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Red Faction II 11 Years-Later Review



Red Faction II is a first-person shooter, and is as straightforward as one, with one exception, which I will get to in a bit. Being a straightforward first-person shooter, the only character advancement or development comes from finding new and better weapons. Health and armor never increase, so be sure to remember what the game teaches you as you play, because that is the knowledge that will save you.

Though you will eventually have a large selection of weapons, for a large portion of them you will not have to worry about finding special ammo. Many of them use the same small or medium rounds and pull from the same pool. These weapons have their own advantages and disadvantages though, so you will still want to find those that best fit your play style.

The game also features a variety of grenades, but honestly I only ever used one kind because I could never remember the button to switch. I guess that also shows how important those other grenade types are. Honestly though, I would not recommend using the grenades very often because you throw them with such a high arc that you have a good chance of hitting something, causing them to bounce back to you. This did happen to me multiple times. There is another issue with grenades, which I will get to in just a moment.


Thanks to the Geo-Mod engine the game is based in, Red Faction II features destructible objects that can be broken into arbitrary pieces. This is definitely a neat visual, and does occasionally impact gameplay, but neither it nor its impact is omnipresent. Fortunately the times you cannot blow open a wall and the times you do not think you need to roughly coincide. Curiously I have found grenades are not very effective at destroying walls and such. Weapons that fire explosives are a much better solution for when you need some destruction.

The gameplay itself is largely fun, as you move through environments, killing enemies, and occasionally jumping into vehicles to do the same. Later in the game though, I found the difficulty suddenly leapt to a new level, making it very un-fun. The specific problem the game eventually has is that it will continuously spawn enemies in some areas when you have limited resources and need to be careful. Sadly the unending source of enemies makes it next to impossible to feel like you have any control over the game at these times, so every death feels like a punishment for playing instead of a punishment for failure.



Ultimately, as I wanted to actually finish the game, I employed the cheats it offers. Even these were not always useful, but eventually I managed to advance with their help. It is sad that I ever felt like I had to resort to them, but when there is a sniper in a tower that fires explosives and 'zombies' with guns constantly coming for you, it is hard to know what else to do. That is just where it begins though, and it does not improve much after that.

Along with those issues, there is one more that is probably a bit harder to forgive than these. I beat the game in just four hours (according to Steam because I forgot to grab a stopwatch when I started). That is pretty short and sadly the game gives me no reason to want to replay it.

Remember the phrase, 'not bad?' It applies here, too. The gameplay is not bad, but it is not particularly good either. Really there is just not much to say about it either way, which is, unto itself, a disappointment.

  1. Red Faction II Review: Introduction
  2. Red Faction II Review: Graphics
  3. Red Faction II Review: Story
  4. Red Faction II Review: Gameplay
  5. Red Faction II Review: Additional Game Play Images
  6. Red Faction II Review: Conclusion
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