Kotaku AU Games Of 2009: #9

Kotaku AU Games Of 2009: #9

The countdown of my personal picks for the best games of 2009 is now underway. For the next two weeks I’ll be running down my top ten. At #9 we lead the resistance on Mars…

9. Red Faction: Guerrilla (360, PS3, PC)

When you play a lot of games – like I do, and I’m sure most of you do as well – it’s easy to fall into a routine. I was playing Red Faction: Guerrilla recently to refresh my memory before compiling my picks of the year. I had taken on one of those missions where you lead a group of miners against a small EDF base.

It had begun well, we’d commandeered one of their armoured vehicles and I’d picked off a dozen EDF troops from the mounted turret. Then I pushed further into the base on foot.

I found myself hunkered down behind a wall, getting sniped by several guys in the building ahead. Routine took over and I was trying to pop out from cover and take them down with my assault rifle. As you’d do in any other third-person shooter.

But then I remembered what game I was playing. So I switched to my satchel charges and lobbed four at the building, sticking them at intervals below the second floor windows. I triggered them in quick succession causing the front of the building to collapse and killing all the snipers at once. Soon we’d rounded up the stragglers and secured the base for the resistance.

Destruction is the point. Volition took the open world template they’d designed for Saints Row and transplanted it onto Mars. It’s a solid base. But what makes Red Faction: Guerrilla truly shine is the destruction. Slamming your space hammer into concrete and metal never gets old. Realising just how much the destruction expands your palette of options is what sets Guerrilla apart.

Space asshole, I salute you.

Kotaku AU’s Games of 2009 are my personal picks for the best games of the year. I make no claim to have played everything released this year, nor do I pretend to be any way objective in my rankings. I look forward to debating my choices with you in the comments.


  • Another game I haven’t played! Unlike Borderlands though, I haven’t picked this one up yet.
    I’d heard good things about Red Faction, mainly about the destruction, but I (not having played any Red Faction games) thought it would be a bit of a gimmick – similar to Fracture’s ground morphing that was a great idea but didn’t have the fun gameplay to back it up.

    I might have to pick RF up at some point – it does sound fun.

    • Its definitely not a gimmick, just about everything you can see can be destroyed, and it’s not just there for the sake of being there either, destroying things is actually very strategic. The game actually gives you a reason to do this more than just once because it looks cool.

  • Red Faction is probably # 2 or 3 for me. I absolutely loved the destruction in it, and the very many ways you could tackle a problem such as entrenched attackers like in your post. I rented it a few times and had an absolute blast. I think the game is quite cheap now, I’m definitely going to pick this up when I go out next. The physics are simple, yet look amazing when you smash and blow up buildings and other things in all of the zones. Would recommend to anyone.

  • The destruction has always been what has set Red Faction apart from other FPS games. I remember when I got the original red faction back on the PS2 and I was at a part with a door I couldn’t open, well rather than figure out what I actually needed to do, I just made a whole in the wall right next to the door and went on my way. The only problem I have with this game is I don’t think they are fully taking advantage of their environment (in terms of art direction) the levels do look a little bland.

  • I enjoyed this game, but not enough to actually purchase it. It is a lot of fun to destroy everything but, I’ll give it that 🙂

  • Yeah, I missed this one as well… the first Red Faction was one of my favourite PS2 games, second made me cringe at how bad it was… this looked like a cash in, but sure enough, it’s now on my list of games I still need to play. I think it’s somewhere between Chronicles of Riddick and Demon’s Souls…

  • Great game, if I block out memories of how incredibly frustrating the final mission was. I was ready to throw my controller through the TV over that.

      • Completely unrelated to Red Faction: Guerrilla (since it’s one of the games I completely missed), but where does one draw the line between:
        Situation 1: Dying a few times and learning what you did wrong, and getting complete satisfaction after beating the mission/game, or,
        Situation 2: Dying enough times that when you do finally finish the mission game, you declare that it the experience of the entire game was marred by that insanely hard level/cheap boss/Stupid McStupidness?

        I like to think that I have high patience for games, but I were to, say, die 10 times due to an extremely crappy auto-save point in Modern Warfare 2, which so happened to save right before I was about to be SHOT IN THE FACE (hypothetically, let’s say), feelings of rage-quittyness take over, and there may or may not be swearing at the monitor.

        • I had so much fun it more more number one since I had so much fun blowing shit up that I didn’t really care if I finished, it was only after blundering through it a few items I began to realize my blitzkrieg through the EDF wasn’t the best strategy.

          Although situation number two arised a while back with DMC 4, the Saviour wasn’t the last boss but it sure as hell pissed me off.

        • It was definitely the latter for me. See, you had this pretty tough driving bit. Then a tough on foot bit. Then the final battle with a boss that could insta-kill you if you got in his line of sight (not to mention almost insta-kill gunships circling the arena). I’d be fine with all that, if there were checkpoints… which there weren’t. So I spent maybe half an hour learning how to get through the driving and walking bits, only to insta-killed because I didn’t know the layout of the boss arena yet.

          So, so, so much rage.

