Red Faction: BattlegroundsESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Action Games
Offline players 1 – 4
Online multiplayer 1 – 4
Red Faction: Guerrilla was my first foray into the Red Faction series and I became a fan after many hours put into the title. With another Red Faction coming very soon and with the now released Red Faction: Battlegrounds we get an arcade taste of the destruction and mayhem we have become accustomed to with Red Faction.
Visually, the gameplay of Red Faction: Battlegrounds is an overhead map that takes place in a variety of areas such as Parker Town (players of Guerrilla should recognize the name), an ice mine, wasteland or a biohazard dumping ground to name a few. Scattered throughout are buildings, vegetation, chemical spills, cargo crates and many other items that you might find in the desolate area of a desert planet. Giving credit where it is due the developers did a great job of recreating the world of Red Faction: Guerrilla in an arcade version, but at the same time the environments are generic in design and a bit more creativity would have been nice.
Red Faction: Battlegrounds, being a vehicle based game, has a variety of vehicles you can use that range from an ATV, flatbed truck, armoured trucks, tanks and walkers. Each of these vehicles are easily recognizable from Guerrilla and for those who haven’t played that title you will be able to easily relate to the designs of each vehicle. There is nothing special about the vehicles, but they are easily discernible from each other and have their own unique look which is great when you are choosing your targets.
Once again, Red Faction: Battlegrounds borrows from the previous Red Faction title by using some of the music from the soundtrack. The music inspires a sense of mayhem, destruction and rebellion as you blast tanks, buildings, walkers, gas tanks (into a thousand little pieces which is accented by the sounds of explosions), metal screeching against other pieces of metal and the sounds of fire flickering. The weapon fire varies from each of the weapon types be it missiles, machine guns or tank cannons, but overall it is fairly generic and doesn’t inspire much. The sound and music is solid, but much like the graphics you are left with a generic and uninspiring effort that could have been easily remedied with a bit more creativity and ingenuity from the creators.
Red Faction: Battlegrounds is best described as a head-to-head battle between tanks, trucks, ATV’s, and walkers where you use your wit, speed and weapons to destroy the enemy before they get you. Starting off in the Training Missions is your best bet as it acts as the single player campaign and also teaches you the basics of the game so you’re ready for multiplayer battles.
There are fifteen training missions in total that will take you through the different levels, vehicles and power ups available to you throughout the game. The basic controls are quite simple and similar to many top down shooters released over the past few years. To control your vehicle you use the left analog stick, while aiming is done with the right analog stick. To initiate firing you simply hold down the right trigger, and to use your power ups you use the right and left bumpers depending on the type of power up you have on hand.
The training missions vary in races, survival and death match type races where you are rewarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal based on how fast you complete each of the missions. There is a loose story associated with the training missions that is quite simple: you are a recruit going through training to see how you shape up as a Red Faction soldier. Unfortunately, that’s the entire story you’re going to get out of this title, with most of the effort going into making this a multiplayer title rather than solo experience.
The multiplayer experience is available to play locally and online with up for three other players including yourself and much like the entirety of the game you are left with a gameplay experience that is a lot of fun, but without any new or innovative gameplay aspects.
There are five different match types in multiplayer you can play through with nine different maps to play:
Deathmatch: Compete in a free for all battle where everyone is your enemy.
Team Deathmatch: Exactly the same as deathmatch, but this time you have an ally.
King of the Hill: Defend the hill from your enemies, the person who holds out the longest wins.
Capture the Flag: Capture the flag and return it your team’s base.
Flag Frenzy: A racing variant where you have to race for the flag — the person with the most points wins.
There are a variety of options to set up for each match that include: match length, vehicle types, speeds, aim assistance and frequency of powerups. These options allow for a decent amount of customization to throw a bit of variety into your multiplayer experience.
In the end Red Faction: Battlegrounds plays like any other top down shooter released in the past, which is unfortunate, but it does have its fun moments where fans of the series will definitely get some enjoyment out of the title. Fans should also note that you will receive some unique content in the upcoming Red Faction: Armageddon the more you improve your rank.
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