Red Faction: Guerrilla

I don’t even wince anymore at people in movies or video games getting stabbed by knives or swords but, on occasion, I still catch my body tightening up when I see someone take a sledgehammer anywhere on their body. We have all been hit hard by something dull and weighty, intentional or not: it’s a very empathetic pain. This is possibly why using the sledgehammer in Red Faction: Guerrilla is one of my favorite melee weapons of all time. After a short opening cinematic setting the tone and a bit of exposition, you are given a sledgehammer and told to break stuff – it is surprisingly satisfying. Walls are thick (cement on the outside, steel framing and re-bar beneath) and they, along with most structures in the game can be destroyed.

Destroying a building is not just mindless fun either. Destroying structures can get you salvage. Salvage is a kind of currency, with which you can buy weapons, items and upgrades from a NPC. Destruction also becomes a major gameplay-changing element. If I’m on a mission rescuing hostages, normally I would fight my way in and out of where they are being held. In this game, I can instead go to the back room where they are and, using the sledgehammer, make an opening in the wall and allow them to escape.

The game world is broken up into sections and the story is advanced by raising morale within each section. Morale is raised by doing side quests and destroying certain property. Besides unlocking story missions, high morale has perks, one being other guerrillas coming to your aid when fighting breaks out. Honestly though, they get in the way more than they help. Completing missions unlocked by morale unlocks other zones, which in turn unlock other missions.

Besides the main-story missions, there are tons of side quests. These include destroying stuff from a vehicle while moving, bringing down buildings under a time limit with different tools and even racing from point A to B. That’s just some of the many quest types, although they do repeat from zone to zone.

These side quests bring up my major gripe of the game. Some of the side quests are unbelievably hard; if you are a completist, some missions will make you tear your hair out. The good news is that they are not required, just helping with the morale level to unlock story missions.

There were some issues with controls, the worst being the sensitivity. Barely moving the mouse caused my character to do a 720. I had to use mouse software to tune it down far enough so that it was controllable. Certain vehicles, however, required me to go back into the settings and turn it back up. This was annoying but not a game-breaker for me.

Starting this game, I honestly forgot that it was in played in third person. This gave me pause as there are far too few good third-person shooters/RPGs on the PC. Red Faction: Guerrilla turned out to be a good game that was enjoyable. If it didn’t have the bad console port control issues and the difficulty was lowered, it would have been a great game.

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