Red Faction: Guerrilla Multiplayer Preview: Wrecking Crew Jazzes Things Up

With 21 maps, two kinds of multiplayer and up to 16 players per online match, Red Faction: Guerrilla offers a lot of opportunities to blow stuff up.

Sadly, though, none of those modes include vehicles like the giant robot mech that you can use to stomp on buildings. This means no mech-to-mech combat; but fear not my communist-themed comrades. You can still wreck a ton of stuff in a short amount of time with only a sledgehammer and your proletariat will to bring down the glass and concrete towers of the capitalist pig Earth Defense Force.

What Is It?
Red Faction: Guerrilla is a third person/sandbox shooter that's a sequel to Red Faction and Red Faction II. In the multiplayer modes, players will not be using the game's main character but rather a set of special characters with their own names and distinguishing features. Multiplayer comes in two formats: one is a standard online mode with six traditional modes like capture the flag and death match (called Anarchy), and the other is a party mode for up to four players called Wrecking Crew, where the basic goal is to destroy as much of an area as possible under certain conditions.

What We Saw
I played one capture the flag match, one team anarchy match, one damage control match (which is like King of the Hill where you're building and rebuilding on set points in the map), and two rounds of Wrecking Crew's Rampage mode which is where you're trying to do more damage in dollars than the other three players.

How Far Along Is It?
The game is due out June 2 which should be enough time to address a few minor graphics issues spotted in the multiplayer modes.

What Should Change?
A Couples of Hiccups in Online Mode: Aside from a few graphics issues like lines appearing above a character's head, I noticed one or two hiccups that would complicate a match. For example, I was playing damage control where the idea is to find empty points to build structures on, or points occupied by an enemy structure so you can knock it down and build your own structure. I happened to be standing on a point where my teammates where going to build a power station and somehow, they wound up building me inside the geometry of the structure. The only way I could get out was by wrecking the whole damn thing, which cost my team points and manpower to come back and rebuild it. It's like… worse than team-killing and totally not my fault.

Stat Screen For Wrecking Crew: There's no breakdown of points awarded in Wrecking Crew, which can lead to confusion. For example, I thought I was doing pretty well in a match where all I had was a sledgehammer to do damage. I found out if I hit green fuel barrels on the tops of builds, it would cave in the roof and sometimes collapse the whole structure completely. Sure, I died doing it, but it seemed like the best way to rack up points and I spawned back at the beginning of the map anyway, so no biggie. However, the dev monitoring my gameplay told me stop getting myself killed because it'd cost me points. After careful experimentation, I'm pretty sure it didn't cost me points – but without a stat screen, there's no way to know if I had a winning strategy or the build had some kind of bug where it wasn't penalizing me for suicide.

Stealth Packs Don't Stealth Enough: With all the stuff blowing up and most of the environments I saw being bright red or orange, it was pretty useless to run around in Predator shield mode. Everybody could see me all of the time and holding still wasn't really the best strategy for capturing a flag or killing an enemy.

What Should Stay The Same?
Straightforward Multiplayer: All the basic modes you could ever want are there, plus the theme-specific demolition and damage control modes that urge you to blow up and wreck as much stuff as possible.

Wrecking Crew: Aside from the stat screen concern, I really did find party mode fun. Even if you kept losing the various modes to better-skilled players with faster fingers, it's still kind of like a puzzle or a scavenger hunt way where you're looking for all the load-bearing walls in an area.

Easy Controls: Everything worked like it was supposed to and it was never hard to change and use weapons or items.

Planning For The Future: Volition has stated that it's committed to supporting Guerrilla long after the launch date. Downloadable content is planned but not yet announced.

Final Thoughts
Just a heads-up: you cannot really use cover in this game. Everything blows up, everything can be caved in. So get used to jumping around in the air a lot to avoid enemy fire.

Overall I can say that Red Faction: Guerrilla is not my kind of game; but I had a lot of fun playing the multiplayer modes. The controls were simple, the modes were familiar and there was a savage appeal in tossing a singularity grenade into a glass-lined hallway just to watch all the windows shatter. If only they would add mechs, I would totally convert myself to a shooter fan just so I could have the privilege of plowing through buildings and enemies alike.