Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Red Faction Blues

You are tasked with levelling an EDF controlled watch tower. Initally the alert status is green and you can easily sneak around the few guards and get up to the base of the tower. Your trained eye assesses the tower and you can see that a couple of strategically placed demolition charges will do the job. You lay the first charge and suddenly the previously sleepy guards wake up. The alert status goes to yellow. In yellow status the guards are aware of your presence and will try to seek you out. It gets hard to concentrate on placing your demo charges with bullets whizzing past you so you turn and shoot  the nearest two guards. These guys re-spawn almost immediately so you shoot their replacements. This jacks up the alert status to orange. The number of guards spawning doubles and you now have a firefight on your hands and you need to duck behind cover to recover from your wounds. Dodging and weaving you kill 4, 5, 6 more guards but they keep coming and then .. the alert status ramps up to red. The area is now flooded with shotgun wielding guards and a gunship flies overhead. You are now hopelessly outgunned. A couple of local insurgents have joined the fight on your side
but they are ineffectual in the face of such an onslaught. Your only hope of survival is to get into a vehicle and drive away as fast as you possible can all thought of demolishing the watchtower forgotten.

In my opinion the colour coded alert system in Red Faction just does not add to the game. It is like a Hydra in that the the more enemies you kill the more enemies spawn. This is a mechanic that would work well in a stealth game. Red Faction could work very well as a stealth game but the developer choose not to make stealth a viable option. The moment you swing a hammer or place a charge you are going to set alarm bells ringing and the whole thing snowballs. What you end up with is a wonderful demolition game hindered by a fairly crappy shooting game.

2 comments:

Cap'n John said...

One does wonder why quietly setting a packet of plastic explosive against a wall, while out of sight of the guards no less, would set off alarm bells in the first place.

A long time ago I thought I might be interested in the game Commandos, so I dl'd the tutorial and gave it a play. While initially it seemed very sandbox-like and appeared to allow the player a lot of freedom with what they could do to complete the Mission, if you did actually want to complete the Mission there seemed to be only one correct way to do so. Veering off that path by killing the wrong guards, even if none of the other guards saw what you did and even if you hid the body, the fact that you'd killed a guard somewhere on the level increased the alertness of all the remaining guards.

Have you checked out the GTA-like game called The Saboteur? It seems a rather interesting concept, and might prove more fun to play than Red Faction.

mbp said...

Don't get me wrong Capn John. THe demolition in RFG is so much fun that I am still enjoying the game its just that the combat is so annoying. Someone else suggested to me that the game is more fun on and "Easy" setting - I might try that.

Nope I haven't tried the Sabateur game. I'll keep an eye out of it.