Remasters are funny things. The rose-tinted glasses effect has taken full control of this generation, for some reason we don’t seem content with the masterful creations developers are throwing our way, only meant for this era of consoles. Instead, we demand more. We demand developers forgo being creative and instead remake everything they made years ago shinier and 4K-ayer, only then will we achieve full zen..until we remember another game we loved from a previous generation and then the cycle repeats all over again.
I can’t think of a remaster that’s been released that I loved. It’s always fun to play through these games again but none of them recapture the same magic because they’re long in my rear view and they don’t have the same effect. Burnout Paradise Remastered played well and looked nice but I blitzed that game for all it was worth last generation. When I’m thirty games deep in my pile of shame why would I play through it again? Modern Warfare Remastered threw in microtransactions so that can get in the sea. The only remaster I’ve delved into properly is Assassin’s Creed Rogue, and that’s only because I never played it first time around. Remasters are a strange beast, so the question really has to be asked of all gamers around the world;
Who the hell asked for a remaster of Red Faction Guerrilla?
Red Faction Guerrilla was good. Great, even, in parts. It was never, in my eyes, an all time classic that really warranted another dip into. Though it sits at a pretty impressive 85 on Metacritic, I don’t think we’ve ever had a discussion of ‘yeah, I’d like to play that again’ at Finger Guns Towers. At the time of release way back in 2009, it was eclipsed in the open world ranking by a certain game going by the name of Grand Theft Auto IV. Are THQ Nordic with this release hoping for a second wind? As I said, Guerrilla never blew me away but it was fun in places. Sadly the places it fell down really stand out nowadays, especially next to the games it’s trying to compete against.
Red Faction Guerrilla is a third person shooter in a very, very orange open world with a solid campaign that will have you doing an awful lot of the same thing over and over again. Guerrilla always had a single cool mechanic which was quite simply blowing the ever living hell out of everything that you see. Blowing shit up is naturally always rather fun and it’s a mechanic here that’s overused within an inch of its life and as such, becomes rather uninspired by the time you get near the games end. It’s the very same issue I had with Just Cause 3 this generation, if you can make blowing up enormous buildings really dull, there’s something very wrong with how you’ve balanced everything else.
Back in the day the physics they used to destroy everything was rather awesome. There weren’t many other games like it where you could destroy every building you saw if you so wished and it made the game stand out. It almost put everything else on the backburner. Story, pacing, shooting, enemy AI. Everything else apart from the destruction was weak and uninspired and now in a world of Agents of Mayhem, State of Decay and, dare I say, Crackdown, it’s not special anymore. It doesn’t make the game unique. At this second time at bat it’s been taken over by games that aren’t particularly good and yet do what Guerrilla was famous for better than it.
It features one of my all time pet peeves with a selection of open world games and that’s the ‘you can’t do the next mission until you do some side missions’ mechanic. It’s infuriating, especially when you’re reviewing and against the clock. When you need to power through sections but the game simply isn’t allowing you to because it wants you to destroy more stuff so you can crack on with destroying other stuff the whole ‘complete this area before moving on to another’ is annoying, and makes me happy it became a little obsolete as the genre moved on. I’m happy to go back and do them later, but I want to carry on with the story. It’s an open world, why aren’t I given that option?
Despite this, Red Faction Guerrilla knows what it is, and when your backs against the wall it is rather fun to blow up bridges whilst a bunch of goons are running over it and watch them all land on top of each other under a pile of rubble. There is one single idea here and that’s just ‘run around Mars and blow shit up’ and for the most part, it does its job rather well, despite feeling like it doesn’t really belong in this generation. This 4K remaster doesn’t look particularly great but has a rather charming aesthetic to it, it’s clear there’s been a hike in resolution and whilst everything now is super orange (I’ve been playing on PS4 Pro and blimey, I’ve had to mess with the colours on my TV to tone it down a bit) it all looks shiny enough to justify it, it’s certainly eliminated the washed out feel of the original game that made it look like it was running on an PS2 in places. The human faces still look a bit odd though and it’s remarkably buggy in places.
And there’s the shining beacon of Red Faction Guerrilla, Wrecking Crew. A mode that is quite simply ‘destroy as much as you can just for funsies’. This is a mode that was made exactly for nothing more than just straight up destruction and it remains a stupidly fun exercise. Away from the campaign it makes more sense to just put me in a situation where destruction is the only goal. It’s a good laugh and has had me coming back a few times should I feel like jumping on a leaderboard and tearing shit down with my rhino special move and my trusty sledgehammer.
And that’s what Red Faction Guerrilla is, essentially. It’s a barren open world where you can destroy everything. It’s fun in bursts but one would imagine you’re pushing yourself through it if you choose to play the entire 30-hour experience.
It simply doesn’t hold up ten years after release, and whilst we can kick back and enjoy the wanton destruction for a little while, it just isn’t enough to hold the attention for as long as the game is asking of you.
Note: Re-Mars-tered also includes a multiplayer segment I’ve been unable to try out before embargo. I’ll be playing through it this week and adding my thoughts to this review.
Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is available on Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro) and Steam.
Developer: Kaiko / Volition (original)
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please click here.