Red Faction

Moby ID: 4194

[ All ] [ Macintosh ] [ PlayStation 2 ] [ PlayStation 3 ] [ PlayStation 4 ] [ Windows ]

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 80% (based on 58 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 145 ratings with 17 reviews)

Just misses my expectations

The Good
PRESENTATION: The game's menu were well presented, easy to read and pretty funky with the mars landscape scrolling at the back.

STORY: You are Parker, that's it for a name, you thought working with Ultor would be cool, how wrong are you. In fact the opening dialouge is spoken with surprise. Anyhow the conditons are bad, and the miners revolt. The story kinda trails off from there but remains through the game, in one way or another. It's ok'll have to play to see what I mean. In a way it's just recycled from other story lines.

CONTROLS: All of them can be remapped, thank god, the default key configuration is too far paced across the keyboard for one hand, so remapping the enter key for operating doors is must.

GRAPHICS: Fairly good, the people/things in the game are well done, not perfect but enough to get things rolling. The GeoMod engine is lacking when it comes to curvy walls so some corners looks a little rough and jagged. The textures are also a bit lacking, the game WAS taken from the PS2, so that's one problem. The set pieces (desks clocks) are well done as well, there is even a little pencil on a desk, and the clock hands move, nice touch of details there. Lighting is fairly well done as well with a few ok shadow effects thrown in, and the light glare from flying craft is well done as well. Underwater is well animated as well with little particles (fish food?) floating about, and bubbles from gun shots are also included. The animations are fairly well done, keep an eye out for the shotgun death animation.

SOUND: All the gun effects work just perfect, the reload effects for the Persision rifle and the Sub Macheine gun are really fun. The game also notices little things like crunching glass when you walk over it. Foot steps are a little off set and the voice is not really that good. But it works.

GEO-MOD This has been given a section because it is different from GAMEPLAY. Firstly you all know what GEOMOD is? For the people who don't know, GEOMOD, is the first gaming engine to utilise a realtime world destruction engine. In other words, you can make a level swiss cheese with time and a rocket launcher. This also means you can make a cieling collapse by taking out the support struts, or make APCs plummet into a abyss by taking out the bridge. And if you have time, carve out large sections of the cieling and watch them fall onto people. All the effects that I have mentioned are possible. Glass is well done as well. Fire at a pane from a distance with a pistol and you will only get a little bullet hole. From close range with a rifle, and the glass will shatter from where it is hit. And the pieces fall down every where as well as get thrown about with an explosion. Perfect.

GAMEPLAY: Ok a mixed bag. Firstly the A.I in this game is GOOD. The enemy run to cover to reload as well as call in others and dodge their way around you. The weapons are wonderful to play with. The pistol has a nice silencer screw on animation and the heavy machiene gun has a really cool reload action. The only bad bit about the weapons is the uselessness of the close combat weapons. The riot shield only deflects so much in terms of bullets. The rail driver on the other hand is a weapon of mass fear, even in the hands of the enemy. Firstly it can drive a charge through the wall into somebody, or you. The levels are interesting, a bit boring at some points, mainly with the missions in the mines, but it really shines in the space station mission, with low gravity and interesting recol effects.

Multiplayer is interesting as well as chaotic. People try their best to terraform the enviroment to their advantage and other's disadvatage. In this game the floor can vanish below your feet with no warning. Fun.

The Bad
Ok time to dish out the diss.

Firstly the GEO MOD engine. The programmers offered us this new technology and do not let us use it fully. For examples all doors cannot be destroyed and the wall around them cannot be carved into with a rocket launcher. On top of all that the office levels walls are stronger than mars rock.

Apart from that major niggle, the game is a well thought out game.

The Bottom Line
Yes it is worth your $89.00 (Aus). The multiplayer levels are a dream and the single player, while lacking still is a good challenge. It may not be the next Half-Life, but it is very close.

Windows · by Sam Hardy (80) · 2001

Minor problems, but an overall good package for PS2 shooter fans

The Good
All 1st person shooters try to out do the previous standard. Take Half-Life or Counterstrike. When they were released, very few games had the same amount of action and playability to them. But have a look at today, and see how many games have tried to emulate both titles. The only game, to my mind, that has tried something different, not just in looks but in gameplay, is Red Faction. And the reason why is simple: Geo-Mod.

The inclusion of this graphical beast has allowed not just a new way to design the graphics engine and to include more detailed terrain, but to allow a more interactive environment, which in turn changes the style of the gameplay into a more tactical style then just run shoot (as in Quake 3). For example, instead of taking out the many guards waiting in your path on a bridge, just take out the bridge. Of course, some limitations had to be made, otherwise you could blow up Mars itself, but just having that ability is a major step in the development of first person shooters.

The other major task that I believe has been captured well is the mix of serious combat and laugh out load moments. There are plenty of moments with the guards that will get you laughing (at times, the guards will shout out "I don't want to die" just as shoot them). This adds a bit of fun to the serious nature of the storyline.

The Bad
Put simply, multiplayer support. These days, you can't have a shooter without a 4 player mode. Quake 3 and Timesplitters accomplished this well on the PS2, but the lack of 4 player support here hurts the the overall package. I can, however, understand why. It would have been very difficult to have 4 on together, as well as having a smooth game, Geo-Mod and all.

Some may also have problems with the control system. I have this down to a fine art, but others will hate the lack of Keyboard and Mouse support (especially when the PS2 sports two USB ports).

The Bottom Line
For those who have a PC and PS2, I would suggest the PC version mainly because of better multiplayer support.

But besides what I have mentioned, Red Faction is still a worth while purchase for the PS2. Two player multiplayer games are still plenty of fun, and the single player game will take a lot out of you. The Geo-Mod technology is a reason in itself to take a chance on this.

PlayStation 2 · by Kartanym (12419) · 2006

Is 'Red Faction' the revolutionary FPS the critics make it out to be?

The Good
The answer to that question is a complicated one. Truth be told, THQ's 'Red Faction' did not revolutionize first-person shooters (FPS) or games in general. But, having said that, this game is also not the "disappointment" and the "soulless clone" many disgruntled user reviewers have described it, either.

