Whats the best way to rescue hostages from a building? Conventional gaming tactics dictate either the stealthy approach, or the run and gun approach - certainly I was never able to drive a jeep through a hailstorm of gunfire, nosedive straight through the wall of a building onto the second floor, before leaping out, smashing a hole in the floor with a sledge hammer to drop down by the hostages, before lobbing a couple of sticky bombs onto the ceiling to bring the jeep crashing down to ground level, before piling everyone in and the exiting through the back wall in a spray of debris and smoke. And now that I've done that, every game where I'm channeled along a corridor will feel less delightfully exuberant.
Of course there was the odd mishap with my rescue approach - a particular highlight was crashing through the building to gain quick access, before leaping out just in time to see the rest of the structure topple over onto the hostages. Hilarious. And its this kind of on the fly thinking that gives every single mission and objective in Red Faction such immense playability. If you want to straight shoot your way around, you can, and you're well catered for. The combat is nicely done, the physics exceptional. If you want to mix it up and toss a few strategic sticky bombs around then go right ahead. Make your own entrances into bases and buildings to meet your obective. If like me you want to charge in all guns blazing in a orgy of physical destruction, finally you can. Hooray!
A beautiful game in so many ways - Its a truly heart warming sight to take out the structural elements of a building and watch it crumble into a pile - the physics behind this sort of madness is exceptionally clever. Take out enough of a building to make it critical and you can see the buckling, you can sense the weight. A panel pops here, a window smashes there, and then it gradually caves in. Astounding. Truly it is a joy to behold. The physics have perfect weight and they're just the right side of arcade madness to keep things dynamic without getting stupid. Every single gun battle becomes a scene of chaotic carnage with bodies and debris everywhere. The missions themselves are well varied and take ample opportunity to give you free reign to destroy as much or as little as you need to.
Graphically its all rather lovely, with some great lighting and texturing. Buildings are by necessity fairly simple, but theres enough detail there to make them look good, especially when in delightful motion. Combat is good, driving is good, the sense of freedom well purveyed through Mars, and theres a ton of side objectives to complete and also mini destruction challenges which challenge your structural thinking as well as cater to the need to explode.
Its a far more cohesive 'world' than many free roaming games, and generally a pleasure to explore.
Problems are minor - some areas of the map are a little dull, and driving between distant sections can occasionally be a little grating. Theres a few too many 'vehicle fetch' missions, which are dull and the odd glitch with the localisation - prepare to enjoy being chatted to in German now and again.
Minor niggles all though, this is an awesome game - theres a huge amount of attention to detail, the world works just right, the balance between the factions and your presence is well set up, the missions are entertaining, the technology is astounding. Its a game of stories, a game that fills you with utter glee as an audacious and completely insane plan works, often not as intended - a building collapsing unplanned on the advancing soldiers, an enemy with a sticky bomb stuck to his foot, flailing and screaming - amazing and wonderful. Buy it.