Red Faction is a story about a moron.
Parker isn’t just a moron because he’s a rich kid who tries to escape his daddy issues by signing up to be a slave on Mars. He’s a moron because he doesn’t get any wiser afterwards. There’s one cut scene where he’s shooting at a comically sinister mad scientist who turns out to have a bulletproof forcefield. So what does Parker do, having emptied an entire pistol into the guy, who stands there sniggering, totally untouched? He reloads the pistol and continues firing.
He is really, intensely, spectacularly dense. But for once, he’s not the hero of Red Faction. The real hero is Eos, the woman who inspires the uprising, and recognises quite early on that you’re a dumbass but good at killing. Of course you end up having to rescue her anyway, but at least she has the dignity to be intensely pissed off about it.
I’m focusing on the story because it’s the most memorable part to me now. The big feature the game pushed was “geo-mod” technology, which meant destructible terrain at a time when this was rare and difficult to pull off. Red Faction technically included it, but it was largely confined to occasional sections where you used a bomb next to a door instead of a key, and a few encounters where you could blow up the bridge to kill the convoy… or you could fire half as many rockets to just blow it up.
The shooting was middling. Its setting was neat but forgettable. It was kinda good but not particularly. A competent, above-average but not special FPS of the early 2000s, with two dire stealth sections, disappointing vehicle sections (although the submarines exploded and then imploded wonderfully), a bizarre zero-gravity section, and starter enemies that always reminded me of Bender from Futurama.
When you attached a mining charge to someone, his friends would try to shoot it off. It had its moments.