If it sells, give it a sequel. Red Faction wasn't that good of a game, but a lot of people bought it, meaning that a sequel is inevitable. So here we are with Red Faction 2, which is almost the same game! But you want to know what's funny? Even though it's almost the same thing, it feels like a better game! The shooting is more exciting, which is what it needed to keep itself afloat, and the Geo Modding, although toned down, is much more important for the single player campaign. It's weird what a few small improvements can do to a game! I mean, it's not the next great shooter, but it's certainly a hell of a lot better than the first game!
One such improvement is the story. Five years after the first game, there are super soldiers that are enhanced by nanotech, and their mission is to take down the Red Faction. But one thing leads to another and now the super soldiers are alongside the Red Faction to fight against the evil dictator, Sopot. It might not sound like a great concept, but just roll with it, and you'll find yourself experiencing a story that's actually not too bad overall, and is certainly much better than the first game's.
How so? Simple – the pacing is like a thousand times better! Instead of just dragging shit on, it flows a lot more coherently. When there's a twist, it's easy to believe that it's a twist and not just the writers dragging it on for hours and hours.. granted, there's only like one or two twists, but hey, there are twists, that's something worth noting. On top of that, it knows it's basically a group of tough guys saving the world, and it doesn't try too hard to be more than that. Having said that, it's a pretty captivating story... I'm actually surprised. It's not quite Deus Ex, but as we're dealing with another five hour long game, it definitely feels like five hours, and it certainly feels satisfying from a storytelling perspective.
I like big guns and I cannot lie. Like the first game, Red Faction 2 is a first person shooter. The arsenal of weapons is quite similar – you still got lasers, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and machine guns, and you can still access their alternate firing modes, like heat seeking missiles from the rocket launcher. Also from the first game are vehicle sections, and between controlling the guns on tanks and gunships, and full control of mechs and submarines, not only is easy transition fluid since they control similarly to how you control on foot (WASD movement with mouse controlling your head and gun), well, you can bet your sweet ass these will be awesome... except for the fact that they're brief as hell.
What gives Red Faction 2 more bite is just that each situation feels more... interesting. The first game was competent, but it lacked a lot of pizzazz. This time around, the enemies offer more resistance, there seems to be more of them, and... oh wait, the level designs aren't quite there, yet. But even though the levels are once again linear, it doesn't hurt the game much because each situation involving a firefight is actually interesting for a change. Actually, the AI in general is much better. Your allies aren't quite as stupid as they were, as they can actually put up a fight instead of dying within 3 seconds of being spawned.
Sadly, the geo modding system from the first game is toned down. Instead of being able to blow most things up, you can only blow up certain things. The funny thing is that you're encouraged to use it more during this game to blow some big obstacle up. In the first game, you were able to use it to basically make your own doors after a fair amount of shots, but here, no service. The gimmick is, once again, heavily underused.
Also, this is a pretty short game... like 5 hours long! Unlike the last game which felt like it took an eternity, this felt more like a blur. Because everything was exciting, let's just say that it was rather disappointing for it to end so soon. An hour or two longer would've
Killing is fun with fr-- umm... ...where's the multiplayer at? No, matches against bots don't count, especially when the last game had ONLINE MULTIPLAYER! Well, okay, you could have a match against other people in the room... just crowd around the computer. Pretty *bleep*ing fun, ey? Nah, it's pretty lame and I don't understand why they did this. It's because of this, though, that you realize that the maps are simply okay. They do their job of setting up some decent firefights, but that's about it.
Console port... sigh. The graphics, once again, look like they were lifted right out of the console version. Sure, they looked good on the consoles, but on the PC, eh, you could probably do better. There are a few washed out textures, which just baffles me... like, couldn't they whitewash this? Guess they forgot. Even then, everything may look nice and run smoothly, but they simply lack all of the things you'd expect really good looking PC games to have, like crispiness (sometimes, things look blurry) and some advanced effects you wouldn't be able to pull off on consoles. It sucks, because what we got does look good most of the time!
BOOM Once again, the sound effects kick a lot of ass. There's a lot of testicular fortitude behind the guns, not to mention... the explosions. Aww yeah, these sound damn good, like real explosions! Unfortunately, the other two aspects of sound design – voice acting and soundtrack – aren't very good. The voice acting, again, just seems a little too campy, which doesn't go well with the serious story. It's tolerable, but just not very good. The soundtrack is literally background noise, like what's the point of it and all that...
A cause worth figh-- oh wait, I've already used this. Well, buy or skip? There. Red Faction 2 is a substantial improvement over the original. More interesting firefights, better AI and an even better story. I wish they used the geo modding system a little better, and that it was a little longer, but all in all, this is still a good game and certainly a lot of fun. If you can find a copy, go get it. It's not the next Half Life 2, but it's still worth a few coins.
Story: 8/10 Much better. It's actually quite an interesting tale this time. Gameplay: 7/10 Firefights are definitely a lot better with more going on. No online support, though? Oh mate, you're breaking my balls. Controls: 9/10 Controls are smooth and easy to get the hang of, unless this is like your first shooter in the first person perspective. Graphics: 7/10 They're aesthetically pleasing – just not as good as they could've been if it was developed for PC and not for consoles. Sound: 3/10 Sound effects are good, while the music doesn't exist and the voice acting is not very good.