Red Faction: Guerrilla is known for its ambitious gameplay, featuring completely destructible environments in an open-world sandbox iteration of the planet Mars. THQ Nordic is porting the most critically-acclaimed entry of the series to Nintendo’s portable handheld nearly 10 years after release, as Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-Tered. However, while the explosive experience remains as bombastic as ever and worth the price of admission alone, this Nintendo Switch port is far from perfect.
The red planet
A lot of sacrifices have been made to not only the game’s visuals, but also to various other sections of Red Faction: Guerrilla on Switch. Despite requiring a 14 GB download, the audio and cinematics are compressed to a noticeable degree. Loading into the game is also an arduous test in patience, since spawning into the world can leave you waiting for at least a minute at a time. This becomes frustrating as you must wait after ever death. The draw distance makes the scenery look muddy (especially in portable mode). This combined with frame rate issues and crashes during some of the more grandiose missions of Red Faction: Guerrilla‘s campaign make it evident that the Switch is struggling to keep up with the frenetic action.
Yet, for a game from 2009, Red Faction: Guerrilla is still a joy to play. Its open-world map is populated with a vast amount of mindless side-activities that give you excuses to blow up stuff in creative ways. This is most enjoyable in portable mode, as cruising through missions and gradually unlocking parts of the map is satisfying. Individual assignments take less than 10 minutes each, lending themselves to be enjoyable in short bursts. While the storyline of miner Alec Mason was painfully generic even in 2009, the realistic physics with the destructible environments are entertaining to watch on the handheld. There are also two different modes that you can adjust in the options that change how the game runs on the Switch. Switching to the performance mode for the more technically demanding missions is required to maintain the 30 FPS cap. Meanwhile, some of the earlier sections of the game maintain a locked 30 FPS on quality mode.
Is there life on Mars?
However, the shooting mechanics are a chore to handle on the Switch, especially when compared to the other versions of Red Faction: Guerrilla. It’s difficult to aim and hide behind cover away from enemies due to the frame rate, because the Joy-Con analogue sticks are too small to handle a lot of combat encounters. Even setting the controls to the lowest sensitivity still has you manipulating the aim-assist in order to hit enemies. Red Faction: Guerrilla on the Nintendo Switch is best played with gyro-aiming option turned on. Yet it is saved by the game’s design, which lends itself heavily to planting explosive weaponry that doesn’t demand pinpoint accuracy.
Red Faction: Guerrilla‘s formula of a traditional open-world title with destructible environments is refreshingly simple even 10 years later. However, the Switch port is far from the ideal way to experience Red Faction: Guerrilla. The performance of the port leaves a great deal to be desired and the shooting mechanics were not tweaked for Nintendo’s smaller controllers. Yet, blowing stuff up is still just as fun as the pun in the title of this remaster. So if you’re looking for a portable sandbox open-world title for the handheld, then Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-Tered is one of the most enjoyable you can purchase on the console.
A review code was provided by the publisher.