Red Faction: Guerrilla multiplayer beta impressions

Martian shootouts, special ability backpacks, and a Ghostbusters Proton Pack? Why the new Red Faction multiplayer is smashing good fun.

If you own an Xbox 360 and have access to Xbox Live, go download the Red Faction: Guerrilla multiplayer beta now! It's no Call of Duty 4 or Halo 3, as the play style is more reminiscent of Gears of War. Shooter fans with an urge for destruction, however, will enjoy the sledgehammer and wall-smashing rhino backpack. To join the beta, simply click here and follow the instructions. Note that you must already be, or sign up for, a FilePlanet, Founders' Club or IGN Insider subscriber subscription.

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All structures in Red Faction: Guerrilla can be demolished, even in multiplayer.

Hands-on Impressions

Over the weekend I delved into a fair number of matches in the Red Faction: Guerrilla multiplayer beta, and had a fun time testing out the two available gametypes, three maps, five different backpacks, and a handful of weapons. Here are my hands-on impressions:

First off, Red Faction: Guerrilla plays a lot like Gears of War and Dark Sector. It's a third-person shooter, a first for the series, that takes place on the planet Mars, 50 years after Red Faction 1. There is no need for breathing apparatuses or moon suits since the planet has been terraformed, hence the fact that your character can breath without a helmet. In multiplayer, two teams, the EDF versus the Guerrilla faction, square off in a variety of team-based modes as you level up persistently as a singular character a la Call of Duty 4. Each time you level up, bonuses are rewarded that affect how many experience points you get for kill assists, beat downs, or kill streaks just to name a few.

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The rag-doll physics are more hilarious than realistic.

A Different Kind of Multiplayer

What sets Red Faction's multiplayer apart from most shooters are the backpacks. Each map contains terminals or kiosks where you can pick up different backpacks that grant you special abilities. For example, the rhino backpack allows you to crush threw walls like Juggernaut, the jetpack lets you fly for a certain period of time, the concussion pack shoots out a radial shockwave that knocks enemies on their ass, fleetfoot packs let you run faster for a certain period of time, and the firepower pack increases your damage on all weapons. These are the five backpacks featured in the beta, but I was told the final game will feature upwards to a dozen packs with even cooler abilities.

The two different modes available are Team Anarchy, which is a fancy way of saying team deathmatch, and Damage Control. Damage Control is the standout gametype, and a unique twist on capturing command points. Three command-point structures are spread across each map and must be destroyed and then rebuilt to be captured by either team. The best way to go about this is either plant a satchel charge on the command point or whack it down with your sledgehammer, as all structures in Red Faction are completely destructible. Once the structure is demolished, you must rebuild it with a special weapon that reminds me of a Ghostbusters Proton Pack. The gun essentially regenerates, or rematerialises, any object that has been destroyed in the game.

The Guns Could Be Better

On top of all this good fun are a variety of weapons that are unfortunately generic for a space-themed shooter, but a few stand out from the rest. The grinder in particular is a hack-saw piece of equipment that fires high-speed saw blades and kills opponents in one head shot or two body shots. It's quite fun and leaves a bloody mess. The enforcer assault rifle isn't as powerful as the standard assault rifle, but has tracking bullets that will slightly curve and follow whoever you're aiming at. Mix the enforcer with the firepower backpack and I guarantee you can get at least a 5-man kill streak. And finally, the sledgehammer seems to be the online favourite. You always have this melee weapon on you, and can swing it horizontally or vertically. The vertical swing is better to smash a quick exit out the backside of a building, but the horizontal swing is what you want to take out other players. And my final note is... would someone please turn up the blast radius on the explosive weapons for crying out loud!

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The sledgehammer is by far the fan favorite weapon.

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