This is my ongoing exploration of the Red Faction Universe. Whether you’re a newcomer or an old-goer, I hope to make this something you can read along with and enjoy. I have finished Red Faction II.
Although it only lasted for three parts, I have to say that Red Faction II was too long. In the original game I experienced emotions, but in this one it was far too linear and boring. The twists at the end were interesting, but I never felt a thing.
I’d have to say it was definitely the story that made it suffer. It was a fun game, despite clearly being designed for consoles in the bad way that console games used to be designed, but I was never excited to play it. I literally only played it so that I could finish writing about it, and move on to Red Faction Guerilla.
I’ll detail the full story, in case you’re interested or lost track. I can sum up the story only because I’ve read up from other sources about the game.
Taking on the role of Alias, you stole some nanotech, which had been reverse engineered on Earth from the stuff that Capek had created on Mars. Once Sopot had it, he put the team that grabbed it through Processing, which turned them into enhanced soldiers.
Fearing they would turn on him, now-Chancellor Sopot declared them enemies of the state. Now on the run, Alias and company went to Echo of the Red Faction and pledged to help them overthrow the dictator Sopot. We joined them a while later, assaulting the facility they knew Sopot to be in. In a chase across the city they took out hundreds of Sopot’s troops and lost many Red Faction soldiers, with Alias going from the skies to the sewers, to a tank.
Eventually reaching Sopot’s citadel, the gang cornered the chancellor and killed him, only for Molov -- Alias’ commanding officer -- to turn on him. Somehow, Quill and Repta were in on it as well, as Molov planned to infect loads more people with the nanotech that had altered them.
With Tangier on his side, Alias took out Quill and eventually Repta, before chasing Molov down in a similar way to how they had all chased Sopot just the day before. Although he was double crossed by Tangier, Alias took down Molov before escaping with Shrike. The end.
It’s quite a simple tale, and one that doesn't make narrative sense during the game. Why did Molov go bad, and why wasn’t Alias included? No idea. What did Tangier want to do with the Nano Cell that she stole, assuming she got away? In the four endings, she didn’t do a thing! She either died, got married or moved to Mars.
I can’t think of a reason to play Red Faction II, unless you’re desperate to get the full story from the Red Faction universe. It’s capably put together, but there are much better first-person shooters around. Red Faction, for instance.
There were clear indicators that this wouldn’t be worth my time. It has a multiplayer mode that is literally only against bots -- not that it would work after all this time. Saving was only from the start of the area. Getting back to your save game took multiple clicks to select the level, then the section of the level you were on.
As for how it fits into the rest of the lore, I can’t even imagine. Other than one of the endings saying that Ultor has restructured their mining operations on Mars, which feeds into the third game, and references the first with the fact that it needed restructuring. You also have the Processed only existing because of Capek’s nanotech experiments on Mars, but that’s not even played up in the game.
We’re told that Sopot’s a bad man and needs overthrowing, but other than the experimentation and lifelong reign as chancellor, he could be anyone. Heck, I think El Presidente of Tropico fame may have been modeled on him…
Hopefully Red Faction Guerrilla will be much better than this. From memory, it was pretty good on PlayStation 3, so I remain optimistic. A better storyline and more use of the GeoMod terrain modification engine would be awesome.