I've tried, I swear, but no matter how many times I replay it, I just can't get bored with the short-but-sweet Red Faction: Guerrilla demo. Accessible to those who pre-order the game from GameStop, Guerrilla's ten minute taste is less of a litmus test of whether to buy the game or not, than it is a reward for committing to Mars' revolution early.

Starting with an overly dramatic trailer, accompanied by narration straight from a Hollywood drama, those who haven't been reading up on the game will get the essentials of why they're on Mars with a sledgehammer and an agenda for anarchy.

Following the rundown, you have the ability to make some tweaks to various options, but then it's off to the demo's sole mission. Taking place in the Dust region of Volitions' open-world alien landscape, you've been charged with the task of reclaiming a Walker: a giant, bipedal mining mech. In it's campaign of oppression, the Earth Defense Force (EDF, the planet's police) have put the giant machines under lock and key, but the Red Faction have deemed them necessary tools for overthrowing the EDF. Once you've procured the Walker, it's then up to you to deliver it to the Faction via Kepler's (your handler) truck.

After being briefed on the mission, you get to figure out how you want to infiltrate the lightly guarded garage that houses your objective. There isn't a set path since it's an open-world adventure, but there's more than one way to get the job done. With four weapon slots, you start the demo equipped with an assault rifle, remote mines and a sledgehammer. Though the rifle comes in handy for some situations, it's from the hammer and mines where the most challenge and fun is had—by completely leveling every building in the area.

A timer in the top left of the screen denotes a ten minute limit to the demo, but it's likely you'll disregard such constraints and just explore the small area of Dust opened up for the sneak peak. While it's easy to snatch one of the few available types of different vehicles roaming about the area to rush the defenses surrounding the garage, liberating the Walker takes a backseat to playing with the Geo-Mod 2.0 physics. With Thor-like strength, it's possible to take down buildings with the sledgehammer by targeting the supportive sections of a structure, leaving the roof to collapse in on itself. In short, demolitions play out the way you would expect them to in real-life—one overhanging building in particular is fun to make crumble into the small basin below it, and onto EDF soldiers, by taking out its ledge-hugging beams.

Once you've knocked your way through walls, hammered into buildings from their roofs, or attached remote mines to an EDF minion for the billionth time, should you actually be compelled to rescue the Walker and deliver it to Kepler's truck, you'll play through a rail-shooter section in a defend-the-truck-as-you-escape part of the demo. The early look of the game ends after you deliver the Walker to Faction allies and they stop the pursuit by blowing up a bridge just after you cross it, but there is plenty of havoc to wreak along the way with the truck's high-powered rifle.

Scheduled for a June 9th release, Red Faction: Guerrilla looks like it's a must-have for 2009. Though the build is subject to some fairly wacky technical bugs—like dead soldiers flying off into the air after flopping to the ground, or numerous clipping issues—things look and play exceptionally well, even when there are numerous explosions and tumbling superstructures. If this is just a taste of what's to come, then we couldn't be more excited.


Editor's note:

My favorite thing to do at this point: steal a small flatbed rover; flip it on its side; attach a single remote mine to its undercarriage, and two more the back of it; right it back on its wheels and approach the fenced section of electrical generators at full-speed; jump from the vehicle and detonate the mines to create a rocket-truck that flies off into the distance.

It's just awesome.





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