Red Faction: Guerrilla Rhino Packs, Destruction and 360 Avatars

I know the video game industry seems to be perpetually going through a shooter glut. And, yes, I love shooters, so I tend to put up with it. So bear that in mind as I proceed to fawn over Volition's upcoming Red Faction sequel, Red Faction: Guerrilla.

The game will be set on a terraformed Mars, 50 years after the events of the original Red Faction game. Now the Earth Defense Force folks are in control and have turned bad. Players will take on the roll of a man caught up in the struggle against the EDF. The game will play out in third-person perspective and the entire world will be destructible.

You can, I was told, bring down an entire three-story building piece by piece. The multi-platform game's open world will also allow you to steal vehicles, swipe weapons even recruit other people to join your band of guerrillas.

While I didn't have a chance to play around with the single player campaign, Volition did give me time, lots and lots of time, to play matches of multiplayer.

Chief among the things that Guerrilla adds to the Red Faction franchise is the fully destructible environment. This time around players get both weapons and special power backpacks as they shoot it out with each other. These packs give players different abilities they can use as they rampage through the stark Martian landscape. Some packs let you thruster hop around the map, other's give you a temporary shield or the ability to charge things and inflict massive amounts of melee damage. That last one, a Rhino Pack, was by far my favorite one to use, allowing me to charge right through a building's wall and take down people camped out inside... with a sledgehammer. That's right, you can run around smashing people with a two-handed sledgehammer. Great fun!

The game will feature five to six modes total including anarchy, team anarchy, capture the flag, bagman and siege. In that last mode, one team tries to defend a structure while the other team tries to dismantle it. In all of the modes teams can repair damaged buildings with a rifle that shoots out what appears to be a cross between flames and plasma.

From what I played through, it looks like the physics are pretty dead on. For instance, you can take out a few stabilizing beams on a very tall building and then watch the whole thing slowly buckle and eventually cave in on itself. Volition told me that the stress system in the game calculates by the second where the stress in a building is and how it should crumble depending on the weight. As buildings topple, debris showers down around you. Nice touch.

The game will support 20 to 25 multiplayer maps, all unique to multiplayer and Volition is toying around with the idea of allowing a third, unnamed, force to be unlockable for multiplayer. Unfortunately, the game won't support co-op multiplayer.

Finally, Volition said that Microsoft came to them back in May or so to talk to them about someone using the Xbox 360's recently unveiled avatar system.

"We are talking with Microsoft about their Mii thing, about maybe allowing you to link up with each other in that and then go into the game."