RED FACTION / THQ / Playstation 2
 
 
Red Faction was a near-launch title for the PS2, ballyhooed (at the time) as it was the first big FPS for the system. Aside from introducing the now-standard two-stick control scheme for console shooters, Red Faction's other big deal was Destructable Terrain.

Usually the FPS games that pioneer a concept are only really good in their own time, and just continue to age more and more poorly as the concepts they introduced are refined better and better and make the original implementation look more and more primitive. See Duke Nukem 3D for a number of prime examples. In the case of Red Faction's two-stick controls, this is true; they do feel somewhat laggy and slow compared to PS2 titles released not long after (like Timesplitters), let alone today's games. In the case of the Explodable Terrain, however, not so much, since this is a feature that most other FPS since haven't chosen to try to go with. At the time, we were coming off of the 90s, where the standard for FPS games was to force you to collect colored keycards endlessly; Red Faction refreshingly effs off the keycards, and allows you to blow holes in the wall near the door instead.

On the whole it's sort of reminiscent of Goldeneye/Perfect Dark's shooting mechanics merged with Half-Life's no-cutscenes progressive storytelling. It doesn't do either of those things better than the games it cribs from, but it actually does them both fairly well all the same. The character models actually aren't all that much better than those seen in Half-Life or Perfect Dark, but I'll take Gameplay over Pretty any day. Especially in an 11-year-old game.

So it largely pulls off the "destructable terrain" thing by using a lot of brown, drab, repetitive textures ... and it front-loads the destructible stuff to the first half of the game, with the second half mostly in steel environments that aren't as explorable ... the aiming and AI are just a shade janky ... and the plot and characters are totally forgettable. All those gripes aside, I actually think this is a decent old FPS that has managed to age decently. Certainly worth the $1 or $2 you can easily find used copies floating around for here in the U.S.
 
 
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