|PS2, GC, Xbox
|First Person Shooter
|Blood and Gore, Violence
| The Good
Good voice work
| The Bad
Over too fast
Still not using full potential of Geo-Mod technology
Red Faction II picks up roughly 5 years after Red
Faction, with the miner revolt on Mars over, but a new
revolution starting right here on Earth. The government is
led by the dictator-like Chancellor Sopot, who has decreed
that all nano-enhanced soldiers must be destroyed. He succeeds
in his goal, save for 6 soldiers, which include your character,
Alias, and his squad mates, Repta, Quill, Tangier, Shrike
and Molov. With the help of the newly founded Earth-based
Red Faction, you set out on a mission to overthrow Chancellor
Sopot and end his fanatical regime, helping the Red Faction
retake control of the government and give freedom back to
Graphically, this game is quite a bit better than it's predecessor.
Instead of the red, dimly lit corridors of the mines and industrial
complex on Mars, you get to play in city streets, subways,
office buildings, military bases, sewers and a massive cityscape.
Weapon and character models have been improved, and there
are a better variety of enemies to kill this time around.
There are no draw distance problems, even when flying through
the city's skyline or driving down the freeway in a tank.
Weapons have distinct firing bursts, and bullet holes rip
through walls while rockets and grenades take huge chunks
out of them.
Speaking of vehicles, Red Faction II includes 4 vehicles
to destroy things with, although you only get to drive 2 of
them. The tank and fighter jet are driven by your partner
Shrike, while you serve as the gunner. The submarine functions
almost exactly the same as it did in Red Faction, with
only one level devoted to it. By far the most interesting
(and fun) vehicle in Red Faction II is the battle armor.
While in the armor, your jump and crouch buttons serve as
missile and grenade triggers, while your primary and secondary
attacks fire mini-guns. This is surprisingly satisfying, running
down a hallway or street firing all 4 weapons at a time results
in some impressive carnage. Unfortunately, with the exception
of a single level in the fighter jet, the other vehicle levels
are pretty boring, as you are forced down a specific path,
and the entire level is pre-scripted.
Audio in Red Faction II isn't particularly spectacular,
but it gets the job done. The weapons all have distinct firing
sounds, and the main characters are well voiced, with Lance
Henrickson as Molov and Jason Statham as Shrike, and the basic
enemies and civilians sound quite good as well. The music
is fairly standard; nothing amazing but nothing that distracts
from the game either. The only problem comes with some of
the weapons; many sound the same, and some sound pretty weak
compared to what their models look like.
The main draw of the Red Faction series has been the
Geo-Mod technology, and while Red Faction II makes
better use of it than Red Faction, it still doesn't
feel like Volition has utilized the full potential of their
creation. You can destroy many more walls and structures this
time around, but there is almost no reason to, as they rarely
lead to anything worthwhile. Also, certain objects are indestructible
due to level design, you often times will blow through a concrete
wall or two, then find a flimsy wooden door that won't budge,
no matter how many rockets you pump into it. There are only
a few levels that make you use the Geo-Mod feature to progress,
and it's always obvious what you need to destroy to move on.
Multiplayer is improved in this sequel, with more levels
and game types than before. Some of the levels from Red
Faction make a return, with some new levels clearly inspired
by Quake and Unreal Tournament. The bots are
as intelligent as you want them to be; set them to the lowest
level and you will walk over them, on the highest setting
you will get your ass handed to you constantly. The game supports
up to 4 human controlled players at a time, with a max of
6 players in a match. This keeps the game running smoothly,
and the frame rate only drops on the rare occasion that all
characters are in the same area, firing explosive weapons.
Control is a breeze in Red Faction II. The analog
sticks are used to aim and move, while the shoulder buttons
control your firing, jumping and crouching. Most weapons have
a primary and secondary fire attack, and a few weapons can
be used 2-handed, with primary fire controlling the right
gun and secondary fire the left. This comes in handy in certain
situations; you can be firing at the enemy with one gun while
reloading the second, causing a constant stream of fire on
your opponent. Or you can unleash both guns at the same time,
pumping your target full of lead and ensuring he stays down.
Unfortunately, not everything about the game is good. While
there is a larger selection of weapons this time around, not
many of them are worth using; you find yourself using the
same 3-4 weapons throughout the entire game. As mentioned
before, with the exception of the battle armor, the vehicles
aren't very well implemented, and the submarine level is frustrating.
Geo-Mod technology still hasn't seen it's full potential,
and the music isn't anything to write home about. Finally,
the game is quite short, on normal difficulty the average
player should be able to finish the game in about 8-10 hours,
with little incentive to play through again.
Overall though, Red Faction II improves enough over
Red Faction that it's worth your time. The levels are
solid, and the enemy AI provides a fair challenge, ramping
up in difficulty as you progress through the game. While Geo-Mod
still could be used better, the places you do use it in the
game are quite fun, and it's great to jump in the battle armor
and lay waste to everything on screen. Fans of the first Red
Faction will enjoy this game, and those who never played
it will find plenty to like as well.
- - Darken Rahl