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Red Faction 2 Review
developer: Volition, Inc.
PIII 500, 128MB RAM, 16MB Video Card, 1.1GB HD
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Apr 09, 03 (released)
|» All About Red Faction 2 on ActionTrip|
In the game of love, whether you're a nervous beginner, or a seasoned professional, you know that premature ejaculation is a bad thing. It cheats both partners out of the pleasure of prolonged sexual intercourse. If your partner comes all of a sudden, you are left longing for more. Experts and philosophers have pondered and pontificated and postulated this perplexing penile problem ad infinitum, and after years of thought and effort, they offer the following advice:
You should try and make it last longer, man! It's better that way for everyone!
Damn, those smoke alarms never work! COUGH!
He's mine, all mine!
The whole point of enjoyment is to make it last, whether we're talking about sex, or video games. You like sex, so you try not to get it all done in 20 seconds. You like video games, and if you pay good money for a game, you want to get something out of it - a prolonged satisfaction of playing the game and enjoying yourself while doing it. And if that's what you're looking for in a single-player game, then, stay as far away from Volition's Red Faction 2 as possible. Short is never good, no matter which context you put it in. And this game is short. It's penis-envy short. It's the shortest single-player FPS game I've ever played. A four hour gameplay experience for a retail product is like a 20 second sexual intercourse. It just doesn't feel right, and you feel cheated. And that's exactly how I felt after Red Faction 2 came to a sudden and abrupt end. I felt like I was the cheated cheerleader looking at her blushing boyfriend 20 seconds later on prom night...
Red Faction 2 takes place on Earth in the 22nd century, five years after the rebellion on Mars. For 15 years, Chancellor Victor Sopot (he looks a bit like Stalin and Saddam Hussein) has oppressed the people of the Commonwealth. His corrupt rule and a relentless war of unification with the United Republic have left the Commonwealth bloodied and impoverished. Condemned to death by Chancellor Sopot, six super-soldiers unite to save their country, vowing to overthrow Sopot using the unique powers that nano-technology has given them. Join the squad as Alias, a demolitions expert. Fight side-by-side with Molov, Repta, Shrike, Tangier, and Quill--each possessing unique attributes and specialties. The player takes on the role of Alias, a young budding nano-soldier with just enough raging testosterone to actually try and topple the ruthless dictator. Eventually, he and the team succeed in this, but that's when the real trouble arises...
Although the story provides a few twists, it is lacking any real drama, and the character development is pathetic. The game rarely gives any explanation for the actions of the players, and it doesn't try to give any real background or meaning to the conflict. The whole game seems like a cheap B production action movie, and not a really good one at that.
Red Faction 2 plays largely similar to the original. The much-hyped Geomod technology (highly destructible game environments) is once again the main focus of the gameplay, as most of the "puzzles" come down to shooting a few walls to get to a desired location. The vehicles are included again, and I must say that the diversity of the gameplay offered by these various vehicles (battle armor, subs, tanks, etc.) provides a nice alternative to the arcadish FPS combat. Hopping in one of the mech-like battle armors was one of the most fun things I got to do in the game. It's extremely fun to wield the hand-mounted chainguns of the battle-armor and shoot everything in sight, blow up walls to get through areas and such. Of course, blowing up stuff courtesy of the Geomod technology is always fun, but that's nothing I couldn't do in the original game.
The game not only plays the same, it looks the same as well. The sad fact is that this game is a PS2 port. It's obvious that THQ had a good mind to squeeze some cash from the PS2 players by letting them play a slightly modified version of the original Red Faction. Now, Red Faction came out a long time ago and it's preposterous that we PC gamers should be treated to something that looks and plays the same as a game that came out quite a while ago. Still, maybe I should give the programmers a benefit of the doubt and note that they claim there have been a lot of improvements made on the engine. From my viewpoint, whatever work you guys did, I didn't see it. The only noticeable differences was a slight improvement in the particle system, improved animation quality, more gore (can't go wrong with more gore!) and something resembling team AI routines - other than that, the textures were low-res, and looked as though they WISHED they were PS2 graphics. The models reminded me of early Quake 3 work. From an engine standpoint, this game is made to be an arcade-style shooter, but is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor.
Going down tough guy?
Whatever it was it's as good as dead...
Maybe the best thing about the sequel is the weapons and a few of the boss encounters. There are a lot of weapons in the game, and some of them are pretty fun to use. The coolest weapons belong to the level bosses, and when you defeat them you get to take their weapons, so that's pretty cool. Weapons balancing is not that good, however, as the gameplay naturally favors projectile based weapons. It's easier to blow stuff up with it. In all honesty, the decision to include the Rail Gun often made me think about the Quake series. Overall, Red Faction 2 has a good mix of nuts-and-bolts beam-based and projectile-based arsenal to satisfy all tastes. As an avid shooter fan, I really enjoyed using them, even though they don't differ that much from the weapons in the original game.
As for the boss encounters, some of them struck me as truly spectacular, but overall, the level design in this game is very inconsistent. It is, for the most part very linear and claustrophobic (invisible walls and such), making the gameplay seem highly railed. You'll especially notice this in the first few levels of the game, but as the title reaches its (anti)climax the level design gets much better, in a sense that it looks more spectacular, albeit no less linear - and that applies to the boss levels.
Still, you can hardly justify this game's price tag by having to play one or two fun boss encounters, or jumping into battle armor for a few minutes and having diverse and fun weapons to use. It's just not enough, especially when you consider that a majority of the mini bosses had an exploitable AI bug where you could stand in one position and shoot their lights out until they dropped dead. That's not exactly my idea of immersive gameplay.
The sound effects and the musical score are nothing to write home about. The music is mostly hard and heavy and it reminds me of Quake 2 - the way the designers have combined arcadish shooter action with hard rock guitar riffs. The voice acting is inconsistent as well. It features some real talent, like the actor Jason Statham (Snatch, Transporter), but that's not enough to compensate for some of the more amateurish voice acting, as well as some occasionally muffled and unconvincing sound effects.
Finally, to top it all off, this game doesn't have a bona fide multiplayer mode. The botmatch mode that's in there just adds salt to the open wound, as it's actually quite fun to play (again, reminds me a lot of the Quake 2 multiplayer action), and it shows you just how fun the multiplayer game could've been if the designers took the time to put it in the game. The lack of multiplayer, combined with the game's extremely short single-player brings the replay value of Red Faction 2 down to zero.
Some die-hard Red Faction fans might ultimately enjoy the sequel, but if I were you, I'd give this one a miss. You don't want to feel like a cute cheerleader on her prom night, after the boy has shot his load in about 20 seconds and taken off, now do you?
Fun weaponry, some cool boss encounters, botmatches don't suck, it's always fun to blow stuff up;
No significant improvements to this title, graphically lacking, game is over before it really begins, no multiplayer.
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