It’s time to wreak havoc on Mars with your trusty sledgehammer once more. You know what, why not use some C4 as well! Let’s watch the pretty explosions!
Type: Single-player, Multi-player
Genre: Action, Open-World,
Developer: Volition, KAIKO
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Original Release: 15 Sept, 2009
Re-Mars-tered: 3 July, 2018
Welcome back to Mars!
Have you ever wanted a game that lets you destroy ANY building in the world? With most games that say everything is destructible, it’s usually pretty limited or scripted, but here you truly can and you can do it however you want to boot. Whether it’s with a rocket launcher, using C4 explosives, mini black holes, or your sledgehammer, you can demolish it all! There honestly hasn’t been a game like this in recent years that has managed to pull it off to this scale, and even after almost 9 years, it’s still a gorgeous and glorious romp on Mars fighting for the freedom of the people. Since this game has already been out for years, I will mostly focus on the Re-Mars-tered parts (OK I get the joke, but good gawd that just does not roll off the tongue and really sounds dumb) and touch on anything that I feel really needs to be addressed. Let’s return to Mars for another fun adventure full of explosives!
Returning to The Red Planet
So the last time I actually played RF:G was way back in July 2010 and my memory is a little foggy on all the exact details, but I remember most of the game, as I loved playing this back on the PS3. I’ve never played the PC version (even though I’ve owned it since 2013, whoops!). One of the most awesome things is that the devs gave the remaster FREE to everyone that already owns the original Steam version, and they still let you purchase the original as they come bundled together. This is just very rare for most remasters these days as most companies want to be extra greedy and make you pay for the remaster, even if you own the original, or even remove the option to buy the original and charge more money for the remaster. In some rare cases it even changes the game drastically by adding in pointless characters that don’t fit in, or loot boxes and micro-transactions. It’s a scummy practice, and I’m very glad to see THQ Nordic did not follow suit. Obviously this was only for PC, as on consoles it’s technically on a new system, but hey at least they made a physical disk copy for PS4 and Xbox One!
You may be wondering, what exactly is different with the remaster version? Well besides including all the DLC (which the PC version included originally, but not the console versions,) it has a huge graphical update. How big exactly? Well the original version (according to Steam install) is only 8.5GB big, where as this remaster is a total of 32GB! Like I said I never played the original PC version, but even just looking at old screenshots and videos you can see the difference. On a three year old budget computer, I was still able to run this on ultra settings and not have any issues! There were only a few times I’d drop some frames but it hardly ever happened, and there was really only one crash from the extra game mode Wrecking Crew, but otherwise it seems to be very stable. HOWEVER, one of the major problems that companies always seem to do when they remaster or want to push graphics to the limits is the add “Motion Blur,” one of the worst things you can do. It always ends up making everything ugly looking and in some rare cases, painful to look at. Thankfully you are able to turn off motion blur and keep the game looking pretty. Honestly that’s just about all they did as far as I can in my playthrough. It just upped the graphics and rendering, making it work smoother on newer systems and 4k support. The only thing that I’ve noticed that wasn’t changed were the cut scenes, as they still use the old videos, and sadly they do show their age. There is , however, some minor pop-in and blurry textures, but nothing real major that ruins anything.
High Value Target Destroyed!
One of the weakest points to this game is that the story is still lackluster. It’s extremely basic, but the story was never really the focus of this game. The main focus was always the gameplay, and the open world guerrilla warfare. Most of your objectives are all the same, go to this area and either defend, or destroy, and is what most of the meat of the game is. It’s simple, but very satisfying to take out your sledgehammer, and let nothing stand in your way. Walls won’t stop you! Just charge your way through and make your own path! Take out the bottom of buildings and watch them cripple over and fall apart. Collect the salvage and work your way on getting more powerful weapons and upgrades. Want a rocket launcher? Hell, yeah you do! How about a Nano machine infused rifle that eats away at molecules and disintegrates buildings and enemies? Yeah, we got that as well! How about singularity mines that make mini black holes? You bet your ass that’s in here too!
One Man Army
The world consists of six sectors in which you complete Guerrilla Actions and story missions to lower the control of the EDF, the local military government/hired thugs. These missions consist of attacking a building, rescuing hostages, running gunner and blowing shit up, holding out in an area to distract the EDF, testing your demo skills, and racing across the map back to a safe house. Completing Guerrilla Actions eventually unlock upgrades to purchase. Once you take control of a sector, the EDF is pushed out of the area. However any Guerrilla Actions you don’t complete will be lost, making completing all Guerrilla Actions achievement impossible!
