Red Faction II
The Last shell casing falls to the floor as my final enemy crumples in a bloody heap before me. Clawed hands pull away from mouse and keyboard and I lean back in my chair, sighing with relief as the epilogue to Red Faction II begins to play itself out. The world has been liberated from the clutches of DNA-meddling evil doers once again, tyranny soundly beaten by a genetically-enhanced turncoat of a super soldier, a couple of computer-controlled chums and an arsenal of weapons.
Over the course of the last few hours I've decapitated zombies, blown security guards across collapsing hallways, killed soldiers, more zombies, more soldiers, shot down a couple of aircraft and dispatched hordes of exploding cyber-spiders. And in-between such relentless action I've had the pleasure of navigating a minisub through murky waters, firing missiles from an Aesir Fighter, taking on all-comers in a tank and stomping around in a Battle Armour suit. And you know what? It was all rather uninspired, only occasionally fun and very, very short Much was made of Volition's Geo-Mod engine when it debuted in the original game, with its claims of destructible terrain. Largely disappointing it was too. But instead of going all out to make Geo-Mod the unique technology it was intended to be, the engine seems hardly to have progressed while the claims have been generously toned down. Visually, aside from higher resolution textures, more detailed characters and a few extra effects, there is very little graphical difference between the two Red Faction games.
The subterranean Martian locales of game one have been substituted here for levels set closer to home on earth. The story involves you and your squadmates in a fight - along with the titular terrorists - against the evil tyrant Chancellor Sopot (he's got a big moustache to prove it). Again, it's the well-wom story of the elite soldier made obsolete, starring a bunch of humourless one-dimensional characters. Not that such things as narrative, plot and characterisation should ever get in the way of some good old-fashioned bloodletting.
Best Foot Forward
Red Faction II is a deeply unsatisfying game to play. Unlike the very worst games in existence, which within seconds you know have nothing to offer, Red Faction II teases you to continue with the promise that finding the Rail Dnver gun with its patented shoot-through-walls ability will somehow make the business of dispensing with the enemy more pleasing. Or that reaching the bit with the tank will alleviate the drudgery of the on-foot missions. But when you do reach these moments of fleeting excitement, they don't tend to last long. No sooner have you entered the Battle Armour, let off a few missiles and twirled it's dual chainguns in the general direction of a few zombies, you're forced to abandon it and tread wearily towards the game's conclusion on foot. Fortunately, the end is never very far away.
You could conceivably read every word in this magazine in the time it takes to finish RF2. that's how brief the adventure is. Whether you'd enjoy the game more would depend on how much you like reading the Hardware section. But two things are for sure: you'd be considerably lighter of wallet and you'd certainly miss out on that warm fuzzy reading one of Martin's editorials gives you' (the cheque's in the post - Ed).
To give you an idea, from installation to completion, the FPS veteran can expect to run though Red Faction II in under six hours on the Medium difficulty setting, effectively meaning that with no multiplayer options, the game will very probably end up gathering dust before it's seen its first sunset. To make up for Ulis brevity, the developer has included a botmatch mode, which is a decent enouy diversion, but hardly a patch on the offline bots of either Unreal Tournament or Quake III. There are also extra features to unlock for those who lost the receipt or who bought the game from a shop that doesn't have a returns policy. But even for a relatively low price of $20. Red Faction II represents rather poor value.
But it can't be all bad, can it? To be honest, apart from its length, there isn't anything particularly wrong with Red Faction II as a piece of uninspired and mindless entertainment. Similarly, there isn't anything noteworthy either. It's uncomplicated, easy to get to grips with, simple to follow, and offers some variety in the missions, with truly dull moments being relatively rare. Early on, especially, the Al is pretty good. Had the developer seen the sense to remove some of the bad language, tum the characters into big blobby creatures and the blood into custard, Red Faction II would've been a perfect FPS trainer for three-year-olds. Unfortunately, most of us have had some experience of first-person shooters, and there are better and more rewarding games available at half the price. Don't waste your money on this.
Download Red Faction II
The original Red Faction easily claimed the early PS2 first-person-shooter crown with its sharp graphics and deformable terrain. This year, the competition has gotten fiercer, and luckily, so has this innovative FPS. You want improvements? How about the new double-pistol action, controllable vehicles, squad-based gameplay and improved Geo-Rama destructible-terrain system?
