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PlanetPS2 | Features | Reviews | Red Faction
by: Andrei Alupului | June 1, 2001

Red Faction

Title: Red Faction
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Volition, Inc.
Publisher: THQ
Release Date:5/22/01
Country of Origin: United States
ESRB Rating: M

Dear Parker, Please stop killing all of our guards. Also, would you mind not blowing up our walls? Thanks, Ultor Corporation

This is a letter that Parker, the main character of Volition's new first person shooter, Red Faction, could theoretically receive. This is because, unlike most FPS games out there, Red Faction actually lets you destroy your environment. Don't like that wall over there? Blow it up, crybaby. This game lets you be the Martha Stewart of carnage. And, for the most part, it does that well.

You play as Parker, a miner for the Ultor Corporation, a large, evil company (as if there's any other kind) that's mining Mars. You, fed up with your cushy life as an Ivy League student, decide to go and do something unexpected and exciting. Apparently going to a nice, fancy school in preparation for a life on easy street doesn't sound like a nice prospect to you, and so you decide to accept a grimy job in the mines of a planet billions of miles away. Unfortunately, things don't go quite as planned and Parker's adventurous job turns into a living hell. The guards mistreat the workers and, to add insult to injury, a terrible plague is going around killing off all of the miners. Some suspect that Ultor is even making it.

As a result, the workers are getting antsy. Eos, a mysterious figure posting flyers all over the mines, is inciting the workers to revolt, and it appears as if that's going to happen. That's where the game kicks in.

You start off in the mine just as the miners are starting to fight back against Ultor. Immediately you're thrown headfirst into a chaotic situation and, what's more, you're unarmed. The only problem with this is that it simply doesn't feel chaotic. If you take a look at a game like Half-Life, which RF will inevitably be compared to, the game instilled a sense of fear in you at an early point in the game. Granted, RF is not supposed to frighten you, like HL did, but it would really add to the experience if things felt a bit more hectic than they did.

And none of the blame can be placed on the graphics. They're pretty nice. The texture work is great, the characters look good, though they animate a bit awkwardly, and the lighting effects are quite sweet. In fact, I can't say that there's actually anything wrong with the graphics. They're very nice, not absolutely fantastic like MGS2's or something, but definitely better than a lot of what's out on the PS2.

Ok, so the game is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, but what about the ears? Well the ears enjoy Red Faction too. And why shouldn't they? The guns sound good, the music isn't half-bad, the vehicle sounds are nice, and they even threw in a little clacking noise for when you climb the ladder, which I really like for some odd reason. The voice acting is where the sound falters a bit, though. The performances for the main characters can be pretty weak. Parker gets irritating, Eos is a standard commando woman, Capek is the slithery despicable evil guy that's been in every action movie since the beginning of time, and the innocent civilians all, remarkably, have the same voice. Hendrix delivers a good, if monotonous performance. At least he has a warm tone to his voice, which the character needs, and the frightened howl that some innocents make when you aim a gun at them is hysterical. It sounds like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon from the days of yore.

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