The 'Playstation 2 Official Magazine UK' praised 'Red Faction' as the "Playstation 2's deadliest game" upon its first release in 2001. It wasn't kidding. 'Red Faction' is a really challenging game, which gets more difficult as you progress. It is not the puzzles that are tough, usually they are pretty straightforward. 'Blow a hole there to get to there', 'push that switch to open that gate', that kind of stuff. It is learning how to survive from one gunfight to another that is the real trick here. Even on the lower difficult settings, this game is relentless. One wrong move, one unnecessary encounter, one careless mistake, and you are dead. 'Red Faction' provides a real challenge for the most veteran of FPS players out there. This forces the player to find all the available strategies available to him before engaging an enemy, such as finding an armored vehicle or an alternate route in the game's expansive environments.

'Red Faction' is obviously inspired by such videogame classics as 'Half-Life' and 'Deux Ex' (not to mention the obvious, like 'Doom'). However, to its credit, it does feel like its own unique game. And for its time, it was certainly avant-garde as well. 'Red Faction''s so-called 'Geo-Mod technology' was an innovative feature in 2001, even though there are a lot of limitations imposed upon the player in this regard. But I find these limitations to be justified. The game tries to make you think outside the box, at least occasionally, and there is no other way but to strategize accordingly if you want to make it out of Mars in one piece.

The story is also pretty satisfying, especially for an FPS. Ultor, a mining corporation operating in Mars, maltreats its employees to the point of enslavement. Eos, Orion (named after gods from Greek mythology: Eos being the goddess of dawn and Orion the legendary huntsman) and a couple of other miners organize what starts to be known as the Red Faction. As Eos explains:

"It was Orion who came up with the name of Red Faction for our team. He thought the political sense of 'faction' would have meaning only for us. And the 'Red' symbolised that we represented all of Mars. The name clicked with everyone..." (from the instruction Manual).

Sure, the story is nothing more than a quest of retribution against an unethical and oppressive company, so don't expect anything Shakespearean. What makes matters more interesting is that there is a 'plague' reaping death among the miners; although, most mysteriously of all, it does not seem to affect Ultor's security guards. While it is revealed that a scientist called Capek had something to do with it, the 'how' and 'why' are never really explained. Still, it is decently intriguing stuff, and the ideas and concepts explored in this game were eventually actualized in the newer generation 'Red Faction' games.

What is probably the game's most redeeming feature is how ambitious it is, even if its budget and the technical limitations of its time may have prevented it from achieving more of a classical status. By 'ambitious' I mean what the game was trying to do even if it is arguable whether it has succeeded or not. From the in-game selection of five vehicles, including a submarine and an aerial fighter craft (the Aesir Fighter), the number of paths the player can occasionally choose to the 'rail driver' weapon, which allows you to shoot through walls and so on, there is no end to the game's innovative and ambitious vein. Even if you do not like the game per se, you have got to admit that it is really impressive what the game had attempted to do.

The Bad
However hard the game tried to be innovative, which it was and still is, not everything turned out the way they should have. The 'Geo-Mod technology', for example, despite being fun, is gimmicky. There are only a few places where you can use it to a good purpose, and I rarely used it in my playthrough. The graphics, although for their time they weren't atrocious, could have been better. Even the lighting could have been improved. At one point I could not find a switch I need to open a door because I could barely see it.

I have already mentioned the game's difficulty, but some parts are so relentless that they are ridiculous.You will be loading your last save file a lot of times, because the game does not have any checkpoints. So having multiple save slots and saving often is a must. Even then the game is frustratingly tough. Later on in the game, heavily armored mercenaries can kill you in almost one shot. The stealth sections did not facilitate anything as well. I almost had an easier time finishing Killzone 2 on elite difficulty than beating this game on Medium, no joke, because I am not someone who is accustomed to saving every few paces. Good luck finishing this game if you haven't already, and I dare anyone who thinks he is a veteran of FPS games to try to beat 'Red Faction' on impossible mode!

Another thing that could have been improved is the artistic direction. Although there are sections that take place in the grand canyons of Mars, underwater caverns and even one level on a space station orbiting Mars, the majority of the game takes place in industrial complexes or drab environments. They did try to create a sort of Flora and Fauna for Mars, but there are only a handful of examples, such as fern-like trees and small bat-like creatures. Nothing special.

The Bottom Line
I have the impression that 'Red Faction' tried to be for PS2 what 'Doom' was for PCs. In that respect, it has arguably failed. But it did show what could be done, and there lies the true success of any revolution.

PlayStation 2 · by Carmelo Lia (42) · 2016

It's truly good to dig deep...

The Good
Geo-mod really, REALLY made this game what it is. Puzzles can be solved or simply skipped by blowing the crap out of... well... just about anything! The storyline really helps motivate you to start cracking skulls when the Miner Control group screams for mercy, then start shooting again. Plenty of weapons to keep me happy, and of course, the vehicles just sweeten the deal. Just so damn fun...

The Bad
Well, limitations on how much you can blow up for starters. I built a really, really long tunnel into the ground only to find that nothing blows up anymore. It took me 3 minutes to crawl back out, but I wanted to go deeper. Load times really ticked me off as well. It seems like almost every minute or so you'd have to wait a good 15-20 seconds to continue on your mission. The graphics also kind of annoyed me, but graphics arent what make the game great. Those aside, the game is just pretty good.

The Bottom Line
I'd say an equal match, or possibly even BETTER than Half-Life for the PS2. Realistic destructible environments, a very pretty sounding and destructive arsenal, and a good storyline to back it up. Rent first, most likely buy.

PlayStation 2 · by Kain Ceverus (30) · 2007

Tastes good, but you'll be hungry again in 15 minutes.

The Good
The setting. Mars. I loved the switches between hightech Ultor buildings to old abandoned mines which are prone to collapse.

I also loved the weapons (they aren't anything special, but they are very cool). The secondary modes are also good.

The so called GeoMod engine. This engine allows the player to "mangle" the levels with his/her weapons. You can blow everything to tiny little bits.

