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Red Faction: Guerrilla: Re”Mars”tered Edition (PS4, Steam)

Freedom, Independence, and a pursuit of all who threaten it. If the Red Faction series could be summed into one tagline, that would be a fitting tag to be billed. First debuting on the PlayStation 2 in 2002, Red Faction introduced players to a vicious Martian civil war, where miners fight the vicious Ultor Mining Corporation in a bloody conflict for liberation against oppression. Known for its gunplay, violence, and environmental-altering graphical technology, 

Red Faction quickly earned the status of a PlayStation Greatest Hit and became a revered favorite. A sequel, Red Faction II, was released sometime later, and while it was a solid shooter, it was a very loose successor to the original, negating the sharp impact of the first. In 2008, the series returned to roaring acclaim with Red Faction: Guerilla, a successor that went all-in on its environmental destruction and gave players one of the most enjoyable action games in 2008. It was to the complete surprise of everyone that Red Faction: Guerilla was not only returning but was coming back for modern systems with redone textures and optimization to current consoles. While the game is nearly 10 years old, playing Red Faction: Guerilla Re”MaRS”tered edition is a refreshing action experience, as well as a fondness for a different time in video games.

Red Faction Guerilla Re”MARS”tered Edition is an updated remastering of the original game, Red: Faction Guerilla. Taking place 100 years after the events of the original PlayStation 2 game, players take on the role of Alex Mason, who travels to Mars for a better living following the economic collapse of the Earth. The planet is oppressed by a tyrannical, class-focused government that uses the EDF to enforce law and order. Miners are forced to mine, refine, and excavate in relentless conditions, while their cuts go to the rich and wealthy. In this bleak future, it’s the only place to find work. While on a routine operation with his brother, the EDF attack, and Alex’s brother, the last thing he had to family, is killed. Like it or not, Alex joins the Red Faction. While many describe them as rebellious and even a band of terrorists, they may be the only hope for the freedom and liberation of Mars.

Red Faction: Guerilla plays as an open world action game, where players are encouraged to strike back against the oppressive earth defense force. However, as the name implies, a player isn’t simply a rebel. They are a guerrilla fighter. You are quick and they are slow. You are discreet and they are obvious. You are small and they are big. Your advantage is to use their weapons against them, tear down their platforms of influence, unite the people, and ultimately fight as one to take back the planet. To this, players will need to reduce EDF influence in the area and raise morale amongst the people. To do both will require a lot of destruction.

Alex Mason isn’t a soldier, but he knows how to use a gun. His biggest strength is his proficiency in explosives, and the sole purpose of an explosive is to destroy an obstacle. As an open world action game, Red Faction Guerilla introduced players to physics-based destruction, where bombs can bring down buildings and smashing a truck through an outpost yielded incredible explosive effects. That same gameplay is present in the Re”Mars”tered edition. Players will have a constant sense of reward, throwing bombs on enemy bases and seeing them erupt in spectacular, dazzling explosions. In Red Faction: Guerrilla, pieces of the enemy will literally fly everywhere.

Alex will have a wide variety of tools and weapons to use, ranging from the standard EDF assault rifle to a mining weapon modified to fire explosive rockets. Using these weapons is great, but it’s the creative uses that will keep players aggressively engaged. Players can throw charges on a truck, ram that truck into an installation, escape, then turn the truck into a giant bomb. That’s one of the many tactics players can execute in Red Faction Guerilla. Additionally, players have a powerful sledgehammer, that can be used to destroy objects, and swung to instantly kill any enemy. Players will also have a variety of devastating vehicles to acquire, such as a tank, APC’s and construction mechs, similar to Ripley’s mech in Aliens. Players will need to be careful using these weapons and equipment as civilians can be caught in the crossfire and could hurt your efforts in raising morale. The higher the morale, the more encouraged colonials will be to fight alongside you. The lower the EDF influence, the more missions that are unlocked, which range wildly in their objectives and goals.

Playing Red Faction Guerilla isn’t just nostalgic but also extremely well-done, even on today’s systems. Open-world action in today’s gaming climate ranges from super agent Rico in Just Cause to the wild characters from Agents of Mayhem. Red Faction: Guerilla came at a time before either of those titles existed, bringing strong gameplay. For Red Faction: Guerilla Re”MARS”tered edition, that gameplay still holds strong, and is bolstered for the optimization. Explosions and destructions are abound in Red Faction: Guerilla and it is a constant reward. It is also worth noting that the game has all DLC from the original installment, as well as multiplayer modes. The multiplayer feels slightly tacked on, but it should provide entertainment for the completionists out there.

Red Faction

The only real drawback with the “Re-Mars-stered” is that despite the technical achievements and add-ons, not much else was added. No new levels or weapons have been added to the new experience. A few technical mishaps are also present. There were audio cut-outs and some frame-rate drops when the action became too intense. Additionally,  I would have also timed this with a remaster of Red Faction: Armageddon in a hopeful bid that THQ Nordic will make a new installment. Some of the grievances I have, however, must take into account that this is a 2009 video game, built on great ideas from that year, coming back in 2018, in a time where many new and innovative ideas have been presented. To that end, the game’s shortcomings are expected but do not detract from an otherwise great game. 

Red Faction: Guerilla Re”Mars”tered edition is a wonderful blast to a recent past that still just as great to play today as it was nearly ten years ago. The explosive and destructive mechanics are among the very best that video games can provide today. While the story is weak and the gunplay is limited, the overall open-world action and interesting sci-fi setup make this a fantastic action experience. If you need to blow off some steam, be sure you are playing Red Faction Guerilla Re”Mars”tered Edition.

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