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    dkirschner's Red Faction: Guerrilla (PC)

    [August 20, 2011 05:50:12 AM]
    The Marauders really ARE rocket scientists! Thanks DLC story! That would have been good to know during the regular campaign. DLC was fun, learn the backstory for how Sam allied with the RF, learn about the divide between her and her sister. This little snippet actually showed some character development and meaningful plot. One thing DLCs can be good for is making up for some of the shortcomings of the regular game. The areas were a little cooler designed too. Good DLC.

    Can't play online against anyone. Can't find a full game, just a couple people. Either I've got network problems or there really isn't anyone playing. The only one I've been able to get into is that spectator team bagman yesterday. Maybe try again later. Red Faction out.
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    [August 19, 2011 10:56:55 PM]
    Finished the campaign last night. The odd thing is all the difficulty I was complaining about in my last post kind of let up when I picked the game up again. It might have actually gotten easier, or been that and a combination of me figuring out how to deal with the swarm better, I'm not sure. Anyway, that mission at the end of Sector 3 to blow up the 5 jets I completed easily first try when I came back to it.

    One thing that helped was getting the jet pack. Yes, you get a jet pack, and it is sweet! You can boost yourself up to higher places, which made it easier both to run from enemies and to infiltrate their bases without running through the open. Another trick I picked up is to stay in the car. When the car is about to get blown up, find another one fast, preferably armored, and continue. And finally, I learned that my fellow guerrillas are not worthless after all. They make great cannon fodder, morale be damned. In some of the later story missions I was having trouble with, I learned the key was patience. The last segment of the game is an elaborate final stand against the EDF as the Red Faction fires a nano missile at the Hydra, EDF's giant gunship that is set to blow Mars to bits to kill the Red Faction. To make it feel like an actual rebellion, as was the point of 'morale' and other guerrillas aiding you throughout the game (where it fell flat until the end), a ton of guerrillas infiltrate/defend the same areas as you. I initially tried to go lone wolf, like I had the entire game, in these final missions, but was being slaughtered. I actually got really irritated because of the perceived difficulty. It was literally impossible to do these missions without other guerrillas. Again, I'm not sure if the game makes it so there are more enemies if you go alone, if enemies diffuse a bit when the guerrillas are there, or what the deal it, but it made a HUGE difference when I slowed down and moved with the rest of the guerrillas. They absorbed fire, killed some EDF, and generally made it so I could blow stuff up without much interference.

    So, the difficulty decreased/I got smarter. After playing more, my favorite part of the game is the physics, bringing down buildings (bridges are my favorite). Even though they all fall differently, it gets repetitive, but it's still the best part. Most everything else was lacking. The story is bare. There's this mysterious third faction that does absolutely nothing the entire game and then at the end, omg, turns out they're like rocket scientists and are the only ones who can help the Red Faction fend off the EDF, and there's a cheesy thing about working together to save the planet for everyone. I didn't care one bit about the characters. At one point, it's a big deal that the 'commander' of the Red Faction is killed by an aerial bombardment, but I didn't even realize there was a commander, or that this guy I'd been talking to was a commander or was in any way important besides the voice in my ear that gave me main story missions. And the whole backstory about the main character's brother being killed by the EDF wasn't moving at all.

    The story missions had to do with the story, of course, but they were mostly just elaborations of normal missions, which were all the same: blow stuff up. My favorite mission type (demolitions in the last post; now I really dislike them) was to ride gunner for this funny NPC (the only humor in the game) and cause $X in property damage while he drives around and rants about the new Mars. Some of the things he talks about are developing a new Mars language, which he speaks sometimes, screaming at the EDF to 'go back to Earth,' etc. His character is kind of like the Southern American or Texan who wants to keep the US free of immigrants, except...Mars and immigrants. It's not exactly parallel, but that's what he reminded me of and I found him amusing. Sadly, he was the only character with any distinct personality.

    The other missions were humdrum. Attack EDF outpost/defend RF outpost from EDF. Rescue hostages and drive them to base. Drive a parked car to base. Blow up a building. Blow up a car. Steal a car and drive it to base. Oh oh, the mech ones were cool too though. I offhandedly said this last time, but mechs and heavy guns are really fun to pilot. The mechs crush eeeeeverything! This mission type called Heavy Metal puts you in a mech and says destroy X EDF vehicles or personnel. Like the Riding Shotgun (or whatever it's called) missions, you just wreak havok for a while. With the physics and the awesomeness of demolishing buildings, plus the near-invincibility of the mech/tank/giant metal thing with guns, the best part of the game, to get specific, is annihilating buildings/bases/vehicles/infantry/etc and watching them all fall/explode/die/be crushed/etc.