The multiplayer mode is fairly balanced. Not that many levels, but they do differ a lot. Shame though that there isn't a capture the flag mode.

The Bad
This game is to normal. The weapons are fun, but they arent revolutional. The Martian surroundings do offer a variety, but it just doesn't feel that special. The story is almost identical to the 1990 blockbuster movie "Total Recall" which adds nothing new to the story aspect either.

The AI of the opponenents is terrible! And i mean terrible! If a guard decides to attack you, he'll just run into you and when he notices that you are crouching, he'll flee and starts screaming. In the 'infiltration" level the guards have "super acute" hearing. You are disguised as a diplomat, but the guard will recognize you from quite a distance.

The potentially great GeoMod engine is severely underused. Blowing walls away isn't required to complete the game (oh all right, except for that one moment). I think that this problem has been taken care of in Red Faction 2. And let's be honest, the GeoMod engine is the only thing that is actually new in this game. It's an enormous dissappointment that this was disregarded by the developers.

The Bottom Line
This game isn't bad, but it sure isn't good either. This is just one of these games that just loses it's "taste" once you've played it for about 15 minutes. Multiplayer can be fun, but your going to have to do with deathmatch only. If you are looking for a basic shooter than this is the game for you. If you are looking for a shooter that has a lot of new things to offer, then upgrade your PC and wait for Doom III.

PlayStation 2 · by Goteki45 (323) · 2003

Geo-Mod and great multiplayer make up for all the single player dullness!

The Good
I bought Red Faction for the same reason as anybody else: because of the "Geo-Mod Engine". This piece of software allows you to alter the game's environment by shooting holes into walls and rock structures and letting glass break with the most detailed splinter-effects you've ever seen. The feature is just as amazing as it sounds and everyone ends up spending hours digging tunnels through the martian underground simply because it's so much fun.

You could now expect the game to only concentrate on the geo-modding without any attention to other aspects of gameplay but it's totally the other way round! In fact you badly miss the Geo-Mod in single player missions while you will find enough other features most of which you hardly ever see in other games. There are many drivable vehicles including a stylish sub-marine, a driller and an APC. Infra-red devices let you see people through walls. Bullets ricochet from metal surfaces and riot shields can be used to fend off enemy fire.

Unlike many others I even liked the enemy AI in single player. The guards will take cover, wait for you around a corner and and even try to shoot remote charges from a save distance instead of running into them blindly.

I didn't expect this game to have full Geo-Mod support in multiplayer but, well... I was wrong. Sooo wrong. In fact multiplayer makes much better use of Geo-Mod than single player. The 27 maps, including 7 CTF ones are all very well designed and deliver some of the best multiplayer-gameplay I know and I've played quite a few FPS games.

Last but not least Volition also was smart enough to put the RED level editor on the disk. RED is very easy to use and there is a huge mapping and modding community that is keeping RF fresh and alive.

The Bad
The single player of RF is simply not that good. There are some nice ideas including stealth-gameplay and underwater-fights but you never really feel like being involved in the crude "martian miner-revolt" story. I love secret-agent style gameplay (Goldeneye/PefectDark-veteran :D ) but there was a map in RF where I had to sneak through an office-complex without using a gun and at some point I felt like "what am I doing here? Give me a rocket launcher and I'll shoot my way right into Mr Gryphon's office..." For reasons I do not understand there are only very few places in single player were the Geo-Mod engine is actually used!

Also some rather edgy maps, repetitive fights and stiff animations didn't add anything to the atmosphere.

The Bottom Line
There is a great game hiding behind some ideas that simply didn't turn out that well. Honestly, the Geo-Mod engine alone is reason enough to get this game. I would also recommend to take a look at the RF section over at to get an overview of the RF mapping and modding community which is surprisingly big. This game has it's flaws but the RF-bashing like you hear it from some gamers that were disappointed with the single player (just like me) simply isn't fair.

This game shortened my waiting time for Half-Life 2 and if you give it a try I'm sure you will learn to like it as much as I do.

Windows · by Lumpi (189) · 2004

A soulless clone

The Good
Volition circa 2001, despite their relatively small name in the business at the time, were by no means an unaccomplished development house, existing as one half of the now defunct Parallax Software, creators of the Descent games. Volition already had the fantastic Freespace titles under their belt, but Red Faction represented their first attempt at the first person shooter genre.

Interestingly, Red Faction began life as Descent 4, a game I would much rather see, and there is evidence of this in numerous places; the proprietary GeoMod ‘blow-up-anything’ engine was originally slated for D4. When RF came out I was particularly ecstatic with it; the ability to arbitrarily blast the hell out of anything was (in the places the game allowed it) a ton of fun and something nobody had ever tried at the time, and the game’s overall presentation was really quite impressive. Stylistically, Red Faction comprises of a thick mix of Half-Life gameplay, with a thick topping of Total Recall and some very light peppering of Deus Ex.

With all of these elements being taken from cult classics, surely Red Faction contained the makings of a truly classic game? Well, I’d suppose the thing that makes a classic a classic in the first place, is typically the ability of a piece to try and succeed at something that has never been done before; a million dollar idea multiplied by a million dollar production and a ton of spit and polish. Red Faction, by comparison, doesn’t really have an original polygon in its body, so the best you can hope for, really, is a solid first person shooter with some great technology to back it up.

To be fair, there are some good ideas here. I loved the idea of being able to go tunnelling with my rocket launcher and skewering people through walls with the rail gun – but not one to paint itself into a corner, Red Faction also features some extensive ‘undercover’ sections where you travel through some high-security areas in disguise, watching out for security cameras and guards at every turn. There’s some interesting set pieces, such as the first time you see a shuttle get blown up through the window. The graphics are pretty good; on the PC, the visuals are much more polished and sharper to boot; the game’s many explosions, slow shattering of glass and empty shell casings flying all over the place are fantastic to behold. Sound effects are pretty good as well, all the weapons provide some nice aural feedback with chunky firing sounds and a satisfying click-clack of swapping magazines. Throwing sticky bombs at enemies and watching them running around screaming like girls as they flailed their arms spastically above their heads was endlessly hilarious to boot (although retarded).

