It’s almost bizarre that Red Faction still hasn’t returned since the disappointing Red Faction: Armageddon. I’d had the series pegged for a bombastic return as the start of this generation rolled around: the series’ signature link to impressive destruction technology could have truly thrived alongside the introduction of stronger CPUs. Instead, the only true destruction tech we’ve seen this gen was in Microsoft’s flaky multiplayer mode for Crackdown 3—a true disappointment. But with the arrival of Red Faction Guerrilla on Switch, my disappointment is waning slightly, because this singular port has reminded me just how much I adore video game destruction.
Aside from the destruction—which I’ll touch on later—there’s nothing all that unique in Red Faction: Guerrilla. The protagonist, Alec Mason, is your generic buzzcut American who joins the Red Faction resistance on Mars after his brother gets “phat murdered”. It’s not an original story, and every character is basically an archetype, but Guerrilla still entertains entirely through its gameplay.
Okay, now we can talk about the destruction—how hasn’t this been beaten yet? As you move from open-world mission to open-world mission—clearing outposts, destroying bases, rescuing hostages and the like—you’ll get to experience the thrill of shooting, hammering and blasting huge structures into teeny, tiny bits.
Combat can be played in two ways: generic third-person shooter with simplistic-but-effective weaponry or in the guise of Danny McBride in Tropic Thunder. I chose the latter: I blew up everything and the straggling enemies left behind? Well, let’s just say there’s nothing as satisfying as Guerrilla’s weighty sledgehammer.
Of course, you are supposed to be a bit more careful with your destruction when friendly NPCs are around, but who has time for that? Not me! One area sees a few hostages captured within an enemy base, to the side rests a large tower. Now, I could go in and take out the guards with an EDF Assault Rifle, but why do that? Instead, I go to the tower, chuck down a few remote charges, blow them and watch the tower slam down through the top of the base.
Later on in Guerrilla, you’ll get access to more weapons which’ll help you break down buildings with greater ease. EDF Singularity Bombs are a highlight: strapping these bombs to a building and activating them will see a mini black hole appear, ripping the plaster off walls, bending the rebar, bringing in the ceiling, and pulling in nearby enemies. It’s a devastating weapon, a rare one too, but it’s an essential part of the power fantasy that Guerrilla always manages to deliver.
It helps then that Red Faction: Guerrilla on Switch is a perfect match. On a large TV, it looks just as I remembered it on Xbox 360 which probably means it looks at least a tad bit better. Performance is great, too, especially in the aptly named “high performance” mode. As someone who’s recently been going through a huge and frantic last-minute manual house move, Guerrilla has become a much-needed zen within a hectic moment in my life.
In fact, through this busy time, I only realised just how much Red Faction: Guerrilla perfectly suits a handheld console. Thankfully, I have jeans with pockets deep enough to hold my Switch, allowing me to pull out my console whenever I damn well please. Jumping into Guerrilla for twenty minutes or two hours? There’s always fun, albeit repetitive fun, to be had. It’s a perfect match for the Nintendo Switch, it’s a match made in Mars.