    The anticipation of blowing stuff up in that invincible manner made me continue on with the game I think, and every so often, I'd get to do just that. I quit trying to collect scrap a long time ago because my weapons worked fine, and I could take EDF weapons too when I wanted. I started finding these 'secrets' at the end, which were green blips on the map that revealed some kind of backstory by terrible voice actors, who were probably just staff working on the game because I'm pretty sure the pictures of 'victims' of the shuttle crash they talked about were the actual people working on the game. Anyway, I literally found my first one (out of 36 or so) about an hour before I beat it. Apparently if you find more, you can strap some big bomb to a vehicle, which I did, and blow up the vehicle for a massive explosion, which I didn't do because I immediately forgot I had a bomb strapped to my car, and I was driving it to begin a mission anyway, so I promptly lost it. There are also ore mines you can find, of which I got about half. I didn't even purchase 3 of the weapons until after I finished the game, just to see them. They look neat and all, but to purchase all the weapons and upgrades, I would have had to spend a ton more time just blowing up things for scrap metal...booooring. I used the sledgehammer, assault rifle, rocket launcher, and nano rifle nearly the entire game.

    I never mentioned one other cool feature of RF:G. That is the yellow paths you can follow to your destination. If you open the map and right click on a mission marker or priority target or whatever, you get a nice route to it shown on the map and on the road when you're driving, so you just follow it. You rarely get lost. It's handy for a game set on Mars where there's just terrain everywhere and it would be very easy to get lost, and very annoying to try and refer to the map every few seconds. Oh, but that said, the entire environment looks the same. There is so little variation in landscape, buildings, enemies, and vehicles, it's kind of sad. Technically it IS Mars, and it's the Red Planet and all, but come on now. They even demarcated 6 sectors, but my god, who can tell the difference if not for the lines on the map?

    I've still got a couple more things to do before I stop playing. One, there's a bonus mission that (fingers crossed) might be interesting. Two, online play. I went into spectator mode last night and watched a game of 'team bagman' which is where there's a bag, and if you hold the bag, your team gets points. But when you hold the bag, you're lit up on the map and the other team comes to kill you. So you just play keep-away basically. But online play incorporates like 10 types of jet packs, plus keeps the physics of single-player! Sniper in the window? Destroy the building. So you have backpacks, as they call them, that turn you briefly invisible, let you see through walls, let you charge through walls, let you send out a concussion blast in a radius around you, etc. etc. It looks really fun and I will likely try it out over the next couple days. I think there are also some different weapons, so we shall see.

    To wrap up the single-player campaign, RF:G can be very engaging at times, and other times highly frustrating/boring/repetitive. It probably depends how much you like watching buildings fall as to how much you like the game overall, or how long watching buildings fall can sustain your interest. I wouldn't recommend the game, since the physics are the only thing it excels at, and by proxy, that feeling of 'wow, I caused a lot of damage...' Everything else has been done way better. I still say I'd rather play Just Cause 2, which I do highly recommend. But again, I'll see how the multi-player is. That might be enough reason to recommend at least that mode.
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    [August 9, 2011 10:16:21 PM]
    RF:G is like a lesser Just Cause 2. It's smaller in scale and scope, got a far less interesting story, less interesting weapons, and less interesting physics. The one thing Red Faction is best as doing is allowing you to (more) realistically destroy things. You can destroy everything, eeeeverything, and it is fun doing it. Buildings crumble differently every time. You can shoot rockets at them, plant explosives strategically on the support beams, or simply demolish them with your sledgehammer. I've never blown up a building, but I imagine this is what it's like.

    At the very beginning of the game, I had a huge grin plastered on my face as I realized I could literally smash everything to bits. I went to town on a wall. I went to town on a car. I went to town on a building, and even tried to go to town on other Red Faction members (morale drops, they attack you, and eventual game over; bad idea!) After obliterating everything I saw for an hour, I got real bored and started doing more missions. But missions generally also involve blowing things up, so after another couple hours I was getting bored of the missions. Then I just started trying to do story missions to move it along, but the story is real thin and it also involves...blowing stuff up.

    I think my goal here is to figure out why blowing stuff up in Red Faction, even though it's more realistic and you get an awesome sledgehammer, isn't as fun as blowing stuff up in Just Cause 2. A couple things do come directly to mind:

    1) JC2 goes for over-the-top-ness instead of realism. This allows you to feel like a badass in JC2, but not so much in RF:G. I do feel like a badass in RF:G when it's just me and the buildings, but as soon as enemies come along, I'm a weakling. In JC2, you had this grappling hook as a weapon/tool, could parachute everywhere, steal any vehicle, scale buildings, and so on. That grand sense of scale and those superhero/superspy type feats aren't here.