The game’s central characters exhibited a great amount of potential. Eos was an enigma of a woman, with her strange appearance and unusual drive in the face of oppression; Parker, the player’s character, was not quite a silent protagonist either and had plenty to say during the game’s occasional cutscenes.

In all honesty that’s about the most praise I can offer for the game. Now for the sweet, sweet catharsis…

The Bad
Good ideas are multipliers. A fresh, original concept coupled with a great production will make for an instant classic, whether it gets the recognition it deserves or not – Red Faction is a great example of lots and lots of ideas that have been done before, and throwing them all together into a half-arsed mishmash that tries everything but succeeds at nothing. My most significant criticisms of the game come from three pillars:

Firstly, though it’s strong on a visual front, the game engine strangely feels very much like it was made to be… well, a Descent game. Player physics feel very floaty when you’re jumping and running feels like you’re gliding on air. Bullet impacts come out as puffy little explosions, as if they were from lasers. Character animations are stiff and wooden and the AI is similarly robotic. Many sections of the game involve you running down very long tunnels with very little else to do, and feedback from shooting your enemies feels very clean and subdued. The length stealth section in the middle of the game drives home how deliberate and clumsy some sections have been implemented; all the time you’re running away from the telepathic guards that spotted you from across the room and behind that pillar, you’re just thinking about how easily you’d have smashed the meagre resistance here if you’d just kept all the weapons and armour that you supposedly gave away to make your job easier.

Secondly, the level design underscores the developer’s failure to construct a game world that plays the strengths of the design of the game and its underlying technology. When I heard of Red Faction’s revolutionary GeoMod technology, I envisioned epic firefights with destruction on a huge scale, with towers collapsing, blasting away peoples’ cover, glass windows getting blasted out left and right, vehicles mowing down foes all and sundry, shooting out false walls to plunder secret areas for goodies… and while at one or two points the game does almost achieve this, for the rest of this longer-than-average journey you’re running down empty corridors, creaming faceless guards shouting ‘mine scum!’, tasering civilians out of sheer boredom and shooting screechy mutant creatures with pistols.

It’s absurd that after giving you this wondrous new technology of arbitrary destruction, the game almost immediately takes it away again by putting you in cramped corridors of indestructible scenery. For a supposed full-scale planetary revolt, once you see your miner buddies trying to help you out, you begin to piece together how everyone got so oppressed in the first place; your friends in Red Faction are utterly incompetent every step of the way, prancing gleefully into every gun battle with heavily armed guards, who then ice them with a single shot. Every time a miner supposedly tries to help you, they either flee for their lives or are immediately killed after performing their intended function. This becomes even more hilariously frustrating towards the end once the mercs roll in – tough as nails and armed to the teeth, your Red Faction buddies boldly run up against them with their pop guns at the ready, half the time getting turned to vapour before they even enter the room.

Even if the gameplay wasn’t all that gripping however, the game could still coast on its setting and characters alone. Which brings me to my most scathing criticism – Red Faction is a game with no soul. Every element is ripped off of something else; the Martian rebellion comes straight from Total Recall, the set pieces are ripped straight from Half-Life, the ‘mysterious plague!’ was already done much better in Deus Ex, etc etc… truly, Red Faction cleans out the cliché closet and then comes back for more. Character development is pretty much non-existent; while the manual features some extensive character bios, none of what it mentions actually impacts or is even mentioned in the game proper and basically all you’re left with is some very cardboard cut-out people. Perhaps the worst offender of all is Parker himself, who apparently is supposed to take on the nonchalant, sarcastic anti-hero type of vibe but just ends up coming off as a total wanker. Even during cutscenes other characters seem to be aware of this, frequently brushing the player off or leaving him alone as soon as they are able.

The Bottom Line
In the end, Red Faction is simply not a game that even came close to living up to its fantastic potential and will certainly not be remembered fondly in the same way as some classics of its time will be. I’d quite highly recommend avoiding it, and especially its god-awful sequel.

Windows · by Ian McLean (10) · 2010

FPS intéressant mais...

The Good
FPS d'action se voulant être dans la lignée d'Half-Life avec beaucoup d'action, des véhicule, des médecins pouvant nous soigner, avec une bande son athmosphérique intéressante. Le multijoueurs inclus suffisamment de cartes pour s'amuser avec ces dernières des jours durant via les botmatch et en 1v1 !

The Bad
Le jeu ayant été développé au plus vite sur les cendres de Descent 4, les lieux manquent cruellement d'éléments de décors, le scénario est incroyablement court, bâclé et un rapide datamining avoue que le jeu était loin d'être terminé. Le GeoMod, moteur de destruction présentant l’intérêt principal du jeu, n'est finalement que très peu utile en campagne solo, ce dernier étant très largement plus amusant et utile en multijoueurs.

The Bottom Line
Après un développement très rapide et bâclé (merci THQ !), l’intérêt du jeu repose finalement sur son multijoueurs via les bots et en 1v1 mais n'étant pas possible de jouer via internet ni en console interconnectée, le jeu aura bien plus d'intérêt sur PC et Macintosh, des mods et cartes communautaire pouvant être importé sur le jeu contrairement à la PS2. Dommage.

PlayStation 2 · by Saig Omaristos (138) · 2023

A great game with some downfalls.

The Good
Red Faction is a very unique game. It uses GeoMod technology, which allows you to blow apart most areas of the game. This really adds to the overall excitement of it.

Graphics: They are top notch. The characters look crisp, and the levels are sharp. The high resolution textures make the game look more beautiful.

Sound: The sound is good; not great, but good. Each weapon sounds good, and the environmental sounds are equally done. Rock crushers, tumbling rock, whirring machinery...all makes you feel like you are a miner on Mars, as far out as that sounds.

Story: Unlike a lot of FPS games lately, Red Faction has a story, and a good one at that. You are a miner on Mars, and a rebellion takes place. You're caught in the middle. Pick up a gun, and start killing the Ultor guards. Throughout the game, there are numerous dialogue with the main characters of the game, namely Eos and Hendrix.

