Red Faction Guerrilla
By a mile the game we most wanted to learn more about and play at THQ's event was Red Faction Guerrilla, the next game in the sci-fi shooter series from developer Volition. The first two Red Faction titles emphasized destructible environments with the game's GeoMod engine. Even though its been a few years since the release of Red Faction 2, few games released since have offered the type of options for just pure player created mayhem that Volition's titles have had. For the third game in the series, Volition decided to take a bit of a risk. Instead of a first person shooter, Red Faction Guerrilla will be a third person action game a la Gears of War. Like the first two games the third title is set on Mars, now terraformed with a breathable atmosphere. However, your character is once again going after the oppressive corporation that seeks to do more than just make some profits.
The playable level we got to check out showcased the game's destructible content in a huge way. Your default weapon in the game isn't some wimpy pistol; it's a sledgehammer and you can use it immediately to strike against the many structures that you can take out in the game. The sledgehammer deals some surprising amount of damage; you can quickly make a lot of holes in the game's buildings (concrete is easily damaged; metal structures take a little longer to take out). Of course you have other weapons at your disposal from rocket launchers, to machine guns, to energy weapons. You don't have to take out buildings in the game directly. There will likely be items near structures like electrical stations and gas tanks that will blow up quite nicely with one or two shots from a machine gun.
The actual destructible effects are certainly a cut or two above what we have seen in the first two Red Faction titles. There's a lot more random pieces and particles thrown out when you destroy items in Red Faction Guerrilla, and if you destroy just enough in just the right spots you can bring the rest of the building down without having to blow up every single piece. You don't want to be near the building when this happens, however; objects have real weight in this game and a falling roof can damage or even kill you.
The game's mission structure is handled via radio broadcasts that you receive from fellow rebel factions. They may order you to go rescue some hostages, or take out a convoy of armored vehicles. Yes, there are a number of drivable vehicles in the game from simple jeeps, to transport trucks, to APCs. However you will most certainly enjoy operating one vehicle in particular in the game. The one-man mech like loader is not only fun to drive around, but its two arms are perfect for pretty much wrecking havoc anywhere in the loader's path. From bulldozing down buildings, to flipping vehicles several feet in the air, to just flicking those annoying human enemies to the ground with their peashooters, it's going to be a pleasure to find that loader in the full game.
Red Faction Guerrilla met and even exceeded our high expectations even with this early build. It looks like Volition will give us the pure destructible experience that we have been expecting from this sequel. The game will be out for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in the fall of 2008 and we will have more info on the game in the months ahead.