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Red Faction
Review By:  Jared Black
Developer:   Volition
Publisher:   THQ
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   FPS
ESRB:   Mature
Date Posted:   8-7-01

Red Faction is the second PS2 title from console-newcomer Volition. Despite the relative sucktitude of their first PS2 title (Summoner), I nevertheless went into Red Faction with a great deal of optimism. Luckily, my optimism was rewarded. Originally this game was to be Descent 4, but along the way it took a detour and morphed into a FPS all about destruction. Yet despite this focus on action, it still presents a level of strategy rarely seen in a console FPS. While itís not perfect, Red Faction is a wonderful addition to any game library.

The storyline is a wonderful one, and sets up the action quite well. You are Parker, and throughout your life you did exactly as you were told to do by your parents. Anything you accomplished didnít mean a whole lot, because you never had trouble succeeding at anything at all. When the Ultor Corporation promises an adventure and a unique experience (which isnít part of your parentsí plan for your life) mining on the planet Mars, you jump at the chance to get away from Earth from a while. Unfortunately, Ultor sees itís workers as merely assets, and pushes them to the limits. Living quarters are cramped, shifts are long and hard, and a mysterious plague is slowly wiping the miners out. The miners are becoming restless, and itís clear that a revolt is on the horizon. Leading the underground group (which calls itself the Red Faction) spurring on the revolution is a mysterious figure named "Eos", whoís been putting up anti-Ultor flyers and literature everywhere. Itís clear that somethingís ready to happen, and all itíll take is a single sparkÖ

The storyline is carried out through a variety of scripted sequences. In addition to in-game movies that will play at key points in the game, certain dialogue between NPCs will play out as you approach them. This dialogue is often hilarious, as well as adding immersiveness to the game. For example, during one area in a sewer I heard two sewer workers talking as I approached them through a drainage pipe. After gossiping about the miner revolution going on, they then began to crack jokes on each other about their dating prospects (generally involving their smell). Very funny stuff. And naturally, if you donít want to hear them talk you can always kill them.

Red Faction plays a lot like any other FPS. The control scheme should be instantly familiar to anyone who has played a FPS on a Sony system before, as it uses the same dual analog setup (one for moving and one for looking). Using a variety of weapons, youíll blast your way through wave after wave of Ultor guards, mercs, aliens, and other baddies looking to quell the miner revolution. All of this is not new.

What is new is the unique "Geo-Mod" technology. For the first time ever, the environment is almost completely destructible. Donít think you can jump over to that door? No problem, just blast through the rock until you reach the corridor behind it. You can literally make your own tunnel so far into the rock that youíll no longer be able to see the original area. The uses for this technology are almost limitless. Shoot above enemies and drop debris on their heads. Shoot below enemies on a cliff and literally take away the ground theyíre standing on. Blast through a wall and come out behind the enemies whoíre guarding the door. Really the only limitations to it are the amount of ammo you carry as well as some artificial places that canít be blown up (usually the boundary of a level).

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