Acting: Speaking of Eos and Hendrix, they both sound professional and real, and not some corny acting that plagues most games. There are the occasional dialogue foul ups, but otherwise, it's good.

Multiplayer: The multiplayer was awful on the PS2 version, and it's good to see Volition has done some improving. Connecting to and creating servers are easy, and the game is lag free most of the time. On the day Red Faction was released, there was about 60 some-odd servers online, which leads me to believe this game will be around forever.

Vehicles: It's nice to be able to drive the vehicles, including a Jeep and a Submarine. They add to the overall value of the game.

GeoMod: Blowing up stuff is just damn fun.

The Bad
The GeoMod also has it's downsides. For once, there is a limit to how much you can blow up. Once the amount of "debris" has been reached, the game will simply start showing rocks flying all over (little, pebble-like rocks) instead of actually creating holes or bringing down structures.

Multiplayer - Vehicles = Sad. Volition should've included the vehicles in multiplayer mode, or at least the Jeep, which supports a driver and a gunner.

The Bottom Line
If you are a fan of story driven FPS's, then by all means pick up Red Faction. It's single player will get you going, and it's multiplayer will finish you off.

Windows · by JPaterson (9502) · 2001

The fastest game on PS2.

The Good
I dunno why there is so much tense in the air whenever talking about this game, and why I got the impression that many people don't like this game, but I've only one word for them - crazy! Lol! From the moment I saw this game on PC, couple of years ago, I knew I must get this game. Of course, at the time, I had not idea I'll get a PS2 version since I had no PS2 console nor was in my slightest idea of getting one, but man, does this game looks great on PS2, I had no idea something like this is possible.

First of all, the controls are great, and once you get use to them you can quite alright play throughout the game... with autoaiming cursor, that is, 'cos c'mon, let's get real, this ain't no mouse+keyboard combination we all got used to when it comes to FPS games. I guess I gained some experience on PSX game MOHU which I don't recall having autoaiming feature. Still, graphically Red Faction looks brilliant, I couldn't tell the difference between this one and the PC version from what I remembered it.

Okay, the big breakout about this game was the fact you can destroy the terrain, thus making the whole in the wall deep enough to be a hideout or to bypass some heavy metal doors that won't open, but that wasn't what got me hooked. Sure, it's a great feature, and I salute them for making that, but what got me was the graphics. Now now, don't start joking with me saying this game doesn't have any special graphics. I didn't mean any extraordinary quality, but the textures they chose are rather perfectly balanced and create a real atmosphere and great feeling to game.

On other side, there was a promissing and intriguing story behind all the concept. You're playing Parker, one of the miners on Mars, who are just as mistreated as the rest of the miners. You soon learned that word 'miner' is no more than meaning 'looser', being exploited to the max and not caring wether you live or die. And for some obscure reason, there seemed to be 30 guards to one miner, or maybe more. Aside from being mistreated, there was a misterious plague that started spreading and seemed as there was no cure for it. And to be a little bit more complicated, there is a rebellious organization against all the Ulthor corporation and its guards. Yup, those you'll have to whack a bunch per screen.

This game offers a little bit more than just our daily first-person shooter, and that is to drive several different types of vehicles, including submarine in which you can fire torpedos and destroy the underground caverns as much as enemy subs, ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) which resembles standard Hum-Vee but has really nice physics programmed to it. You can enter two sides in that vehicle, either backside and control its mounted heavy caliber gun, or drive it (now there's a fun). Driller is a regular type of what the name implies, heavily armored and capable of digging holes in pretty much anything. And another one worth mentioning is Aesir Fighter so you don't think you never get to control some aircraft, that's what this is, having regular mounted machine gun and rockets.

Nice thing is that you can break the ice, destroy walls, but that I already mentioned sort-of, but what was really surprising and unexpected to see is that I drove off the bridge and into the water, and my ATV was left sank throughout the whole game. Is that kewl or what? Music isn't that plenty, but at least bit more than the game has cinematics which is almost none (there are some, but very few, if you don't count an opening), but it is really terrific beat and it usually indicated you're about to either get ambushed or confront a whole batallion, lol.

The puzzles in the game are on the level, nothing too tough (though sometimes it can seem like they tried to hide something making you harder to just find it), but let's get straight that this is a first-person shooter and not a first-person puzzler, and when I think of all the weapons used in the game, I must say these guys were creative. You have regular pistol which adds a great effect that you can add or remove a silencer to it, several types of machine guns, a shotgun (with a very intriguing alternate fire), several bigger launchers that can destroy more than you could want, a few snipers, and what else not. The ammo may not be as handful, though, even on easy level.

And a word about multiplayer (didn't know I'll ever use this word for some console game), it rocks! It has very nicely designed levels and you can even play the skirmish with computer only. Set up 5 enemy players and see them all fight against each other. Can become confusing sometimes, but sure can be fun once you meddle with the settings and find something interesting.

The Bad
This game has many lights throughout the game, and you can only guess that they too can be destroyed. However, what I noticed on a PC, I couldn't notice here, and that is, once the light is destroyed, there's no darkness coming. It's just as if it's still lit on the same place, only you don't see any. I dunno if I was doing something wrong, but that's the impression I got it. And I definitely rememer this working fine in PC version.

A word about enemy guards a little. Usually one shot in the head may spare you of wasting entire magazine on less vital spot to achieve the same thing. However, later in the game with more armored guards, I got the impression that except with my sniper, no head shot can be effective within a single shot. And no, they didn't seem to have twice as better helmets for that matter. That became frustrating when I needed to waste so many bullets, which I had little on a regular bases, on someone which will leave me even less then I spent.

Animals on Mars were kinda... crappy to say the least. Those low-poly not-like-anything with claws you could usually encounter in certain caverns were really unnecessary. Okay, these can even be accepted, but fished that attack with sonic waves or whatever, c'mon, don't make Doom outta this game. Let it be felt in a Half-Life sense of the way, and so far, it's going good at it.

And a major bug - there should be more music, or should be playing all the time and not just whenever some showdown is at hand.