          • For the on foot part after the tank battle I just ended up running past all the EDF, up the ledges and towards the final boss. I just used the Thermobaric rockets to kill him. Easy.

    • Borderlands has a story? Really? After 2 hours of GoThereShootThisComeBack I threw in the towel and swapped it for Dragon Age.

      As for RF2, it was a blast, but like Prototype, inFamous and even State of Emergency before them, once you’ve finished the storyline, the replay value of carnage wanes VERY quickly.

    • You’ll love it, man. I’m going to JB later today to get some Wii Points for Majora’s Mask (fuck I loved that game), and probably Pokemon Platinum/Spirit Tracks, and I’m going to see how much Red Faction is. If it’s cheap, I’m getting it.

  • I agree with this pick. While, like Borderlands there was an almost complete lack of story, Red Faction: Guerilla decided to compensate for this shortcoming with an overdose of funderful.

    Throwing satchel charges at everything but the sun, RF:G indulged almost all of my destructive whims.

    Who needs a compelling story or characters when you can completely dismantle your surroundings?

    • I thought the story wasn’t too bad, but yeah the characters were forgettable. Even though the story was a twist on a generic “free kingdom from opressor” I didn’t mind it too much, actually.

      But that could have been because I was obsessed with putting demo charges on every building.

    • On that note, we seem to be getting more and more games that focus on gameplay mechanics rather than story. Certainly not a bad thing, and it’s hailing back to earlier games, but it’s a bit odd. Part of the push for CD technology with the Playstation was that developers could create massive worlds with epic stories. We got that for a few years, and a large majority of the better games had some sort of story. Not all were indepth, but most good games had a story of some sort.
      Lately we seem to be getting more and more games that have only the hint of a story and instead focus on making game mechanics as fun as possible. Both the Left 4 Dead games, Borderlands (so I’ve been told), Red Faction (so I’ve been told again) all have minimalist stories. Perhaps the games that never really needed a story in the first place have finally done away with them?

      It just seems to be a new way of thinking, because on the other hand we’ve got games that have a hugely engaging story (Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, just about any RPG you can name).

      Anyone else noticed this or is it just me?

    • TV’s a prime contender, just see Destroyed in Seconds (a.k.a. Big Shit Blows Up Good), Deadliest Warrior (a.k.a. Die Fucker, Die) and World’s Wildest Police Chases (a.k.a. Car Burn Siren Crash Awesome)

  • For the little time i did play this (and enjoy it) – Red Faction sorta feels like a Far Cry. Each game, although following a similar storyline with the nano-technology and all that blah blah. But it seems they can’t stick with a valid selling point (yes there is the awesome destruction). But what Far Cry 2 is to the original, it feels like you’re not really playing Red Faction when playing the sequels.

    Don’t get me wrong, good games. But seriously, change the name. It’s not like Red Faction is such a popular franchise that anything grouped with the RF tag is an insta-sell.

  • I never really decided whether the Nano Rifle or Gauss Rifle was cooler. I mean, sure, the Nano Rifle literally MELTS people (and buildings!), but being a cheap bastard by shooting through walls is fun too. And there isn’t any way better to beat stress than launching a nuke at a building and watching it be completely obliterated.

    I think the game lost a bit of steam about three quarters of the way through, but up until that point it really was a fun experience.

    • Have you melted the supports on an EDF-controlled bridge, watched trunks and tanks fall into a valley below? There was one such target somewhere. I used the Nano Rifle. Best moment in the game.

  • I was a fan of the original red factions, guerilla was fun, innovative but the story was kind of lame and maybe a little too much freedom was given. It kind of felt like Assassins Creed 1 where there are lots of people but your unable to interact. And as for the destruction, what you can destroy is awesome but its all the same type of building etc. Give us a stronger story, more varied environment and interactive world and then you get my vote for one of the top 10# for the year. Damn im fussy.

  • Guerilla would have been better if they had also let you destroy the landscape as in the original Red Faction, would have made it even funner, can always hope for the next one!!

  • I wonder if downloadable games are considered for the list. Sure, they’re not as big, or as involved, as your typical boxed game. But I’ve been having a blast with some original downloadable titles this year. I’ve been enjoying them more than most big titles.

  • Downloadable games are still games as suggested by the title they are given. Therefore, they deserve every right to be included in GOTY lists.

    I would have given Geometry Wars 2 GOTY if i was some high profile critic. But i ain’t…

    But there are A LOT of games on Marketplace that just crap all over retail games. And they are getting better by the year. Especially now that MS don’t really care how large a file is and gave up on the limit. It’s good – it gives more dev’s a opportunity to release the game how they want it digitally and easily.

  • The one complaint I really have about Red Faction? The ambience. I totally couldt buy into the whole I’m on Mars with a righteous resistance thing because EVERYONE seems to be yelling at me about how unjust their circumstances are. The whole feeling of a “living” Mars was just not there. Far Cry 2 did better, but most of the missions, including the cookie-cutter instantly respawning checkpoints were so… Hollow. I wanted more Father Maliya missions, more stuff other than playing Yojimbo in modern Africa.

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