Red Faction 2
Red Faction 2’s publisher (RF2) is THQ and it is being developed by Violation. This immediately shows this game is being backed by the ‘big guns’ which I feel is comforting. The background to RF2 is that a popular uprising called Red Faction is running amok and causing problems for the state. The state began creating an army of Geno-enhanced super soldiers to crush the rebels of Red Faction. Having produced the perfect army the senator of the state, Sopot, becomes afraid and tries to murder them all.
You, the gamer, will play Alias, which is a Geno-enhanced demolitions expert. Alias and his 5 pals Molov, Repta, Shrike, Tangie and Quill escape before Sopot and are the last of the commonwealth’s super soldiers. In the game each of your teammates possess unique skills and attributes, which include Transportation, Stealth/Electronics, Sniper, Heavy weapons and a Specialist in all forms of combat. You and your pals eventually join the Red Faction and rebel against Sopot and the state.
Players of the original Red Faction will remember it’s groundbreaking theme, which was the Geo-Mod engine the game was designed around. Basically, this allowed the player to destroy much of the scenery such as walls, doors and cave roofs to name but a few. All this added a new feel of freedom for the First Person Shooters (FPSs) at that time. In this sequel, RF2, the game sees extensive use of the Geo-Mod engine, which includes more Vehicles, bigger/more guns and more importantly more freedom. A prime example of this is where the first mission kicks off and makes great use of the destructible environment and showing the true potential of the Geo-Mod engine. Enemies blast through walls and ceilings and will advance from all sides!
Some major and exclusive enhancements have been made for the release of the Xbox version from the PS2 such as higher resolution textures of scenery and character, extensive multiplayer enhancements which include new maps (40 in total) and character models, seven play modes (Death match, Team Death match, Capture The Flag, Bagman, Arena, Team Arena and Regime), four way split screen action and customisable bots to highlight but a few of them.
Almost all of the weapons in this game feature a secondary fire option and you have your choice of a large variety of them. Most of the smaller weapons will allow you to carry one in each hand for increased firepower and RF2 combines good use of the vibration function on the Xbox controller.
In the game there is going to be 11 episodes/missions and each of these is broken up into several parts, which will allow for mid-mission save games. Each mission is going to have its ordinary main goals but also several aspects of extra tasks, which will reward you with un-lockable multiplayer options. In addition to Alias fighting on foot, you will need some extra and much appreciated firepower and this comes in the shapes of 4 different and unique choices. The first vehicle you will encounter in the game that you get to control is the NEWT-700XS mini-sub, then the SOP-MA1 Battle Armour (Mech Suit), next is the Aesir Fighter 2.0 (Battle Gun Ship) and lastly is the SOP-XE Armoured Tank. Game play will often switch between shooter, vehicles and different weapons in which the game stays fresh and captivating I think.
I will just add that during RF2 sometimes blowing away the environments is essential to make progress; a fact that is discovered right at the start. This will create a whole new strategy of thinking. However, whilst still played on a linear path, the fun in Red Faction 2 comes in the form of the Geo-mod engine. Who cares about walking down the only road available when you can blow away anything in sight?
Now I am going to cover the major disadvantages I can tell from Red Faction 2. The first main issue I can deduce from Red Faction 2 is the relatively short game play that will last less than 10 hours! RF2 during the campaign/single player mode seems too easy, because as your team members are needed and many actions/events are scripted so sometimes your teammates are impervious to attacks. Unfortunately during the game you will actually notice the frame rate being slowed down which will seem like lag to all those Xbox LIVE players. This happens rarely though and only when the hardware struggles when there are too many things happening at once. Also during the game high-intensity combat can seem difficult in which a manual aim would have resolved this but unfortunately you get stuck with a colour changing cross-hair to do target practice with.
I don’t rate this as a major disadvantage but the load times are frequent and are pretty slow in loading. I don’t know why so many are included but it can be frustrating sometimes. My last real disappointment in RF2 is the absence of an i.link option and online options although it is rumoured that by it’s release date for Xbox there will be downloadable content.
Overall the style and layout of Red Faction 2 seems quite compelling in many issues. The weather effects are quite impressive where a rainstorm lashes around you in all directions; thunder and lightning crackle with realistic intensity in the outdoors. Individual weapon sounds and explosions are all clear and competently done. Red Faction 2 for the Xbox is just a First Person Shooter (FPS), but with many major improvements over the first Red Faction and even RF2 for the PS2! All this adds to a great looking game which offers excellent multiplayer, split screen and single player playability Stealth and puzzle solving are included with advanced A.I behaviour in which they work in squads and react realistically to unfolding events. The inclusion of a heroics meter during the game, which is dependant on your actions, will determine what ending you get when you complete the game. In doing this, RF2 involves replay-ability into the equation. But by the time of RF2’s release most of this will all be standard in games but it still looks like a game worth getting by all means.