The Bottom Line
An overly nice first-person shooter which should've gained more fame then it seemed to do. Aside from nothing-but-shooting strategy, for those players who prefer sneaking a bit, like in Splinter Cell, there are a few moment when you disguise and usually carry only your gun (blah!), and ammo isn't to waste. Though even these situations can be handled brutally, just with a bit more luck than skill.

For PC or PS2, this is a fine game that should give you a proper amount of amusement, and when all the light of the story shut down and you reach then end, think of multiplayer and go crazy.

PlayStation 2 · by MAT (240185) · 2012

A day late and a dollar short. Extremely disappointed.

The Good
Red Faction promises a much more diverse experience than typical first-person shooters inspired by Half-Life, and that promise is worth half the purchase price alone: Many weapons new to the FPS genre; drivable vehicles, some with weapons; and geo-mod technology, which allows explosives to deform the game world and affect gameplay.

On these particular hopes, Red Faction delivers. Some of the weapons are inspired: An "accurate rifle" allows you to zoom in and deliver several shots as fast as you can pull them off. The sniper rifle has a crazy zoom that can traverse a kilometer. Your melee weapon can be used to either bludgeon or shock. The best weapon is unarguably the "rail gun": One-shot kills, deadly accurate, and the viewfinder can see people through walls (which is good because the rail gun can kill them through walls).

The vehicles, while used sparsely, are effective. A truck can be used to get past enemies quickly (or mow them down). The submarine makes it possible to get past some enemies in the water. The flyer providers hot metal death from above. And so on.

Geo-Mod, the most distinctive aspect of the 3-D engine truly does make many surfaces deformable. And the deformations are legitimate, not just texture decals: Ground that has been peppered with craters is hard to navigate in a vehicle, for example, and some areas of the game require blowing the crap out of walls to get past doors that won't open.

The Bad
It is with a heavy heart that I write this section. I didn't want to do it. Red Faction is a new effort from Volition, half of the team that made the original Descent series the awesome landmark that it was. They tried to introduce new features to the genre -- heck, they created a new title in an already-crowded genre. That takes some pretty big cajones.

That being said, there are just simply way, way too many things wrong with the game for me to recommend it. One of the most major issues is that the story is overlooked. Granted, FPS games don't need a deep involving story, and the absence of one isn't a crime. But when an involving storyline is hinted at and then later neglected, it is a crime. Too many times there were "significant emotional events" in the voice messages and cutscenes, but without any proper setup or explanation they all sounded cliched.

Another big problem was the sometimes-repetitive level design. It is unavoidable that a game that takes place in the mines of Mars is going to look mostly the same (brown rock tunnels, brown rock caverns, etc.), and the designers try to alleviate that with a kidnapping mission inside the mining administrative offices, battling company guards in the armory, and even sabotaging a space station in orbit above Mars. But barring appearance, the repetitive level design itself cannot be excused:

  • Progression throughout the game was extremely linear. A typical level had a tunnel open up into a cavern with a door on the other side, which would lead to another tunnel, ad infinitum. Even inside complexes, corridors would lead to rooms with a single door on the other side; lather, rinse, repeat. Only on the orbiting space station were there a significant number of paths to explore.
  • There were some "detours" sprinkled along the way in the linear parts, but they almost always ended up with "rewards" in the form of extra weapons or ammo. Only once or twice did a detour end in a plot point, story device, or otherwise interesting story element. If you were loaded up on ammo, there was no reason to take the detours, which shortened the length of the game considerably.
  • Too many times there were manned turrets in the middle of large rushes of enemy forces. You know the drill: Take out the turret, then jump on it to mow down the massive forces of enemy soldiers running at you from multiple directions. This is always fun, and some could argue that you could never get tired of it. But after the fifth time, it loses its appeal. (I would imagine that anything would lose its appeal after five repetitions.)

More overall problems that affect gameplay lie with the enhancements (weapons, Geo-Mod) themselves:

  • Weapons: While some weapons are cool, others are redundant and overkill. Why are there two types of rocket launchers when neither are guidable or homing? Why are there two types of sniper rifles when one can easily do the job? Why are there no less than three types of machine guns when any two of them would have sufficed? And what is the point of including a riot shield in the game if you can't fire weapons while wielding it?
  • Geo-Mod: Some blow-the-wall-to-get-past-unopenable-door puzzles require blowing away a certain part of the wall. Shouldn't any part of the wall be deformable enough to get past the door?

Even the cutscenes had problems: The beginning and end cutscenes are rendered. For rendered cutscenes, they look terrible; polygons are blocky, for the most part. This isn't really that significant until you realize that they were rendered with the output from the game engine itself. If they used the game engine for rendering the beginning and end cutscenes, why didn't they just use the game engine itself? Why waste 200MB of disk space in video files that could have been just played with the in-game engine just like all the other cutscenes?

But the most irritating thing about the game was its inconsistency and general lack of polish. This is expected for what is inevitably a clone of Half-Life, but it is inexcusable for a clone that came out nearly four years after Half-Life did! What follows is a list of some of the things that really, really irked me during the entire course of the game (this is long, get a cup of coffee):

  • The cutscenes, both in-game and rendered, lack any significant cinematic feel. Also, the dramatic timing is off in certain places, blowing any sense of tension out the window.
  • If you fell a great distance, you died. But if you fell a great distance onto an item you could pick up (health, ammo, etc.), you didn't die. Silly game bug.
  • The voice acting is not very good. It's not laughably horrible like some minor bit players in Deus Ex (which were voiced by some Ion Storm staff members), but it never reaches a non-irritating level of quality.
  • There are security monitors that you can view throughout the game. I found many of these useless, because they showed you areas that you had already fought through and cleared.
  • The voice messages you receive throughout the game are quite often cut off as a new level loads. They do not continue after the load, nor is the subtitling for the voice message displayed, nor are they replayed if you go back to the section you just left (prompting another load).
  • The music is sub-par. Nothing is really inspired or stands out. This isn't bad, but the poor instrument choices (some sound like 1980's synth-piano) don't help matters any.
  • Most puzzles in the game (overload the water pump, blow the reactor, get to the vent, etc.) are as simple as pushing a single button. Not exactly a challenge.
  • The level-of-detail (LOD) engine doesn't scale gracefully at all, which is irritating at resolutions like 1024x768 and up. LOD, you'll remember, is the process of displaying simple 3-D models for objects that are farther away (where high detail simply isn't noticable) to more complex models and geometry the closer the camera gets (where high detail is noticable). The idea is to improve performance without affecting display quality. But since the LOD doesn't scale gracefully, it has the effect of people and objects quite noticably "popping" into greater detail the closer you get to them.
  • The guards say no more than about 12 different things, including hurt grunts and screams. This gets repetitive very quickly.
  • Light halos shine through objects, pure and simple.