Across the world of Mars, you will find many collectibles that take a long time to collect, like 36 lost radio tags, 250 EDF crates, and 300 Ore. As you would guess this really grinds out and takes a long time if you want that 100% completion. This is a minor complaint for completionists, as there are also Multiplayer achievements, and it does in fact take some major xp grinding and challenge farming. I was never big into playing multiplayer as it was strictly competitive modes, like the usual deathmatch and team deathmatch, capture the flag, Attack/Defend objective modes. Though according to people, there are some issues with connectivity and the MP glitching, as there have been patches solely focused on fixing the MP… Which is a problem.
Of course the most fun extra little game mode is the “Wrecking Crew” where it’s exactly as it sounds. Pick a challenge mode, pick a map, pick a weapon and just SMASH everything for points! It’s a great time waster if you are in that mood to just blow shit up, and with the inclusion of the DLC maps, it gives you even more choices for blowing shit up! However, the biggest drawback in this mode is that you can’t play with friends online. This mode plays up to 4 players, local coop only. Each player would take a turn and try to wrack up the most points, and a round winner is decided. First to so many round wins will win the match. Really nothing worth playing with friends, but like I said it’s still great fun if you just want to jump in and blow buildings up.
Demons of The Badlands
As I never had the DLC before I gave it a try, you play as Samanya. It takes you to a new area called Mariner Valley which happens before the events of the main game. With the addition of new weapons and vehicles, it plays almost exactly like the main game, with the only real difference being that you already start out with most upgrades. You unlock your remaining upgrades through doing guerrilla actions, as there is no scrap or salvage to collect. My main issue with this campaign is that it’s only three main missions, and all the same kind of busy work as before, but only in narrow cramped valleys. There aren’t any big open area,s unlike in the main game. There aren’t even people in the world that talk to the players, so it makes the world feel a little more empty. No unique Marauder speech either, which is kind of a let down. The only real dialog is only in the missions, and it’s not really well written. The Demons of The Badlands DLC doesn’t offer anything new either, just more of the same… and yes more extremely pointless collectibles make another appearance in here in the form of 75 Power cells. Unlike the ores or radio tags in the main game, these don’t show up on the mini map. Lots of these are well hidden, and would require a guide to find them all.
What a Bumpy Ride!
Like I stated before, I haven’t played this game in years, but I really do not recall having issues like what I’m about to state. Somewhere in improving the graphics, there seemed to be some slight edits/changes to the driving physics, or it simply just amplified how terrible it was. If you are driving on a straight road in a light vehicle you can almost flip it over, as the slightest bump in the road causes the vehicle to start bouncing and become completely uncontrollable. This makes getting the Transporter Pro jobs almost impossible, as the time limits required are extremely tight to begin with, and the slightest bump can make you fail them. Combine it with these horrible driving physics and fighting with the camera makes it a nightmare. I remember getting at least half of the Pro times back on PS3, where as here I only managed to get two of them, and with only about one second to spare. This isn’t limited to the normal vehicles, but even the walkers/mechs. What’s horrible with these is the TERRIBLE mouse look speed, as it becomes extremely slowed down and takes way too long for you to try and swing the camera around. Combine that with the camera getting stuck or blocked by buildings, it becomes impossible to see what you are doing when on a rampage.
Another thing that appears to have taken a beating is the AI. Civilians are stupid. They will stop in the middle of roads and try to turn their vehicles around, which ends up causing a pileup and smashing each other, or blocking the entire road. There will be times you have to jump out of your vehicle to pick up something or what not. If there happens to be a civ nearby and a gunfight breaks out, they will jump into YOUR vehicle and drive off with it! The amount of times I’d turn around and see my truck driving down the road without me is just annoying!
When you are on a rescue mission. The people you are rescuing jump into your vehicle, and as your driving down the road full blast to get back to the safe house, the dumb AI decides that they are going to jump out so they could point out an enemy and try to shoot them, causing them to take serious fall damage or even get run over and killed. I’ve failed these rescue missions so many times because the AI goes full stupid and ends up killing themselves like this. Add in the terrible driving physics, I’ve even rolled over one and flung the other into a mountain, killing them both!
In the end though, is the game still fun? Hell yeah it is! Having been almost 8 years, I still had tons of fun with this game. I’ve put in 30 hours re-playing this game so that should say something! Yes it does show it’s age in some areas, but the combat and fine detail in building destruction is still tons of fun, and was completely worth it! It was wonderful going back and playing, and will I always recommend this game even with the issues. Maybe it’s my nostalgia making me like the game even more, but it’s not a terrible game. If nothing else, wait for a sale!