According to developer Volition, its better to be red than dead. For the follow-up to last years Mars-based first-person shooter, mining uniforms and Total Recall-inspired underground cave break-outs have been shelved in favor of overdeveloped cyborg warriors packing more destruction in their pockets than what you might find in Ted Nugents shed.
What Volition has attempted to pull off in Red Faction II is a dystopian look into the future, complete with Sopot, a totalitarian leader who plasters his visage on every massive red curtain he can find. Although the plots reasonably fleshed-out (Sopots condemned you and five other super soldiers to death, and youre not too happy about it), it isnt required reading. Mainly because the high number of goons youll be cutting down in various Earth locales instantly makes you forget the nuances of overthrowing regimes.
Instead, twitch with excitement as you think about the next armor-plated schmuck youll be tearing to pieces, using a weapon (see pg. no for some of the 14 available) that would make Halo Master Chief soil his rusty britches in envy.
The much-acclaimed Geo-Mod game engine from the last Faction makes a return in the sequel. In tandem with some of the heavier weapons, you can lay waste to plenty of scenery and even open up new areas by being recklessly adventurous. Of course, not everything in the environment is destructible. Youll see inconsistencies like planks of wood that take countless grenades without a splinter, or concrete walls that fly apart after a quick prodding, but those are minor quibbles. Its the combat enhancements in Red Faction II thatll really make you take notice. First up, youve got your teammates to help you. These cookie-cutter sidekick stereotypes include the slinky Tangier, the walking man-mountain Repta, the curiously stoic sniper Quill and the annoyingly loud, half-retarded Shrike.
These guys can act as drivers and pilots in the numerous vehicle segments of the game, leaving both your hands free to return fire on pursuing enemies or to rain death from above. Teammates also tag along for some of the more footy missions. Dont worry, action fanatics, the pace of the game wont be dragged down by ordering your troops around or by tedious squad-based strategies instead, these A.I. drones will automatically watch your back and pepper hapless enemies while you take point.
In terms of controls, Red Faction II is more versatile than most games in the genre. If youre one of those gamers who just cant stand the PlayStation 2 controller and require precision cap-popping courtesy of a mouse and keyboard, then Red Faction II is your game. You buy the USB keyboard and mouse, the flat surface to rest them on and the medical bills for your carpal tunnel syndrome. Finally, fans of multiplayer fragdowns will be more than a little excited to learn this game has a variety of environments, deathmatch bots, match types and well-toned future warriors from which to choose in the multiplayer modes. The stages are exceptional and look larger than those seen in recent first-person shooters like 007: Agent Under Fire and Half-Life. Plus, Red Faction II offers environmental variations, such as trampolines. Maybe well get to set up our own crazy Slamball tournaments! We came away slightly dazed by the games ultra-violence interspersed with mini-game stages. Dont expect a revolution with the reds this time. The gameplay in Red Faction II isnt anything you havent already seen, but its addictive, seat-of-your-pants, adrenalinepumping action is still pretty enthralling. You may have to leave your brain at the door, but for those of you aching to tag bad guys in near-future body armor, prepare to be welcomed into the faction.
After the creation of nano-technology changed the balance of power on Earth, numerous would-be dictators continually stole the technology until General Sopot obtained it. Using it to enhance soldiers well beyond their own capabilities, Sopot then created an army of super-soldiers that overtook the Commonwealth. Firmly in control, Chancellor Sopot oppressed the Commonwealth and started a tireless war to unify with the United Republic. Unfortunately for the nano-enhanced soldiers, Sopot began to fear them and hunted them down, killing all but a handful. As a team member of the last nano-enhanced unit, you may be the last chance the Commonwealth has to be free of Sopot's tyrannical rule.
Red Faction 2 is a first person shooter that delivers a complete package, leaving little room for disappointment. The graphics will meet most expectations and even show semi-realistic damage to the environment you're fighting in. Grenades for instance will blow holes in walls and stray bullets can destroy other items like computers or chairs. Other issues, like a strong AI, also adds to the experience as enemies will try to run if they take too much damage or become outgunned and push an attack if they have the upper hand.
