Red Faction (2001) is a series of shooting and sabotage games. Although the games differ in terms of player perspective, they all share the ability to destroy anything in the environment. The novelty is how believably building collapse. Bring down a wall or ceiling to reveal the metal superstructure of a base. Take out the base of a tower to see it topple over. It's a game that makes it fun to blow things up.
The first two games came out close to each other and were followed by Red Faction: Guerrilla and Red Faction: Armageddon seven years later. These later games perfected the world destruction with demolition charges and your mining hammer and also moved from the first-person shooter view of the first two games into an over-the-shoulder third person perspective. Guerrilla takes place in an open world environment on the planet of Mars allowing players to freely roam across the environment. Armageddon is a more linear experience, largely moving through corridors and caverns from objective to objective.
You play as Alec Mason, a mining engineer who heads to Mars in hope of a better life. On arriving you discover the red planet is run by a dictator regime. In each of the games you are working to undermine and bring down the ruling forces who are inflicting mining camps, death squads and near slave labour on the population -- all enforced by the military who killed your characters brother.
You take on missions to progress through the game's open world sectors and steadily bring down the regime by destroying military bases. Tactics and backstory aside, much of the enjoyment is in the mechanics of smashing buildings into constituent concrete and steel parts. You begin the game with your mining hammer and some guns, but can acquire rockets and even jet packs.
Along the way are lots of intriguing distractions, ranging from getting a car to a safe house to raiding a base and rescuing hostages, or just using explosives to destroy a building in a limited time. These missions reduce the ruling forces control in an area. Once that gets low enough you can take on a mission that advances the story.
The series is still a lot of fun many years later. Red Faction: Guerrilla has been released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. This is a good place to start. If you enjoy that you can move to the others in the series.
Red Faction (2001) on PlayStation 2, PC, Mac
Red Faction II (2002) on PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PC
Red Faction: Guerrilla (2009) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Red Faction: Guerrilla Remastered (2018) on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Red Faction: Armageddon (2011) on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked Red Faction 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 3 weeks ago.