Billed as the "spiritual successor" to the first Red Faction and set fifty years after that adventure, Whiteside and his fellow teammates at Volition were also quick to gloss over the events depicted in the game's 2002 sequel, which took the action back to Earth. "We recognize that the first game is really the better game," admitted Whiteside. "Mars is a much more fun place to be, anyway."
But why the name? Why not simply Red Faction 3? It certainly rolls of the tongue better, anyway. Whiteside explained that the game is called Guerrilla because once more the Martian miners have again been stirred into a revolt, and have begun to try turn back the encroaching Earth Defense Force, or EDF, by any means necessary, i.e. guerrilla warfare. This means that you, playing as a miner yourself, fight back using not only stolen military weapons, but also modified mining tools, explosives, or anything else that isn't nailed down.
While the final number of weapons seems to be in a state of flux, Whiteside mentioned that the final game will include between eight and ten mining tools and at least that many conventional weapons, not to mention 20 or 30 drivable vehicles as well -- including a trio of mechs. However, even with all of this at your disposal, full-on assaults against the EDF will more often than not be met with failure (we died several times testing this theory). Instead, we found that quick hit-and-run tactics served up better results, and the most damage.
The game, of which we played just a small portion, is also said to be "completely open" from the onset, meaning that should you be so inclined, you could hop into a vehicle and drive anywhere in the game's 11 square kilometers from moment you press start. Of course, opponents get nastier as the game continues, so you'd be wise to beef up by playing through Guerrilla
's 22 story missions instead of seeking out the final boss with a pick axe, but who are we to tell you what to do. Despite what you might have been told, we're not
They tell us that the core game will take between 15 to 20 hours to complete, more so if you participate in side missions. One of these, as Whiteside described it, involves undermining the EDF's propaganda machine. As you rip down posters or destroy news kiosks spreading the EDF's message, you also help to increase the civilian morale on Mars, making those you meet more likely to join your cause.
This last bit is important, as here's where the game begins to take on elements of real-time strategy; as the Faction's numbers increase, you'll actually see more people fighting for your cause on the battlefield, leaving fewer numbers you'll have to face down on your own. The game includes six distinct areas, each with their own population ad morale value, so the greater this number, the more active the population will be in the fight against the EDF. This can't help but make us think back to Bullfrog classic, Syndicate
...let us pause for a moment of silence.That's enough
Also new this time around is how collateral damage is handled. Unlike the previous games, which featured a technology called Geo-Mod that ambitiously tried to let you destroy everything under the sun, destruction in Red Faction: Guerrilla
is instead focused on buildings, vehicles, and other artificial structures. So while it'll be impossible to burrow a 50-foot hole into the Martian landscape, Volition promises that anything
man-made in the game will be able to be burned, smashed, crumbled, or otherwise destroyed.
And all of this damage is persistent. In fact, the only time the game will rebuild anything is if it is deemed "mission critical." You could go across the world, and when you come back, all of the havoc you wrought will remain. Also interesting are the distinct lack of loading screens in the game. In fact, the team tells us that the only time the game loads is when you accept a mission, at which time any structures needed for that mission that have been destroyed are rebuilt.
We tested this out, of course, first splintering crates and barrels from a distance, and then demolishing buildings and eventually an entire bridge, cutting us off but also crushing an EDF patrol below the bridge in very satisfying fashion. In fact, it was this focus on destruction that led Volition to pull the camera back to the third-person in the first place. Explained Whiteside, "With all of these chunks of debris flying everywhere, in first-person you don't have a big enough view so that you can be aware of that piece of debris that comes flying at you and smashes into you." We're not sure we completely buy into that reasoning, but really first or third-person, the game is still a lot of fun to play, which honestly is more than we expected anyway.
When Red Faction: Guerrilla
was first revealed, we immediately wrote it off as a mistake. It took half an hour for the team at Volition to change our minds, and show that this is a game worth looking forward to. Now convinced, we can't wait to join the rebellion when the title ships for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in early 2009.