Review by: Jonathan Hynes
Published: May 3, 2003
Less than two years ago, an extraordinary first-person shooter was released for PlayStation 2. Though the core gameplay and multiplayer elements had been done before, it featured a unique engine that allowed users to utterly destroy the environments. The title was Red Faction, and the engine was the innovative Geo-Mod. Six months after the sequel was released for Sony’s PS2, Volition has finally given Xbox owners a chance to see what all the excitement is about.
For the second game in the Red Faction series, the conflict shifts from 22nd century Mars to Earth. Ruthless dictator Victor Sopot stole the secrets of nano-technology from Ultor Corporation, the merciless conglomerate featured in the first title. Bringing this technology back to Earth, Sopot created a small, but mighty army consisting solely of enhanced soldiers. Unfortunately, up to 73 percent of those altered suffered psychological damage, while the IQ of 99 percent increased. Realizing his creations were too powerful, the Chancellor ordered his human army to wipe out the band of advanced warriors. This is where your adventure begins.
You assume the identity of a man named Alias, a genetically enhanced soldier and one of the lucky 27 percent who show no serious signs of psychological change. Five other non-playable warriors join you in your quest to overthrow Sopot’s Commonwealth: Shrike, Molov, Tangier, Quill and Repta. Each has his or her own unique attribute or specialty. For example, Alias is a demolitions expert, Shrike excels at piloting vehicles and Quill is the company’s resident sniper. These abilities come into play throughout the course of the game, as Quill frequently lays down sniper fire while you attempt to complete objectives, and Shrike pilots a Hover Flyer and a tank in two of the more hectic missions.
The hero of the previous game, Parker, is noticeably absent from Red Faction II, not to mention his group of rebel friends and heartless enemies. This would seem to indicate that the developers intended it to be an indirect sequel rather than the second part of an ongoing series. Save for the connections to Ultor and other sly references, the original game almost seems like a separate entity altogether. As a result, no prior experience with Red Faction is required to understand the story.