this, but I beg to differ. To make a game solely about destruction you have to make it fun and interesting. That’s a hard thing to keep someones engagement with. If not done properly it can get repetitive. Luckily, this remaster of Red Faction does it quite well.

Story

You play as Alec a man who, after watching the death of his brother joins a group called the Red Faction. The Red Faction’s goal is to take back the colonized planet Mars from the EDF. The EDF has essentially enslaved the people on Mars to work for the good of the people on earth. it’s up to you to stop this travesty. If you’re going to take on this mission then you better ready your hammer, because it’s a smashing time.

The story is pretty bland and really treats itself as the typical vengeance style story. Don’t go into Red Faction expecting masterful storytelling. Most likely you will end up not paying much attention to the story.

Gameplay

Red Faction is a 3D open world third person shooter that’s fully centered around creating destruction and mayhem. The map is broken up into areas, each one under control by the Earth Defense Force (EDF). Your mission is to take back each area by completing the required storyline missions.

To actually liberate an area you’ll have to decrease the EDF’s control. This can be done by completing the game’s side missions known as Guerilla Actions. These Guerilla Actions can range from a variety of different mission types.

Missions can be anything from protecting a specific area from EDF forces, rescuing hostages, driving a vehicle to a safe house, and more. Some of these won’t always decrease control in the area, but may reward you instead with the game’s currency, “Salvage”.

There’s also buildings that can be found all around the map that are part of the EDF’s operation. These are marked with a blue star on the map and blowing these up will also lessen the EDF’s control in an area. I’m sure you’re starting to see a trend, this game involves a lot of blowing stuff up.

The combat system works as any third person shooter would. At first you’ll be equipped with nothing, but detonation explosives and your trusty sledgehammer. Eventually you’ll get access to tons if different guns, and not just normal ones. Will talk a bit more about what I mean by that later.

The sledgehammer is kind of the staple weapon. Smashing enemies skulls in and breaking down huge structures is a joy to do. It’s not something you’ll use all the time, but when you do, it’s fun.

Explosives & weapons such as the rocket launcher will be your main demolition tools during your playthrough. Some structures can take some time before they are finally destroyed. Let me tell you flailing away with your sledgehammer is not as efficient as launching a bunch of explosives. I had to destroy a bridge to lessen the control in one of the areas and I can definitely say that one took more than a few explosives.

EDF forces will constantly be patrolling the areas you’re missions take place in. While you can choose to blow them up, sometimes you gotta go the traditional route. There’s a vast array of guns that you can use to take out your opponents in Red Faction. They range from the typical assault rifle, shotgun and pistol, to the absolutely insane Nano Forge rifle that disintegrates whatever it touches. The weapons are fun to use and I’m happy there’s such a great variety between them. Although, there are some fun weapons that doesn’t necessarily make the combat itself enjoyable, but more on that later.

Some weapons can simply be unlocked by picking them off enemies. That won’t be the case for all weapons, however. There are some that may only be purchased using salavage. As I previously mentioned Salvage is acquired from destroying buildings and completing Guerilla Actions. Salvage not only buys weapons, but it can buy upgrades as well. If you want to increase your max ammunition, be able to take more damage, or even shoot two rockets from a launcher at once, Salvage is what you will need.

Another unique set of items that can be purchased with Salvage are the “Packs”. Each of these acts as a sort of futuristic backpack that attached to your back. Having one equipped will give you access to a specific ability. Some examples include, instant health recovery, increasing bullet damage, speed boost, invisibility, and the power to ram into buildings. The packs are a really nice addition to the game and help make things more interesting.

Because, fast traveling in Red Faction will only allow you to go to a few scattered safehouses, you’ll need to find another way to get around the map. While walking may seem like a good idea, it’s better to jump into a vehicle. You can find a few different vehicles scattered across the map each one with their own strengths. Some are more durable then others while others are faster. Some are even armed with weapons so you can take down enemies while on the run.

Red Faction may have aged a bit with time, but honestly, it’s still really enjoyable to play today. Blowing stuff up continues to be really enjoyable and while the open world isn’t as large as we’re used to in this day and age there’s enough in it to keep players busy. I think my one issue with the gameplay is specifically the combat.

As I mentioned, there’s a great variety in weapon choice for taking out, EDF scum with. That being said the combat doesn’t feel all that enjoyable. It’s not that it controls poorly as you can use the control stick and Gyro aiming, but it’s not overly entertaining. Blowing stuff up and driving around is great and when you’re using all the cool weapons you can unlock there’s some fun to be had. However, enemies feel relatively generic and there’s not much that really mixes up the combat against them. The farther you get into the story, the better weapons they have and the more there are. I wish the combat could have been more enjoyable, but unfortunately it became a bit boring after awhile.

Extras

If you’re looking for some multiplayer enjoyment with Red Faction then you’re in luck as online and local play are both included here. There’s also an additional mode, you can play solo or with a friend called “Wrecking Crew”.

Wrecking Crew is literally all about destruction. Your tasked with destroying and causing as much mayhem as you can around the map. It’s definitely a nice addition for those who just want to focus on some good old demolition.

Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mar-tered also includes its DLC campaign Demons of the Badlands.

Similar to the Darksider port to Nintendo Switch there’s also an option for choosing “High Performance” or “High Quality” mode. High performance givs an uncapped frame rate and lessens the game’s graphical fidelity. High Quality mode institutes a 30 FPS lock, but increases the game’s graphical prowess.

Presentation

It’s hard to describe Red Faction’s visual design, because it’s fitting with what the title’s trying to accomplish, yet also comes across a bit bland. Of course, this all takes place on the planet Mars and the environments do a great job at looking like it. A very brown, red color design is used for many environments and I get the vibes of a colonized planet Mars. The structures however, while fun to destroy aren’t very interesting. It’s unfortunate to get to a target of high importance only to come across another similar looking building to destroy. It ends up being the same problem with many of the enemy and NPC designs.

I won’t fault the somewhat bland environments since this is Mars we’re talking about. however, I can’t excuse the game’s lack of innovative design with many of the game’s other objects & structures. I will give a special mention to the weapons, however as they have been designed very well. The sound design is also lackluster and could have used a bit more work.

Technical Issues

Most of my playthrough of Red Faction was done in High Performance mode and I didn’t have too many issues with the game’s performance. There were some significant frame rate issues, but they didn’t happen often. For the most part Red Faction ran well in handheld and docked mode.

Summary

More and more open world style game’s are making their way to Nintendo Switch and soon we will have a good collection on our favorite hybrid console. Red Faction’s open world may not do anything new, and somewhat shows its age, but it’s still a solid package. The translation to Nintendo Switch was well done and destruction on the go has never been so entertaining, The combat hasn’t aged well and the visual design leaves a bit to be desired, but there’s no doubt that this is a game that players new and familiar to the series, can enjoy.

8/10

Pros

  • Destruction & Mayhem Has Never Been so Satisfying
  • An Arsenal of Weapons With Tons of Variety
  • Guerilla Actions Are Fun
  • Nice Vehicles
  • Full Package Including DLC
  • Choice of Performance & Quality Mode
  • Packs Are a Really Nice Addition
  • Gyro Controls Are a Welcome Addition

Cons

  • Mediocre Story
  • Combat Shows Its Age
  • Bland Character & Structure Designs
  • Lackluster Soundtrack
  • Some Frame Rate Issues

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