Red Faction is the latest in a long line of games that have been remastered for the current generation of hardware, and like all that have come before it and all that will come after it, the main obstacle that these games have to overcome is the most obvious one – after so long, does it still hold up?
Red Faction first released in 2001, and the new PS4 version benefits such as added trophy support and up-rendered graphics. Set in the year 2057, Mars has been colonised and turned into a mining planet, picked apart for resources by the Ultor Corporation. Playing as Parker, a miner hoping for a new start, the game begins at the end of your shift – the klaxon sounds, you down tools, and a worker is beaten in front of you. This signals the beginning of a rebellion, and thus the game begins.
Besides the obvious squared features of NPC’s, and bearing in mind the game is going on for 16 years old, the graphics stand up fair to okay – nothing is going to dazzle you, but that’s not why these games get remastered in the first place. No, the main draw of these franchise games in releasing their elderly forebears is the nostalgia factor, of which only those that have played them in the first place will have any sort of recollection. A second draw for some might be in seeing where certain story beats or game mechanics originated, more so a factor for those that have played the later games in the Red Faction series. Both these points had some impact on me, having played the original on the PS2 back in 2001, and enjoying it enough to play the later games, and revisiting it now I can see why – for it’s time, Red Faction was a stand out first person shooter. One of it’s main selling points was the destructible environments, with many walls able to be blown away by a vast array of weapons, such as remote detonators and rocket launchers. Looking at it with 2017 standards in mind, they do look dated, but back then, the sheer amount of destructible environments and how they could impact upon the gameplay was outstanding, and it still is to some degree. Walls can be smashed to make shortcuts, and early on in the campaign a road can be destroyed to send an armoured tank plummeting into a crevice beneath, saving you the trouble of facing it head on later. Red Faction was the first game to really do this properly, and to make it a crucial part of the game and not just a purely superficial add-on.
Gameplay is enjoyable enough, but it is probably this aspect that feels the most dated. Running and gunning is by far the easiest option, and with auto-aim turned on by default, it is purely at your discretion whether you turn it off or not. Even then, the giant cursor on the screen makes it easy to aim at assailants, and something about this still felt a little off. With no sights to aim down, this is obviously the way the game was built, but by modern standards it does make you feel a little overpowered and the game a little easy, especially for experienced, returning players. In this regard, Red Faction does have an arcade feel to it, and this is largely down to the way that it can be played.
One of my biggest gripes while playing Red Faction was the control scheme. Years of playing FPS and action games has conditioned me to a certain controller set up, and playing Red Faction does feel like taking a step back in time. Alongside the obvious lack of sights to aid with aiming, certain buttons just feel configured, well, wrong. The amount of times I pressed the wrong shoulder button to shoot or jump, instead firing grenades or switching to my alternate fire, did drive me to distraction, and during the opening escape through the mines I did spend a large majority of the time scrolling through the menus to configure the control scheme to something more to my liking.
There is the option for a multiplayer, but this is purely LAN based, another hark back to days gone by, and something I did not get to try then nor haven’t tried now, but to be honest it is not something I feel like I am missing out on or that is essential to try.
Red Faction is enjoyable enough if you are a fan of the genre, or even missed it the first time round. I doubt it will do much to attract new fans and revive the franchise, something that many are hoping will happen soon after the demise of THQ a few years ago, but if you played this the first time round or are old enough to remember it but missed it, Red Faction is an enjoyable trip down memory lane, and priced at £11.99 you could do far worse.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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