    2) Enemies are like unrelenting fire ants/killer bees in RF:G. There is a heat meter like in all these open-world action games where the more damage you cause, the more enemy attention you attract. In RF:G, that bar rises so fast, and if you so much as touch an enemy signpost, it escalates from green (no threat) to yellow. And since you can't initiate missions unless it's green, this becomes quickly annoying. More annoying is that the only reliable way to decrease the heat meter is to drive all the way back to a safehouse. You can't just hide and reduce the meter. So even the simplest little action turns into a massive firefight that I either die from or I run screaming back to a safehouse.

    3) Enemies are hard and I don't have the firepower to stop them. They swarm so much in this game, I am always quickly flanked, cover destroyed, and I don't have the weapons and ammo to deal with them. Basically once the heat meter gets to orange, I have to leave the area or else I can't finish destroying my target or whatever I'm doing because I have to put all attention on fighting or running to live. I spent the better part of an hour last night trying to get these last 16 Control points, which involved blowing up just one medium priority building. It got really frustrating. Then when I finally achieved that, I went on to the final mission in the zone, and it starts with the heat meter on red, and I've been unable to finish so far simply because there are so many enemies.

    4) Story in RF:G is so boring and characters are totally flat. Compare this to JC2, which on the most basic level has the same story, to topple a regime, but does it with so much more style. Characters have interesting personalities and relationships, they're voiced better, they're funnier, they're more involved in what you have to do, etc. etc. It really does make a difference.

    And just to describe a bit, the idea of the game is the Earth Defense Force (EDF) are the brutal overseers on Mars, terraformed it, and now rule it with an iron fist. You're part of a miner uprising to liberate 6 sectors from EDF control. There's also a mysterious third faction of bandits who you don't really know who they are or where they come from, but they're hostile to everyone. They remind me of the Mad Max universe, but on Mars. So in each sector, there is a Morale meter and Control meter. Morale is the morale of the regular oppressed population of the sector. You raise morale by completing missions, destroying propaganda, etc. The higher morale, the more ammo you find in weapon caches and the more likely random civilians are to grab a gun and run around helping you fight. This second aspect is entirely useless, as there are so many more enemies that they make quick work of the civilian. And when the civilian dies, you get -1 morale. So really, every time a civilian joins up, I roll my eyes, because it means I'm going to get -1 morale since they can't stay alive. Useless is a good word.

    The Control meter is like JC2's destruction meter sort of. Some buildings are marked red, and others are marked specifically as low, medium, or high priority targets. Blowing these up causes the EDF to lose some Control in the sector. The catch here is that you have to have 0 Control in the sector before you can begin the final mission in each sector. Again, just like JC2 where you have to cause certain amounts of destruction to unlock missions. Except in JC2 missions are more varied and fun, and there are about 10x more of them.

    My favorite mission type here is the demolitions one. They're kind of like little puzzles where you have to blow up some structure with a specific amount and configuration of weapons within a specific time frame. So, destroy this building with 8 remote charges and 10 barrels of hydrogen gas in 3 minutes. They started off real easy, but have gotten more difficult, like this one I really enjoyed learning how to do. There were 12 barrels of hydrogen and 10 remote charges. The target building was way down a cliff, but there were four big pipes leading from the ledge down to the building. So obviously you need to toss the barrels down the pipes, they roll out next to the building and then you blow them up. First though you need to attach the remote charges to the barrels. Now, two of the pipes are close by. The other two are out of range of the mission area (stay out of the mission area for like 7 seconds and fail the mission), but I realized after some time that I absolutely had to figure out a way to toss barrels down the far pipes. I was only blowing up 2 sides of the building at best using the nearby pipes. So after some trial and error I found a way to aim and hurl barrels down one of the far pipes without running the mission area timer out. The last hurdle was that, even though I'd figured this out, the building still wasn't collapsing. I had an aha moment and decided to attach half the charges, toss those barrels down and destroy them, and then do like a 'round 2' and attach the other half and toss the rest of the barrels, so that they'd roll farther now that some walls had been brought down. I did it, success! That one was nice and thoughtful, and I hope there are more like it.

    That's all I've got here. I'm about halfway through the game (3/6 sectors liberated). I'll probably bump the difficulty down to easy from normal and see if that helps with the swarming, and press on. I thought about quitting, but it is fun as long as the heat isn't too high. Also, some of the multiplayer looks interesting, so I'd like to try that out too. Or I could just toss my hands up and say I'd just play more JC2 for a better version of the same thing. But who knows, maybe it gets better. Oh, and there are mechs in RF:G. The anticipation of busting through walls and smashing cars with a mech really is a motivating factor in this decision.
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    dkirschner's Red Faction: Guerrilla (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 9 August, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 20 August, 2011

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Can get really intense, can be a lot of fun, can also be ridiculously difficult and overwhelming. Long live sledgehammers. ------------ Decent game, going on destructive rampages with tanks and mechs is the best part. Would give this a 3.5 if I could give halves.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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