Get your a** to Mars

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Volition has released a demo for their mega-demolition FPS, Red Faction: Guerilla, for the console crowd and being the curious sort, I downloaded the Xbox 360 version which proceeded to blow my expectations out of orbit with a mass driver. PC players have, so far, been left out of the goodness even though the game is coming out for that platform, too.

But the promises? They’re true. They really are. The whole destructibility thing is absolutely, without question, awesomely fun.

The demo starts you off with a mission in Dust, one of the contested regions on Mars held by the bad guys which Red Faction is keen to annoy by stealing a construction walker held within one of their facilities there. Guess who gets to pick it up?

I started off with a basic assault rifle, an explosive, and a futuristic sledgehammer. For those that aren’t familiar with the game, Red Faction takes place on Mars almost more than a hundred years in the future. Mars is controlled by an evil corporation exploiting the settlers there after having come in as heroes fifty years earlier, and Red Faction is the group resisting their every effort to exploit them. Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger was not available for a cameo. Neither was Michael Ironside, although that scene in Total Recall between him and the Governator made me wonder if Geo-Mod tech could be applied to limbs as well…until reminding myself that this wasn’t Soldier of Fortune. Still…

Anyway, so I’m on the surface of Mars just outside the base and people are walking around minding their own business until I decide to run into the restricted area. I try hiding in a building, but where’s the door? Don’t need one. I’ll just MAKE one and so I’m inside, avoiding fire from angry soldiers and basically making myself a nuisance. But what’s this? It looks like a truck is nearby so I jump into the driver’s seat and proceed to drive on through the next checkpoint…literally. The puny guard post comes apart as my truck’s bumper kisses it, pieces flying everywhere, and I finally make it to the hangar where the walker is. I hated having to bid goodbye to the vehicle that had served me so well with roadkill, but it was time to graduate to something bigger and meaner.

Using my trusty sledge to smash my way in just because, I hop into the walker and walk through the garage doors, the dormitory, the APCs that are now shooting at me, and several office buildings. Walls shatter, beams barely hold onto what is left of their ceilings, and entire rooms are turned into piles of broken rubble. Fence in the way? Not for long. Brick wall in my path? Like that’s a problem for my friend, the sledgehammer, or my new friend, the walker.

I make it to the truck where my ally from Red Faction is waiting and load up the walker, taking point with the plasma gun mounted on the back of the trailer to act as the cover while he drives us to safety. Using the gun, explosions litter the highway with tumbling APCs, wheels head into the stratosphere, enemy soldiers fly out from windows and hatches as their vehicles twist from the shockwaves I leave as gifts along the road to freedom. I also squeeze off a few potshots at company property on the side of the road, watching as a gas station detonates in a thunderous fireball and propaganda billboards fall and splinter apart in the aftermath.

In the end I was left wanting so much more and the full game looks to offer an open world loaded with plenty of missions, side jobs, and other activities making it seem like it might be a mix between Mercenaries and Crackdown in sheer scope and an ability to finally live your dream out as a one man wrecking crew without having to play SimCity.

As for everything else, voice acting seems solid and the graphics look good if not spectacular, but the destruction that you can bring down on everything in sight is incredibly impressive stuff making me forget anything that might come short. If this is only a taste of what you can do, the emergent gameplay that the full version is sure to expand upon has me convinced that it will be worth buying into.

The full game is expected out on June 2nd for the PC, PS3, and the Xbox 360.

And now if you’ll excuse me, the demo is calling me back. Again.