Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

The open world third-person action of Red Faction is making its return to a Nintendo console. Take on the role of an insurgent fighter and battle the notorious Earth Defense Force in a bid to liberate the planet from an oppressive regime. You can find Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered out now for Nintendo Switch.

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-teredRed Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered Details

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Developer: 
Volition, Kaiko Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Genre: Third-person shooter
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

The new wrecking crew

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered on Nintendo Switch is my first foray into the Red Faction franchise. Going in blind, I had no real frame of reference for what to expect. However I was instantly excited to be playing on a Nintendo console as soon as I began discovering the focus on destruction physics.

The reason for this may seem a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless I was instantly taken back to a very early Nintendo classic—Wrecking Crew—which released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In Wrecking Crew Mario (yes, that Mario) swaps his jumping ability for a heavy sledge hammer. He proceeds to run around the screen destroying everything he can put steel to.

It’s one of Mario’s earliest appearances, but the job of demolition man never really stuck with the plumber. Nonetheless I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia, and wonder if Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered doesn’t channel just a little bit of what a game like Wrecking Crew might feel like today.

Undoubtedly Mario’s version would be a bit less gritty and more in the Nintendo realm of colour and style. It’s a stretch to say the least to imagine Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered as any sort of true successor to the Nintendo classic. Still, it’s fun to walk around Mars on Switch smashing everything in sight, while remembering Mario (and Luigi) as the original “hammer brothers”.

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

Surviving Mars

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is actually the third installment in the Red Faction series. In the time since our introduction to the Red Faction lore, Mars has undergone significant terraforming. It now sustains human life and functions primarily as a mining operation.

Unfortunately, things back home are grim, and resources are becoming scarce. As such the EDF (Earth Defense Force) are no longer allies as they were in earlier titles in the series. Instead they are thrust into the role of forcing the colonists of Mars into a state of slavery in order to meet the high demands for commodities off-planet.

This puts the EDF at odds with the Red Faction movement. Players will take on the role of mining engineer Alec Mason, a new arrival and brother to Red Faction supporter Dan Mason. Dan sticks around just long enough to fill Alec in on the state of affairs before dying at the hands of the EDF, conveniently placing Alec at the head of the insurgency with a strong motive for justice and revenge. Additionally, the character of Alec Mason is voiced with skill by the ubiquitous Troy Baker, whose presence is always a bonus in any game.

The overall themes of the story are certainly not original—although the metanarrative of oppressed peoples overthrowing societal imbalance is nothing if not one of the great literary tropes of man vs. man. Regardless, it serves Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered well enough as an excuse to go around smashing up the carefully-constructed life-sustaining infrastructure that sprawls across the red planet.

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

Open world action

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is an open world consisting of six different sectors which players must liberate from EDF control. Each zone must be regained from the EDF before moving on to the next, but players are free to roam anywhere in the current or previous zones. Safe houses exist in each zone to provide a base of operations for missions and load outs.

Fixed missions provide the backbone of Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered‘s narrative. However there are also dynamic missions and events which will pop up across the map in random locations and at random times. These involve tasks such as freeing captive Red Faction members or eliminating EDF forces.

Responding to these events is not a requirement, but they do provide additional incentives and rewards. They will however also affect the morale among members of the Red Faction. Keeping morale high is important as it directly affects how much support you will receive in direct encounters with the EDF.

Unfortunately not all of Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered‘s open world design stands the test of time. The activities become repetitive and a bit boring over time. Even though the core destruction gameplay is fun and ages well, it can’t always save the game from its cyclical nature.

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

I’m gonna wreck it

The battle against the EDF isn’t just a gunfight—although Mason is curiously good with firearms for a mining engineer. What isn’t surprising is his skill with a sledgehammer and explosives. Your task is not limited to racking up kills, but rather crippling the EDF infrastructure and supply lines as well.

This gives Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered variety in how players can approach objectives. Going in guns blazing is certainly one option. However players who enjoy a more strategic approach can take a more stealthy path and attempt to find the best way to level a building while drawing the least amount of EDF attention in the process.

Destroying objects and buildings will often yield salvage. This serves as the game’s currency and allows Mason to barter for supplies and upgrades. High value targets will inevitably provide greater rewards.

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered brings the destructive fun to Nintendo Switch

Open world games have come a long way in the past decade. At the time of its initial release Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered was surely on top of the trend. However players more accustomed to a modern experience will probably find at least some frustration in its shallow repetitive missions.

That said, the game’s destruction physics hold up surprisingly well. Even without the benefit of nostalgia I still enjoy running around Mars and plotting the best way to take down a large building with style and efficiency. The story may be a bit weak and the objectives repetitive overall, but if you look past those flaws to the sheer joy of playing demolition man, then Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered can be a great way to spend some time with the Nintendo Switch.

+ Destruction physics
+ Troy Baker as Alec Mason

– Repetitive activities
– Weak narrative

OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF RED FACTION GUERRILLA RE-MARS-TERED

Gameplay: 3.5/5
Graphics: 3.5/5
Sound: 3.5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5

Overall Rating 3.5/5 (70%)

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Dave Neufeld
Dave is an avid gamer, a musician/songwriter/recording artist, and an ardent reader with a degree in the Classics but a love for comics too. When he's not gigging with the band or pulling books at his local comic shop, he can usually be found gaming on any platform, from consoles to PC to his self-built personal arcade cabinet.

1 COMMENT

  1. Remember getting the hammer back in the original Donkey Kong? Mario has always been at home wielding a hammer!

    This game sounds interesting. Did you play it docked or handheld? If you played it both, did the gameplay lose anything when playing in handheld?

    I’ll be interested to try this game out! Thanks for the review.

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