Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Volition/Kaiko
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-16
Online: Yes

If I were to rank my all-time favourite games, Red Faction Guerrilla on PS3 would surely be up near the very top. I can?t remember a thing about the story or the characters, but I devoted hours upon hours to simply exploring Mars — and, more importantly, to bashing and blowing up almost literally every single building I came across.

As you can imagine, then, I was pretty happy to find out I?d have a chance to revisit all that destruction with the announcement a few months ago that a remastered — sorry, ?Re-Mars-tered? — version would be arriving on current-gen systems. After all, despite the original game showing time and again just how much fun it could be to take down buildings with nothing but a hammer and some well-placed explosives (as if that was ever in question), and despite advancements in technology that would, presumably, make it easier than ever to build on Red Faction Guerrilla?s achievements, there haven?t been too many games that have tried to up the ante when it comes to destructible environments.

Now that Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is here, however, I?m wondering if I may not be looking back at the original with some nostalgia goggles, because nothing here suggests the game is more than slightly above-average.

Of course, before I get too far down that road, it?s worth recalling what the original RFG was not. Like I said earlier, I don?t remember a thing about the story or characters, and this was because it was a pretty generic story (Mars colonists rebelling against their corporate oppressors), filled with entirely forgettable characters. No amount of polishing is going to change that fact. Whatever plot you?ll find here is really just a vehicle for more destruction — not that I?m complaining, mind you, since I do love some large-scale destruction.

The original Red Faction Guerrilla was also not a very nice-looking game. That fact is driven home here, repeatedly. The characters look absolutely horrifying, and the environments are all an ugly reddish-brown. The latter, to be fair, no doubt has something to do with the fact the game takes place on Mars, but still — it?s not at all pleasant to look at.

Red Faction Guerrilla also wasn?t a model of great controls. At times, this worked to its advantage, thanks to some pretty gloriously stupid ragdoll physics, but it also built in — and continues to build in here — some degree of frustration. Having your character get stuck underneath rubble or stymied by a random rock blocking their path is pretty common, and driving at anything approaching high speed is always a challenge, considering you run the risk of losing control and rocketing yourself into a cliff face.

Of course, in the big scheme of things, none of those issues really matter, since Red Faction Guerrilla essentially lives and dies — both in its original form or its Re-Mars-tered one — on its destruction. And, thankfully, I?m pleased to report that blowing up cars and buildings is generally just as fun here as it was the first time around.

Admittedly, some of the joy gets taken away by the fact that the buildings are all so ugly. Many of them look so rundown already that it?s a miracle they don?t get blown over by a stiff wind, so having to bash away with your trusty hammer feels like overkill.

But even with that factored in, I still got a little thrill every time I?d bash away at a building?s foundations, and hear that little creak as everything starts crashing down around me. Likewise, there?s just something cathartic about placing explosives all over a building, and then seeing them go off one by one as rubble goes flying every which way. Plus, there?s the aforementioned ragdoll factor — it may be frustrating, but it?s also hard not to giggle with glee when you send an enemy (or even yourself) cartwheeling down a hill.

Don?t get me wrong: I?m fully aware that Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is not a great game — or, possibly, even a very good game. But when it works correctly (which is to say, when you?re focusing purely on how much destruction and havoc you can wreak), I don?t think there are many games that can hold a candle to it in terms of how much fun you can have.

THQ Nordic provided us with a Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B