Right before they turned us loose on their game, the developers of Red Faction: Guerrilla gave their PR pitch and multiplayer instructions with a relaxed confidence. Having not closely followed the game, outside of the hilarious Ostrich Hammer ordeal, I interpreted this as a sign of good things to come.
And it definitely was. I'm likely not the first person to say this, but do not sleep on RFG: it could very well be this summer's multiplayer fling. Here's the rundown of the game's six modes:
- Anarchy & Team Anarchy – Standard Deathmatch, wherein points are exchanged for murders!
- Capture the Flag – Of the two-flag variety.
- Siege – One team attacks three facilities with the intent to destroy, the other team defends and rebuilds the key structures with the Reconstructor weapon.
- Damage Control – Three control points on the map, points are accrued depending on how long you hold the areas.
- Demolition – One member of each team is dubbed the Destroyer, and it's his job to rack up points by busting down as much of the map's buildings as he can. Each team needs to defend their Destroyer while eliminating the other team's.
Red Faction's destructible environments obviously come into play, in that cover isn't permanent and you need to be mindful of all large explosions, lest you find yourself trapped in an imploding building. Another element that I initially thought might be negligible, but is actually vital in every single mode, is the power-up backpack. They come in 10 different flavors, and are scattered around the maps in the form of stations. Each station only has 3 available packs, so if you're playing with large teams, you're going to have to learn how to use multiple powers. Which happen to be:
- Fleetfoot – A brief burst of running speed. Good for getting from cover to cover, closing the distance between you and a target, or even getting quickly to a different backpack.
- Stealth – Temporary invisibility (but not total disappearance, think of it like Metal Gear Solid's light-bending stealth camo).
- Vision – Gives you a better location of enemy targets in your field of view.
- Thrust – A powerful boost skyward, propelling you through structures and causing collateral damage. Useful for when you can't get your hands on the...
- Jetpack – I can fly! For a short period of time!
- Rhino – Remember how Juggernaut was pretty lame in 'X-Men 3?' This powerful charge move is much cooler than that. Knocks down nearby foes for either quick escapes or easy pickings.
- Tremor – Sends out vibrations in your vicinity that are good for disrupting enemy movement and knocking down buildings.
- Firepower – A temporary power boost to your projectile weapons. Heal – Gives you your health back, dummy! (/Dr. Steve Brule)
- Concussion – A short-range shockwave that knocks everyone back a few yards.
It took a while for all of these ingredients to mix for me, but when they did, it felt like I was playing some strange brew of Unreal Tournament and Shadowrun – two multiplayer-based games that I really enjoyed. The various combinations of weapons and backpacks made it feel like I was creating my own class, when it was using Stealth to move undetected between cover points, uncloaking just in time to launch a barrage of rockets, and recloaking and escaping before the next guy came through to scavenge kills. Or when I used the Jetpack to get up to the top of a rock formation in the middle of the map, tracked an enemy player making a last-ditch attempt to tear down our Headquarters before time ran out, and sent a saw blade through his neck before landing softly next to the newly-headless torso. This is definitely a game that can generate these fun and unique scenarios.
Red Faction: Guerrilla Multiplayer Trailer
There is an experience system in place, but it's used as a way to unlock new characters and XP bonus events (one that I noticed was called "Synchronized Kill," where you kill an enemy the same time a teammate does). And the Ostrich Hammer? Well, nobody played long enough to unlock it during the event, but it absolutely is in the game, proving that Volition has a great sense of humor to go along with the design chops. The good news is that a multiplayer demo is coming on May 21st, so you'll be able to try this out for yourselves.