GC 2008: Red Faction: Guerrilla Updated Impressions - New Environments and Multiplayer Details

We cruise through some new areas and discuss an interesting multiplayer mode that's more Jenga than third-person shooter.

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Red Faction: Guerrilla
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Most of the attention that has been focused on Red Faction: Guerrilla has dealt with the game's destruction system, which, with its ability to topple buildings and other man-made structures, stands as a stark transition from the geo-modding found in the previous two games. But another new feature in Guerrilla is its open-world setting. In traditional sandbox style, you cam roam all around this game's 12x12 kilometer chunk of Mars. Given that a large part of a sandbox game's success is dependent on its ability to deliver diverse environments, we took a quick look at a few of the six areas that make up the primary neighborhoods of Red Faction: Guerrilla.

It seems like every time we've seen Red Faction: Guerrilla before, we've been hanging out in the reddish industrial-mining area. We still love the ability to destroy this area's complex machinery and watch it all crumble piece by piece, but we figured that it would be best to expand our horizons this time around. The members of the Volition team guiding our demo at the Leipzig Games Convention were more than happy to show us a few new areas. The first one that we saw was the Residential area, which looks very different from what we've seen before. As you might gather from its name, this one features more modest homes than massive mining structures, but there's also a decent amount of foliage that you wouldn't expect on Mars. And instead of dump trucks and dune buggies, the vehicles available for sandbox-style "temporary borrowing" in this area are much more sleek, futuristic sports cars.

The next area that we saw was called Eos. Here, the most noticeable difference is in the architecture. All of the buildings in this area are sleek, modern structures with lots of glass and shiny metal, which is a distinct departure from the industrial look of the mining area. When you introduce these buildings to your sledgehammer, the glass comes crashing down in convincing fashion, but in this early stage it wasn't collecting on the ground. We're told that this area features a unique mission in which you can use one of the jetpacks (also featured in multiplayer) to take on a group of snipers holed up at the top of an unfinished skyscraper. We also saw another area called Badlands, which is an environment notable for its use of a hazy yellow fog that slowly rolls in as you progress deeper into it.

However, it wasn't all sightseeing in our demo. We also got to hear about a new multiplayer mode. We've already covered the competitive multiplayer, but the mode that we heard about today is quite a bit different. Called Wrecking Crew, this mode is like a reverse game of Jenga in which you and up to three other players take turns trying to inflict as much damage as you can on a group of towering structures. The idea is to use the damage caused by the players before you as a cascading continuation of destruction. There's a risk-reward dynamic involved because you can use your turn to go after weapon upgrades that might help you down the line, but that could mean missing a critically important move that the last player might have set up for you. To us, this sounds like an interesting idea and something that should add a fair bit of replay value once you've completed the campaign.

Volition tells us that the technical side of the game is done, and all that's left now is to add some polish and get these new environments more filled out with signs of life. The game isn't due for release until February, but you can expect to see a demo available in late January.

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