Review – Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mars-Tered (Switch)
Red Faction: Guerrilla was one of my favourite games when it first launched ten years ago. With a fun open world, tons of weapons to use, and most importantly, a completely destructible environment that lets the players get wild and blow s**t up. The Re-Mars-Tered edition initially launched on other systems last year, but it’s now time for the Switch to get in on the action with some surprisingly solid results.
The story follows Alec Mason on his first day on Mars to see his brother. Within the first day of the job his brother is killed by the EDF and he is suspected as a terrorist himself. Backed into a corner, Alec must join the resistance group, the Red Faction, and push back against the EDF.
The story was never Red Factions’ strong suit and it shows. The overarching plot doesn’t really go anywhere, the characters are mostly forgettable, and the villain’s motivations barely even exist. It’s not all that bad though, as there are some decent character story arcs and some fun callbacks to the original Red Faction games. Overall, the story is just kind of forgettable.
The core of Red Faction: Guerrilla is to run around the Mars colony liberating each section from EDF control. To do this, Alec must complete a decent variety of side missions and destroy enough EDF property to wrestle control away from them. As you deal damage you will unlock main missions that will push the story along nicely. It’s a fun progression system that focuses on the game’s biggest strength: its destruction.
Destruction has always been a key component in the Red Faction series and Guerrilla ramped it up to unbelievable levels. Running the GeoMod engine, almost everything on the surface of Mars is able to be destroyed. Blowing up a building will send debris flying everywhere and can kill EDF troops (as well as Mason). Toppling chimney stacks and watching them crash into another building below is a blast and still impressive to this day. There’s not much like it out there.
Gunplay feels fine for the most part, being fun enough to mindlessly mow down waves of EDF troops as they try to rush your position. The weapons you have access to are fun to use and all have their uses. Even the sledgehammer is a powerful weapon against enemies. Destroying buildings will give you salvage, which can be used to upgrade Alec as well as give him a bunch of tools to use in his fight against the EDF.
One of the biggest issues I’ve had with the original release was with the never ending waves of EDF. It can get pretty annoying when you are trying to leave an area, but enemies keep swarming you out of nowhere, sometimes ending in a “game over” screen. Guerrilla also has a cover system, but it’s not worth using since you have to press the sprint button to enter cover, lean around the cover, and then start aiming. It’s particularity bad when playing with Joycons. I avoided snapping to cover as often as possible.
It is clear that a lot of care has been put into this remaster to make it work on Switch. Alongside the standard Switch docked and portable mode, Red Faction also adds in priority modes for visuals and performance. For fans of gyroscopic aiming, that has also been added, to my surprise. It works surprisingly well, allowing me to make adjustments to my aim to make up for the aiming limitations that the Joycons have. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect port and it does have issues that are more specific to the Switch version of the game. Loading times are lengthy, taking upwards of a minute per loading screen which happens just often enough to become an issue, but not enough to completely throw me off of playing it. I’ve also encountered a couple of minor issues, like HUD not appearing until I pause the game and a lot of pop-ins when moving between zones, to name just a few.
Depending on which mode you decide to play in can give a vastly different experience. Personally, I play the game portable in quality mode to achieve that solid 30fps lock, whilst keeping the game visually appealing. Whilst performance mode does give you a higher framerate, it is also unstable.
Sound design for the most part is a pretty mixed bag, where some areas are better than others. The majority of the weapons do their job and sound impactful, plus the sounds of the exploding buildings are super satisfying. However, the voice acting is mediocre at best whilst the soundtrack is sadly forgettable.
Alongside the base campaign (which is worth the price alone), the Re-Mars-Tered edition comes packed with the story DLC “Marauder of the Badlands”, set a couple years before the events of Guerrilla. This adds around four hours worth of content, whilst the base game takes roughly fifteen to twenty hours to complete. As for replay value; exploring the world, blowing s**t up, and upgrading Alec’s arsenal should take up a few more hours. The original multiplayer mode and Wrecking Zone also returns, making it a complete feature port.
Overall, Red Faction: Guerilla has made a smooth transition over to the Nintendo Switch. Although the game does show its age in some areas, its fantastic destruction engine continues to impress to this day.
The Switch version doesn’t look anywhere near as good as its counterparts and a few technical issues hold it back.
Even though the Switch’s controls aren’t great, the gyro controls help out a ton with aiming. The core gameplay is still a total blast.
Great sound design with passable voice acting. Shame the soundtrack couldn’t live up.
Fun Factor: 9.0
Blowing up Mars never gets old, though the campaign does have some missteps.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-Tered is available now on Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-Tered was provided by the publisher.