It seems that you're using an outdated browser. Some things may not work as they should (or don't work at all).
We suggest you upgrade newer and better browser like: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera

Hey GOGers.

I tried to put up a review of Red Faction II on the game page here, but I keep getting told it's too long. I'm actually quite surprised as it's less than a thousand words. What's the length supposed to be for reviews here? In the meantime, here goes my Red Faction II Review.

A Game Designed By Committe, and It Shows.

Red Faction II is a sequel in name only. The only reference to the first game is a throwaway line in a cinematic after the first level, and the name Red Faction isn’t used in any way to evoke the rebellion of the original title. This can, of course, be forgiven. Grand Theft Auto and the mainline Final Fantasy series are perfectly fine with not having direct links between entries.

What can't be forgiven, however, is just how much worse the game play is than its predecessor. In many ways, this is a by-the-numbers cash in, a desperate attempt to cash in on both the previous game's success and the increasing success of the FPS genre in the wake of Halo.

First off, is the heads-up display, which is HUGE. Much of the screen's top is obstructed obnoxiously huge health and ammo gauges that don't relay anywhere near enough information to justify how hideously huge it is.

Then there's the weapons. There are a variety of guns in the game, and several have dual-wield versions. However, there are groups of weapons which will use the same sets of ammo. For example, the pistol, uzis and silenced SMG all take light rounds. The problem is that it's very easy to forget which weapons take what when in the thick of things, leading to embarrassing situations where the player tries to save ammo by using a lesser weapon, only to find that the weapon s/he was trying to save ammo on used the same rounds as the crappier ones.

Worse yet, the guns don't feel that powerful. Enemies are bullet sponges in this title. Early on, it becomes clear that anything but head-shots are a waste of time unless using a sniper or explosive weapon. Unlike the previous game, which had harder enemies come in much later, damn near everything in this game takes at least half a clip to kill when aiming center-mass. The guns also look and feel weak, with muted firing sounds and recoil animations. The weapons aren't that fun to fire compared to the original, or even compared to contemporary shooters such as Project Snowblind, Halo, or Deus Ex. With the wimpy, cap-gun feel the weapons all have, it's very difficult to decide what the best weapon to use for any situation may be.

Graphics are also an issue. It's clear that there was more than a bit of Halo influence here as the dark, claustrophobic caverns and sterile office buildings have been replaced by strangely colorful urban sprawl with tastelessly bright lighting that really undermines the feel of what is supposed to be a dystopia under the rule of a wicked despot. The player character looks especially like a Halo reject, with comically large, brightly colored armor that looks more tacky than anything else.

The game is a somewhat decent length, though they go about check-pointing strangely. Rather than having the player be able to save at any point, or having a frequent checkpoint system a la Halo, the game's levels are extremely short, with frequent load times punctuated in between stages, and the game auto-saves at the beginning of each stage. While this greatly reduces the backtracking seen in the previous game, the action is broken up much more frequently, and the increased loading time between stages becomes aggravating very quickly.

There are also several on-rails sequences and a suit of battle armor that shows up near the end of the first half. However, much like when on-foot, the weapons feel underpowered, and the lack of control will have players only wishing to be back on foot as soon as possible.

The most depressing thing about this game, however, is the lack of environment destruction. This game, like the original, runs on the Geo-Mod engine. However, there's even fewer destructible objects in this game than the previous, and there's very little rhyme or reason as to what can and can't be blown up. Having one bit of wall be destructible next to another that isn't is a frequent, disorienting part of the experience, and one that will often leave the player stumped as to where the hell to go for the level to progress.

In many ways, Red Faction II is a game designed by people with different sets of objectives. Some people wanted to create a proper sequel, while others wanted to make a clone of Halo, which had at the time become a runaway success. Like so many games before and after it, Red Faction II lacks a clear vision of what it's intended to be, and instead ends up not being much of anything.

Of special note is the PC port, which was handled by Outrage Games, the other half of the Parallax Software whole (Volition being the ones we remember). Unlike the original game, there was no effort placed into making the game more intuitive for PC users. The game assumes the player is using a controller to start with, with in game tutorial messages instructing players to press controller buttons unless those buttons are manually cleared in the options menu. The menu fonts, much like the in-game hud, are enormous, and as mentioned before, the user has almost no control of when s/he saves the game. This was a quick and dirty port of a quick and dirty game.

Hardcore FPS nuts who've already played every other game in the genre on GoG (not bloody likely, considering the excellent lineup that can be found here) might want to give it a shot when the next big sale comes along, but the rest should probably just pass.
Post edited February 16, 2014 by RawSteelUT
RawSteelUT: I tried to put up a review of Red Faction II on the game page here, but I keep getting told it's too long. I'm actually quite surprised as it's less than a thousand words. What's the length supposed to be for reviews here?
1500 characters, as of some time ago when it was reduced for no known reason. I posted some links to related threads in a comment under
Have it on my PS2 still. Back when my XBox worked I had RF2 on that, played against bots with my friends all the time. We would set it up and try to hold out all the time as long as we could. I think the game is really fun. It's a scripted campaign just like the first game. I personally think the weapons in general are better. But it did really bug me how minimal GeoMod was in this game. I remember mining through a level before in RF1, but the miner couldn't make a straight hole for the life of me. Really I think GeoMod was a small thing overall for RF1, a cool proof-of-concept addition that actually added a little to the game where you could blast through walls. In this way RF1 will be remembered as giving this gift to FPS's, as now the Frostbite Engine from DICE has been attempting to recreate this capability with buildings and levels. But like RF2, even Battlefield 4 has this to a certain degree and you cannot fully blast away anywhere you want.