‘Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mars-tered’ struggles to hold up, but still feels otherworldly

‘Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mars-tered’ struggles to hold up, but still feels otherworldly

When it was announced that THQ Nordic, as part of its dip back into a back catalog of last-gen titles, would be remastering Volition’s Red Faction: Guerilla, my ears perked up.

This was a game released in the thick of the brown and bloom era, a game that felt par for the course while still feeling years ahead of its time with regard to its physics engine and destructible environments. It felt like a Red Faction game from the Saints Row team in 2009, and that’s exactly what it was.

And in the almost ten years since its debut, no game has achieved what Guerilla did with destructibility. So, of course, the first thing I did when I booted up this PS4/Xbox One remaster was head to the nearest building and start breaking it down.

In Red Faction: Guerilla, you play as Alex Mason, a fairly blank slated guy looking for a new lease on life on Mars by helping his brother with some contract work. That quickly devolves into Mason helping lead a rebellion on the red planet following his brother’s death at the hands of a fascistic overseeing group.

And the story itself is cut and dry, it’s the destruction you come here for.

So when that first mission promised to sate my want for destruction, I was obliged to dive in. Of course, the game’s technical difficulties made that pretty hard. Not only do the game’s colors feel blown out contrast-wise, but the game has frequent hiccups.

During the destruction of that first structure, the game stuttered forward. When large parts of the building would crumble, the game would lag and start skipping frames. I scaled back my attack, but when I detonated some remote bombs, the game froze, my screen went blank, and I was told the game had crashed.

OK, we’re talking about a pre-release remaster of a 2009 game. So I’ll cut it some slack. When I booted up the game again, I had lost my progress to that point. That’s fine, it was only about 30 minutes.

I never had an issue as devastating as that one, but at times, frames would lag and the audio of the game would crackle and cut out.

I powered through, though, because of the game is just that fun. Was this a test to see if the world was ready for another destructible, open-world Red Faction? Maybe. Let’s just hope the technical difficulties get patched and we get another chance to break everything down.

Because honestly, the destruction still feels so good. You can drop into a complex and take it down to its skeleton. Every wall, rafter and support beam can be broken, and the buildings fall like houses of cards when you hit them just right.

At the very least, I’d love to see this tech make a return. Crackdown 3 promised a bit of that a few years back, but we’ll just have to see if anything comes of it. For now, this dip into Guerilla is refreshing, despite its flaws.

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