The Bottom Line
I really wanted to like Red Faction, honest! It had the potential to be reminiscent of the current FPS bar of excellence Half-Life by infusing new elements into the genre. But the multitude of nagging problems noted above detracted from the overall experience so much that I just couldn't enjoy it. I was really disappointed.

The 100% user-mod-gone-retail Gunman Chronicles is worth buying for $9... but I cannot recommend even that much for Red Faction.

Windows · by Trixter (8962) · 2002

Total Recall + Dig Dug = Bargain Bin

The Good
In Red Faction, you are a miner on Mars thrust into the heart of a revolution. That's basically the story. There are a few twists involving a mysterious disease and mercenary troops, but for the most part you follow a linear path shooting people and things while oohing and aahing over the GeoMod engine.

The GeoMod engine allows you to deform terrain, meaning that you can create craters with explosives, "tunnel" through certain areas and shoot through walls. Red Faction comes with a demo level titled "Glass House" where you can experiment with the GeoMod engine and shoot-up a glass house. This gets a bit old after a while.

There are a several weapons available under four different categories, including two sniper rifles and two rocket launchers. Apparently the mine owners knew they were dealing with a tough crowd. There are also several vehicles. Surprisingly only one can drill through walls. You only encounter this once in the game, early on. Sadly, the vehicles are only good to get from one section to another. Expanded use of the vehicles would have been much more fun.

The AI is fair. Enemy units try to kill you and respond to gunfire with scripted phrases (perhaps three scripted phrases). They try convince you that they are either unarmed or on your side while shooting at you. You also have some fellow miners and revolutionaries who either contact you in a style reminiscent of Deus Ex or serve as cannon fodder. I was actually confused by the cannon fodder bit, because I thought it might possible to save them. Nope.

Let's see the sound and music was not egregious. The graphics were quite good. And the game was very stable.

The Bad
Red Faction is neither very good nor very bad. It is actually quite average and unremarkable. Most of the ads focus on the GeoMod technology, but that is such a small portion of the game and so tied in to puzzle-solving that it becomes unimpressive.

Some people have commented that the story in Red Faction is good. It isn't bad and would probably make a good movie (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone). My complaint is that your character doesn't experience the story so much as he is told it from fellow revolutionaries. I prefer games like Deus Ex where you create the story, ones where your character's activities have impact. At no time in Red Faction does the story branch or even hint at branching.

This game seems unbalanced as well. The first two-thirds are pretty easy and the final third is extraordinarily difficult. The game actually ends with a puzzle that reveals the game's platform origins.

The Bottom Line
Red Faction is your typical FPS. No more, no less.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5398) · 2003

Paint the planet Mars Red

The Good
What you get in this game, you'll get a lot of joy out of playing it. There's variety of enemies and the arsenal you carry is just enough to take them out. The length of the game brings absolute hours of thrill, with a fair number of bosses and encounters along the way, not to mention plenty of Martian atmosphere, amplified by the superb soundtrack. The characters in the game are 3-dimensional, both graphically and design-wise.

The stealth missions make for nice change of action in the gameplay. Better still the vehicular driving sequences have free movement and none of that overused rail-shooting feature (except for one mission). No matter the difficulty you choose, the challenge is going to spike up when you meet the mercenaries, who pose a worthy challenge when you've played far in the game.

The Bad
The game isn't perfect with some issues present taking for example the lack of an autosave feature and lack of checkpoints, meaning death forces you to start the game from the beginning. Then there's the tight time limits in missions like "Space Station", which kind of pushes you a bit too hard as you play. What really stinks in the game is the final Master Mind puzzle sequence and you can only use the mouse to click the buttons when the arrow keys would have saved you precious seconds of time.

Weapon selection interface is a little strange with 1 being the basic weapons, 2 being the semi-automatic weapons, 3 being the full-automatic weapons and 4 being the explosive weapons. It can be awkward when you need to do a quick change of weapon in the middle of combat. Nothing truly intolerable present in the game. To be fair Volition had to start somewhere.

The Bottom Line
I cannot pretend that this game isn't unique from other shooters that took place in space and future such as Doom, Alien Trilogy and Star Wars: Dark Forces. It truly rivals the precursor Half-Life. This is not your ordinary, typical, mediocre FPS, Volition really went for something original and one of a kind. You'd be very lucky if this happened to be your very first video game. While not up to date, it may always remain a must play and find a place in your collection of shooter video games.

Windows · by Kayburt (29554) · 2020

Agh! Horrible! Disappointing! Gimme my ten bucks back!

The Good
Red Faction is pretty much a standard FPS game. Grab guns, kill bad guys, pick up ammo, kill more bad guys, grab more guns, kill harder guys, get bigger guns, so on and so forth until the end. This could be a good or bad thing. Personally, I like this, so I think it's a good thing.

Obviously, the main attraction to this game is the Geo-mod technology, which allows you to blow away just about everything you see, including walls, floors, bridges, etc. Some of the levels provided some of the funnest battles due to the Geo-mod. Imagine barely dodging a rocket that would have blown the ground out right from under you? Or blowing away a bridge causing a small squad of enemies and a vehicle to fall into a chasm? It's awesome.

The graphics are good. Even close-up on the people, the faces look more realistic than most FPS games I've played.

The story is cool. A rebellion on Mars, you have to help the Red Faction escape.

