When a new video game generation begins, one of the common desires beyond just improved graphics, is that physics will become more immersive and complex. I think this hope stems from our desire to have more sophisticated ways to interact with our world, and a lot of how we do that is driven by all the math going on in the background.
Destruction though has gotten a bad rap this gen, driven by people calling it out as one of the telltale signs of a bro-game (even if the term itself is kinda pointless). That particular audience associated with the high-octane Call of Duty, the sci-fi epic Halo, or any other such heavy action game. It’s a shame too, because those games only use it as set dressing to represent an environment at war. Even Battlefield for its tech in destruction plays it out in such a limited fashion, and in single-player reduce it to just another canned overly scripted experience.
Red Faction though has always been a series that put an emphasis on destruction being meaningful. Instead of some baked in explosion for spectacle, it was a tool the player could use at their own discretion, with their own creativity, and in a fashion that made sense in the world. In Red Faction Guerilla, no more did you need an AI to open that wooden door to continue, despite having an impact grenade launcher. Instead, you could just blow through it yourself, because why not?! If focused destruction up close is more your style, the very effective hammer is always there, or maybe you want to do this:
Thanks to the generous open-world, an army base with superior numbers, only served as a tactical challenge or a fun puzzle. Buildings would no longer defiantly stand in the air, if you exploited the foundations to a few mines or missiles.
Bridges became traps to engulf oncoming foes:
Instead of all the cinematic fluff we’re used to in big AAA games today, Red Faction let ME set the pace of a given encounter, not a timed set-piece. The single-player was my large playground, to exploit in ways that would make any GTA game blush to this day, yet gleefully fun enough that Just Cause 2 would offer up a fistbump. If anything I wish I could show you better gifs of stuff I did myself, but alas google can't solve everything.
What was especially surprising with my journey in this game, is that it’s a rare example where the creativity was actually best exploited in the multi-player. Instead of just being an experience in static levels with samey weapon loadouts and perks, you’re greeted with an entire suite of backpack powers just for these modes. No more running on the ground with an AK-47, Red Faction multiplayer lets you ascend into the air with a jetpack
firing out lightning that splashes on your foes.
Hate that annoying sniper in the poking out from the small building window? Strap on a rhino pack, and literally charge through the building walls end to end, sending the guy flying. Do you actually want to be that stealthy badass? Load up a stealth backpack, get camouflaged for a short time, and hammer people from behind. Afraid to enter that building full of enemies that could rip you apart? No problem, get next to it with a tremor pack, and project an fing earthquake that topples the whole thing on top of em’. In addition, you have all the weapons of the single-player to combine together, bridges and buildings for cover are very much temporary things, and some of the weirdest strategies form from this amazing toybox.
It is an experience like no other, an answer to the hopes of what people saw in this hardware generation, and a hero that respects you the player. What’s not to love?
Note: As azureguy mentioned, I had forgotten the multiplayer actually let you repair structures as well, which can be very useful, and was one of the very few good things Red Faction: Armageddon added throughout the experience.