In addition, a well-designed story line will unfold that will put you in a variety of vehicles and even have multiple endings depending on player actions. This greatly improves the replay value and when combined with the multiplayer options, should keep it fresh for some time.
Without a major problem and solid performances in most areas, Red Faction 2 will impress fans as one of the better first person shooters released this year. Those who have become tired with this genre may want to revisit it, as Red Faction 2 will definitely be worth the risk.
So you've an enhanced super soldier designed to be the ultimate weapon. Vastly superior to your enemies, what could possibly cause you any concern? Of course being created by a paranoid dictator who comes to fear his own creation generally doesn't sit well especially when the decision is made to terminate the entire project. Red Faction II is a first person shooter that controls one of these hunted soldiers as his squad sets out on a mission, repaying their less than grateful leader. Based on a solid albeit short plot, Red Faction II brings together a number of key elements that made it one of the better first person shooters released last year.
One of the more entertaining elements Red Faction II uses that most other games ignore is the ability to destroy your environment. Walls, desks, and windows among other things are often destroyed in combat creating a more real experience. Hiding behind objects now becomes hazardous as you'll often find yourself back in the line of fire and new paths can be found by punching holes in walls. Other elements like well designed controls that are easily adapted to and decent graphics with animations that are well detailed and entertaining will keep fans of this genre more than satisfied.
Unfortunately, there are also a few areas that hold the game back. The major issue is how quickly the single player mode can be completed. Within six to eight hours, most experienced players will have finished the game leaving only the multiplayer mode. Although the multiplayer mode offers hours of gameplay, if you don't plan on using it, renting may be a better option.
Red Faction II puts together a complete experience that will disappoint few. Although almost a direct port from the Playstation 2, it still stands out as one of the better first person shooters on the market. The length of the single player mode is worth considering, however, and renting may be a better option for those not interested in the multiplayer options.
You are one of the elite'a super soldier; smarter, faster and stronger than the bad guys' until you become one of the bad guys. Under Chancellor Sopot, you and an army of volunteers were transformed to take on the rebels, but soon Sopot began to fear his creation and ordered you and your buddies destroyed. Now it's up to you to take on Sopot's Elite Guard and take out the monster you helped create.
Red Faction II for the Xbox plays like most typical first-person shooters with a less than interesting plot, generic characters and fair voice acting. The single player game will take you less than 8 hours to whip through, but those eight hours are often intense and typically fun to play. The maps tend to guide players through the game on a short leash, but again, the frenetic pace of Red Faction more than makes up for the lack of free will.
Controls are easy to pick up, and in fact, are a little too easy to learn mostly because they are so overly simplified, offering little more than basic movements and weapons selections to choose from during battle. Luckily, your desire to destroy things in new and interesting ways will be more than satisfied once you hop into one of the game's vehicles. The game has an interesting approach to vehicle play, allowing you to either control a vehicle completely or just ride along as a gunner. The gunship and tank offer a satisfactory wallop but the segments featuring them play more like a sit-and-shoot rail shooter, while the freewheeling controls of the battle suit and submarine will leave you hungry for more vehicle rampage play-time.
This game still relies heavily on the destructible environments that made Red Faction such a unique franchise way back when, but unfortunately the ability to blow holes in walls isn't really that unique any more and there are plenty of games out there that do a better job. For instance, instead of allowing gamers a free hand in what they destroy, Red Faction only allows you to blow up walls and the like if they serve a purpose, such as giving you inventory or blasting an escape route. The end result is a world where not all walls are created equal and there's little you can do to tell hollow and solid walls apart besides trying to blow them up.
At least Red Faction's multiplayer features are more robust than the piddly single player game, offering players a chance to go head-to-head against three buddies in a four-way split screen. You can also add bots to the mix to make it interesting. But again Red Faction II has fallen short of the mark by not supporting any link or Xbox Live play.
Actually, if you compare the Xbox version of Red Faction II to the PS2 version you'll be hard pressed to find much different. Sure graphics are a bit better, a little smoother, but they're nothing to write home about. The same can be said for sound, and while frame rates experience little slow down, they still aren't lightning fast.
Red Faction II is a fun shooter, one worth a rent, but I wouldn't plop down any cash to buy it, because there just isn't enough there worth keeping past the weekend it will take you to grow bored with it.