Some people complained this game was short. Short? I didn't think so! I thought it was the perfect length. You travel through the mines under Mars, through underground rivers, into ice caverns, on the surface of Mars, through enemy bases and labs, offices, even go into space! You get to see quite a lot in this game.

You get to drive some vehicles in the game, including a jeep a lot of people seemed to like.

The Bad
Allright, aside from a few moments in this game (blowing away the bridge in the first level and the shuttle blowing up around the middle of the game...that's about it) the game was just awful.

First, the Geo-mod. This is a really, really cool thing. But it's almost completely unused! The only time I remember in which it was ever put to use was the very first level! After that, it was all enemy bases and stuff which had walls you couldn't destroy, and the few times you were in an area where you COULD destroy the walls, it was just eye candy and nothing more. I mean, sure, it was pretty cool to see the wall blast apart with a stray rocket, but there was almost never another opprotunity to USE it to your advantage. You couldn't really blow a hole in the ground to take cover in, and you couldn't knock down a tower onto unsuspecting couldn't tunnel through anything. I mean, these things would all be "extra" stuff, but when the main feature of the game IS the Geo-mod, one would think they would feature it all throughout the game and not just the very first level.

The vehicles suck. The submarine was kind of cool, but you only really used it twice and really, you wouldn't want to use it more than that. It's "cool" factor wore off pretty quick. The jeep a lot of people seem to like, but I thought it was too slow and, like most other vehicles in the game, too hard to control. Flying the jet thing was okay, but it was short.

The dialogue - mostly just the main character - is THE worst I've ever heard! I remember one scene in which one of the "big bad bosses" puts up a shield and you shoot him, and it proves ineffective. Then the cutscenes goes on to show your character wasting away all his damn ammo on the shield like an idiot, even though he knows it's not working! Well, you'd have to see it, but it is really funny...unless until that point you were really taking the game seriously, in which it probably will just piss you off.

The ending was disappointing, but expected.

The final boss was stupid.

The two other bosses were stupid. Well, the giant robot was kind of cool, until the bad AI got him stuck in the wall and you couldn't kill him!

Argh...bad, bad game. Didn't live up to the hype at all.

The Bottom Line
Skip it.

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2003

Bad mid-1990's B-Grade scifi flick, except you can play it. And blow stuff up. Whee.

The Good
The game has a couple of areas where it shines. One area is the sound production, which is tightly done. The control system is well thought out, especially vehicle control. Although most of the weapons in the game are not unique to previous games, they are distinctive (and the Riot Shield is inspired). I like the space station level. The graphics are ok. And, uh, that's it. ... Yeah. coughs

The Bad
Red Faction is terribly dull. It feels like a tech demo with some weapons and moving targets thrown in. The level design is illogical. The first area is obviously a mine, but from the said mine we move on to a metal, hi-tech type facility that (I suppose) serves some logical purpose. And then we go into an office building or two and shoot some people with a silenced pistol. And so on. All the various parts of the Mars mining complex are, of course, conveniently interconnected though a complex series of ducts.

Plot? Go up against the big bad space based corporation-type-thing and kill stuff. Sounds like a great B movie script (that's been done 5 million times). It's not helped by voice actors, who drag this game down from B movie levels all the way to direct-to-video. The guards shout out imaginative lines like "Scummmmm!" and "Give up while you still can, miner!". Gee, is it just me or is the theater empty for some reason? And I love the (abrupt) ending. On the subject of sound, I must quickly say (before I move on to something totally unrelated) that the musical score is unremarkable.

One final note is the on the AI, which (in the most polite way possible) I can only say is poor. Or, perhaps, it's too good. The AI seems to know exactly where you are for no apparent reason. The (apparently psychic) guards also seem to have telekinetic powers, as their shots (even with inaccurate weapons) almost always hit. They infuriate, but not enough for one to stop playing the game.

The Bottom Line
I can't really even be bothered to write an lengthly, interesting review. What a dull game. It might be worth $5 or so in a "bargain bin" outlet, but certainly isn't worth anymore than that.

Windows · by Longwalker (723) · 2004

Like a good action movie

The Good
I will try to keep this review short since FPS aren’t my preferred genre…

I believe that a good fps should be as a good action movie and this title have a strong developed plot. Player takes command of a rebel miner that is part of the Red Faction in the Mars mines against the Ultor Corporation.

The best point in my opinion is the need to play vehicles in order to beat the game, submarines, helicopters, jeeps and tanks.

The personal guns are great also; I specially liked the two-function feature for each item.

I know that many of this features are already an standard on FPS but since I have low-expectations when playing FPS I had a good-time playing Red Faction.

The Bad
Just 2 Points:

1) Too easy, well I like easy FPS but not too much.

2) Too short, finishing a game in a weekend isn’t especially long…

The Bottom Line
Good game that represent high entertainment but not a challenge.

Windows · by Cabeza2000 (689) · 2003

A potentially great game full of flaws

The Good
The weaponry, by a long shot. Blowing holes in walls with explosives is great, but for the most part appears to be more about showing off technological innovation rather than constructively contributing to gameplay. Likewise, the rail driver gun is great fun as well. There are some good examples of good artwork too, like environmental artwork. I personally like repetitive gameplay, so it wasn't much of a problem for me.

The Bad
The incompetent programming that left the game riddled with bugs, some of which should've been weeded out during play testing. The largely talentless voice acting, much of which resembles somebody trying to fake a rape claim. The largely crappy artwork, which could've easily been knocked up in Photoshop within a couple of minutes.

The Bottom Line
Worth buying, but download a patch first, otherwise you WILL have problems.

Windows · by Dave Billing (24) · 2010

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by nyccrg, Cavalary, Big John WV, shphhd, durplu pobba, Kabushi, Jacob Gens, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, Scaryfun, vedder, Venator, Jeanne, Tim Janssen, Wizo, Val 50993, mikewwm8, Alsy, lights out party, Parf, Lain Crowley, Cantillon, ti00rki, GTramp, Jess T, CalaisianMindthief, Emmanuel de Chezelles.