Red Faction II reviewed by Brandon C. Hovey

Red Faction II (2002)

Developers: Volition (PS), Cranky Pants (GameCube), Outrage Games (PC and Xbox)

Publisher: THQ

Platform Played: PC

Price: $9.99 on Steam

Country of Origin: USA

[One Spoiler Ahead]

The first Red Faction (2001), was an old school shooter that did not age well. Its sequel could be analyzed in the same manner. The gameplay though is better, the weapons are great, the dialogue is rather over the top, and the Red Faction seems to be a little less potent than the first volume’s cadre of guerillas. This was a flawed game that reminded me of Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Exodus From The Earth, and Chaser. Is it worth playing though.

 

The game’s first level is a flashback scene of a special ops mission the player character: Alias takes on. This commando raid serves as the game’s tutorial. The second level is where things get interesting. The player is on a mercenary team tasked with eliminating the Red Faction’s new nemesis: Victor Sopot, who was modeled of the 20th Century Soviet dictator Generalissmo Josef Stalin, the Georgian tyrant and past general-secretary of the Supreme Soviet.

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Victor Sopot with soul patch.

Sopot like Stalin has created a totalitarian regime in the Republic of The Commonwealth and the Red Faction presence on Earth is locked in a uprising against him. The player’s mercenary team is presumed to be the equalizer in this war.

The first levels take place in the Commonwealth’s Public Information Building which serves as Sopot’s propaganda apparatus. The security forces are no match for the mercenaries, but the elite guard of Sopot puts up a good resistance. The player’s grenade launcher, assault rifle, NICW (high tech assault rifle) will be of good use. The player does not have much room to use anything but overt assault tactics in this game. No rewards for stealth are present. And with the Geo Mod engine’s destructible environment why would you need stealth?

The levels then go into the form of city streets, sewers, apartment buildings, and the citadel of Sopot, and not necessarily in that order. Now and then you’ll be a gunner for the character named Shrike (Jason Statham voices him). He’s the team’s resident driver, and his dialogue is one of the brighter spots of this game. These on the rail sequences are somewhat enjoyable. One of them involves using a combat exoskeleton that may have influenced The AMC Squad eDuke32 conversion. If you’ve not played that visit here.

 

 

The only spoiler that I’ll give you is that the player’s mission to stop Sopot succeeds. His regime is toppled but it is replaced with another. The player’s old boss as a mercenary: Molov, becomes the dictator of the Republic of The Commonwealth. I was hoping the game would just end with Sopot, but unfortunately it continues into a zombie shoot-em-up and your old team mates now become boss-level enemies.

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I loved the attention to detail in some places.

The first of the bosses is Quill the sniper. And like the massive generator-like enemies in Shadow Warrior, it was beginning to become a waste of time to bother with this game any longer. This is not a bad game, this is not a great game. This is a game that was likely just better when it first was released rather than played in 2016. Some games don’t age well. This game is certainly an example of this. Sick of my reviews of these mediocre ones? Don’t worry, something good is coming up. It is turning twenty this year.  

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Where the player begins.
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