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Red Faction 13 Years-Later Review



Thirteen years is a long time, so there is some necessity to forgive the graphics of Red Faction, but of course there is also a limit to that forgiveness.

The first graphical point I want to bring up is one that comes up before entering the game. Some of the graphical options are set via a launcher, including the game's resolution. Sadly this game employs a whitelist of resolutions with the maximum being 1280x1024 and no widescreen options. Get ready for some pillar boxing.

To be fair, this resolution issue is not all that surprising to me and is also not something that I am going to hold against the game. I do wish the available resolutions were not limited like this, but this is how it is.

Something that I am more willing to hold against the game would be the textures it uses. I am not sure how well it comes across in the included screenshots, but many of these textures are blurred from being stretched, completely destroying what detail I want to see. On its own, that could probably be forgiven, but some textures also appear to have compression artifacts in them. I am not certain about what exactly the causes of the artifacts are, but it looks like the difference between 16-bit and 32-bit color palettes. No matter the cause though, it is not pretty, and for my eyes, it jumps out. It can get really bad in some places after exploding part of a wall.



The ability to arbitrarily destroy a large amount of the world is definitely pretty cool. You can use this to find hidden caches, get around locked doors, and get around enemies you would rather avoid. It is not all that good looking though, due to a rather low polygon limit compared to modern games. The explosions also are not particularly good looking, as the flash looks as stretched as the textures on the walls. Those are fair to forgive, if you are willing to.

I am not going to give my computer's specs because I doubt that is necessary. The game's performance was superb at its maximum settings, and I doubt anyone reading this review games on a computer that lacks the hardware to replicate my experience.

Unfortunately my experience was not without bugs. One was a rather serious audio bug, where some of the audio simply stopped during a specific level. Only the music could be heard; neither speech nor gunfire emanated from my speakers. This is somewhat annoying as that leaves you unaware of enemies firing at you until they actually hit you.


The other bug was equally annoying, but appeared to be even more confined. Somehow two enemies became immortal. No matter how many times I shot them, they were simply unaffected. Only after multiple reloads and leaving the area would they finally take damage. At least this issue fixed itself by leaving and returning, but the audio bug appeared to persist through the level, though it did change some when reloading a save. Sometimes I could hear speech or gunfire and sometimes I could not. No idea why it varied as it did, but it eventually stopped.

Overall, the graphics of Red Faction are what you would and should expect of a thirteen-year-old game. Actually they may be a little worse when you consider the issues I mentioned with the textures. That would depend on what the cause of them is. The performance was great, though that audio bug can really break you out of the gameplay. Simply put, this is not a game to play if you want the best graphics experience.


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