The variety in Red Faction II comes from occasional vehicle sequences which break up all the on foot action. There are four vehicles in Red Faction with all of them being very powerful, which makes for some great shooting sequences. When you are in the air in a gunship or on the ground in a tank Red Faction effectively becomes a rail shooter, you have no control of the movement you're just the gunner. Your job is to shoot and blow up any enemies that get in your way, as you are driven through some extremely hostile areas. When you're in the submarine or the battle armour you will also get to pilot the vehicles as well as shoot. The battle armour is especially good fun, it's an assault mech loaded with gatling guns and missiles. All the vehicle stages are great fun while they last even though they are much easier than the rest of the standard on foot action.
While on foot you will sometimes meet up and fight along side one of your squad mates. There are loads of high powered weapons available for eliminating enemies individually or in groups. Fans of the original Red Faction will be pleased to see a return of their favourite weapons and the addition of a few new ones. There are over a dozen weapons in total ranging from small arms to devastating artillery. In the first Red Faction you where able to use explosives to blast through walls, this never really came into use in the game play. This time around it has been put to much better use, at times you may not be able to find an exit or entrance, now you can simply make your own with the explosives.
Each of the weapons in Red Faction 2 have got some sort of alternate firing mechanism or some other ability. The rail driver allows you to target and shoot enemies who are on the other side of walls or obstacles. The precision rifle points you to enemies in the vicinity when you're looking though the scope. All this hardware is great and it's incredibly effective, but the weapon of choice amongst most players will be the NICW, an assault riffle with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and a targeting system built in. This mean machine will get you though virtually any encounter your may come across.
Controls in Red Faction II are the same as most first person shooters on the PS2. The left analogue stick controls the movement while the right stick controls your aim. The R1 and L1 buttons are used for controlling your weapons primary and secondary firing modes. These buttons are also used to fire smaller weapons such as pistols that can be fired independently in pairs. The controls are reasonably responsive, well as much as can be expected from a console shooter but you do have the option to plug in a USB keyboard and mouse to play the game PC style.
Red Faction II features a decent multiplayer mode that adds value and longevity to the game. There are eight different multiplayer game types available, ranging from the standard death match, team death match, capture the flag to variations like regime, where one player is the dictator and must try to survive as long as possible while the other players try to bring him down. You may also play team based modes which can be great fun if you and your mates all play on one team against the AI bots.
Red Faction II looks better in virtually every way to its predecessor. The environments are noticeably better, instead of bland tunnels and laboratories the sequels run down urban environments are much more colourful and detailed. Enemies feature realistic motion capture animations which not only looks good but you will very rarely see any repetition in them as you keep shooting the bad guys. The vehicles and explosions are all very nice and convincing. All this does have an effect of the games frame rate though, it isn't particularly smooth, although it very rarely gets to the stage where it is detrimental to the game play. The low resolution combined with long range shooting don't work very well together as you will be looking for little more than an off coloured speck during the sniper section. All this said Red Faction II does look very good.
Another of Red Faction II's strong points is the sound. The explosions and weapon sounds are loud and effective. The cries of the enemy soldiers are a bit repetitive and some of their spoken lines are, well pretty rubbish. To accompany the almost constant sound of gun fire and explosions is the games sound track which plays beneath all the sound effects. It's basically a high tempo dance track which pumps along driving home the intensity of the game. The voice acting on a whole is pretty good with some characters sporting much better acting than others.
Red Faction II is a great first person shooter, offering a short but very sweet single player game and a solid multiplayer game for longevity. Anyone who enjoyed the first instalment will undoubtedly love the intense experience of the sequel, making it a must for the veterans. For those of you who missed the first Red Faction had better start with the sequel as it improves virtually all aspects of its predecessor. The game is unfortunately limited by the PS2's capabilities but Red Faction II is still one of the best first person shooters to date on any console.
8 out of 10