I didn’t realise the recent Red Faction game was by the guys who made the excellent Saints Row 2, and I didn’t even realise Saints Row 2 was by the original Red Faction guys. I just rather childishly thought “Ugh, Red Faction” and ignored it. I didn’t expect it to be the first game to claim freeform destructibility and not actually be lying. And I certainly didn’t expect it to be one of my favourite games this year. Anyway, here’s a thing that happened:
I’m sandwiched between a GDF building and the compound’s armoured walls, angry APCs swarming the roads outside, when the crash happens. The cab of a large cargo truck bursts through the thick black wall in a fountain of rubble, run off the road by the careening GDF cars. The civilian driver bolts out, giving me both an opening and a free vehicle to drive through it. I clamber in and reverse out.
There’s already a similar truck parked in the garage back at the rebel base when I arrive, and I’m not entirely sure my heavier number is going to fit. I decide to find out full speed, so I not only crash headfirst into the other truck, but actually drive up its crumpled chassis and punch through the roof of the garage.
I flop limply out of the driver side door onto what remains of the roof, pick myself up and assess the damage. I figure I can make it slightly less obvious if I can just push my truck back down through ceiling, so I start pounding on its roof with my sledgehammer.
When the blast clears, I’m on a rock twenty meters away, black smoke billowing up from where the garage used to be. There’s a second detonation as the fire reaches the truck below, and the last few struts and girders clank to the floor. I back quietly away and talk to my boss.
I’ve unlocked something called The Grinder, so main plot be damned, I’m spending my salvage on making one of those. I have a little left over to buy the ability to teleport to any safehouse, so I zip to the furthest one to try it out.
It’s like a different planet, closer to Cumbria than Mars. It’s green, for one thing, and the cars are all differenty. One is a beautifully idealised designer vision of a future-car, impractically low, wide and sleek. I love it so much that I run directly towards it, am hit in the shins by a hubless hoverwheel, and somersault onto my back, beaming. I get up and hijack it – the doors open upwards! Of course they do! – and its one careful owner just says “Good luck!”
I speed off across the Martian countryside to the hostage rescue mission I picked up on arrival. The setting turns out to be a municipal building across a huge open plaza, and there’s a taxi in the parking lot so cool that I’m going to have to come back to admiring it later or no-one’s gonna get rescued today.
The guards let me stroll all the way up to the building itself before they get angry, at which point I finally try the Grinder on a live target. It charges for a second and then FOOSH! A razorblade the size of a dinnerplate has buried itself in the guard’s duodenum. Holy shit! I’m keeping this.
The Grinder swiftly clears out the ground floor – I can take little credit – but no hostages; they must be upstairs. FOOSH! One guard staggers back through a first-floor window with a blade in his diaphgragm. I have time to untie one of the three hostages before FOOSH! Another guard crashes over a balcony into the foyer, landing face-first on the razor in his skull. This is brilliant. This is every sci-fi fantasy I’ve ever had. FOOSH! A guard tries to high-kick me and finds a foreign object the size of an LP in her thigh.
Outside is an army, which I instinctively try to electrocute with the Arc-Welder before realising we’re going to have to double back. I hammer out a new backdoor to the building and lead my charges through the hole, on a painful dash to the cover of the next brick wall. FOOSH! FOOSH! FOOSH! I can’t razorblade them all, but they’re so pervasive that even in the quiet shade of a cafe I have to cut a few down to buy us a moment’s peace.
My friends make it round the quiet corner one by one, but the third girl lingers too long at the threshold to take pot-shots at the encroaching squadrons, and she’s felled. The survivors need no cajoling, we scarper for the carpark almost in unison. On arrival, we have a problem: futuro-car’s a two-seater. No wonder that bastard said ‘good luck’.
The taxi! It’s doors are portholes how cool is that? Once we’ve all climbed in, the discs of glass slide back into place and I speed off in a light drizzle of gunfire, my two fares looking completely unmoved by our plight. I’m having the time of my life.