Red Faction: Battlegrounds Review

We don’t always need a lot of complexity in our games. That may seem self-evident given that games were oh so simple in the beginning and for many years after; it wasn’t until the 8-bit era that any sort of actual gaming complexity forced its way into our lives. Now out games are not so simple, but it’s nice to get back to the good ole days when there was no story or cutscenes to deal with and we could just pop on the box in front of the TV and shoot things in 2D.

That’s probably not a good way to start this review, since Red Faction: Battlegrounds is in 3D in multiple ways. First, it’s a 3D game in the traditional sense of that descriptor, and, second, you can play it in 3D on your 3D TV. Those are future things, but Battlegrounds is rooted deeply in the past.


Red Faction: Battlegrounds (PS3 [Reviewed], XBox360)
Developer: THQ Digital Studios Warrington
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: April 05, 2011
MSRP: $9.99

It’s not unusual to see a skirmish-type arcade multiplayer game that doesn’t much resemble the IP on which it’s based. (see: Wing Commander Arena and Battlestar Galactica whatever that was) Battlegrounds isn’t really like Red Faction at all; it’s vehicle combat with an almost-top-down camera that lets you see all the players at the same time. It handles like a twin-stick shooter for most vehicles, so most folks can easily jump right in. (The exception vehicles require you to press a button while aiming to shoot.)You can play on your own through a series of “training missions,” and those are enjoyable enough on their own, but the real deal is multiplayer. There’s an online option, and that’s also fun, but I kinda see that the same way I see the single-player stuff.

Why? Because Battlegrounds allows you to play four-player local. Old PC gamers who play this game might notice a resemblance to LAN-based vehicle battle games, or at least that’s what it made me think of, which undoubtedly will skew my review score upward since I have only fond memories of playing those games with my bros in the same room. That you can play this game with your bros (or ladies) in the same room is what makes this game worth a damn.

Battlegrounds is built around four-player games, with small maps appropriate for small matches as you can see in the image above, and it keeps the game types simple, too. It has deathmatch, king of the hill and capture the flag, which is more than enough for a game in which most everyone will probably have a great time just shooting each other over and over again. There are also plenty of maps and vehicles. The vehicles all come from Red Faction: Guerrilla, and they tend to vary wildly in what they’re capable of doing to an enemy — whether it be something small and fast with weak guns or large and slow with guns that can fire across the map or something in between — which probably means most players will be able to find something to fit their playstyles.

Oh, and it’s in 3D, as I said. The 3D effect is very well implemented, as I didn’t see any ghosting even with the intensity turned up to the max, which is something I can’t say about any other game I’ve played in 3D. Of course, turning the 3D up that high isn’t exactly a pleasant experience… Anyway, this doesn’t appear to my eyes to be “true” 3D, a fact made obvious by the way rockets fired across the map appear as if they’re flying flat against the TV screen.

That small nitpick aside, Battlegrounds is a solid, fun game. Only those with friends they like to see in person need apply, though.

Pros:

  • A fun local multiplayer experience
  • Good 3D
  • Keeps it simple.

Cons:

  • Capitalizing on the Red Faction name?

Final score: 85/100

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1 Comment on Red Faction: Battlegrounds Review

UtopiaV1

On April 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

Looks good, can’t wait to get it! What platforms are they on again?