THQ Nordic announced a few months back that their remastered ‘smash-em-up’, Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered, was coming to the Nintendo Switch after the successful release over on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. With a release date set for tomorrow (July 2nd 2019), it’s just under a year since we saw the beefier consoles release (July 3rd 2018), but hey – better late than never!
With the development of this port being performed by KAIKO Games, a team who have helped to port other THQ Nordic games in the past such as the Darksiders I and II remasters, I would honestly say that porting this game to the Nintendo Switch seems like their biggest task this generation.
So, just how does this highly underrated physics-based Action-Adventure game run on the hybrid console? The PS4, Xbox One and PC all had increased graphical quality over the original game – will we just get a direct port of the last generation (like Ni No Kuni) or does this have all the bells and whistles of it’s bigger bothers? Let’s find out…
For a full review on the story, mechanics and general overview of the game, I’d highly recommend you check out my review of the PS4 version HERE – It’s a long review but it covers everything in terms of the gameplay and what you’ll be doing during your trip to Mars. That’s right, the Nintendo Switch version isn’t watered down or compromised in any way, in terms of the gameplay and features, it contains everything from the DLC Missions to the Online Multiplayer modes. As such, our PS4 review still stands in terms of seeing what you get with the Switch version also.
However, there is one mode which I don’t recall seeing on the previous remasters, an option for ‘Local Play’. This is basically your online section, with classic game modes such as Capture the Flag and Demolition, but the twist here is you can play via the local WiFi network your Switch creates. So, if you and a few of your friends have the game and a console and are in the local vicinity of each other, you can enter this mode and enjoy lag-free multiplayer without having access to the internet. I love games that include this option as it’s not always possible to have a solid internet connection whilst you’re out, plus it allows you to play competitively and cooperatively whilst travelling or in the middle of nowhere.
So, if the game is almost identical to it’s bigger brothers, why even bother re-reviewing Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered? Basically, I wanted to let everyone know how awesome KAIKO Games are and how they’ve used some sort of wizardry in order to pull off what they have done! First of all, the obvious compromises – the visuals. As people who read my reviews regularly will know, my Switch is essentially a portable system – I hardly ever have it docked into the TV. So, my impressions from here (as well as the images) are all based on the Portable mode.
But first, before I look at the visuals, I forgot to mention one thing… Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered on the Switch has the same two visual/performance options we saw on the other consoles – an option to prioritise performance or prioritise framerates. Personally, I didn’t see a dramatic difference between the two, not as much as I saw on the PS4 Pro. Going by eye, it feels like both modes are 30fps, albeit a smooth 30fps, with most likely a dynamic resolution in the performance option as the resolution one takes a hit on the framerate more often during heavy explosive battles.
Speaking of the visuals, in portable mode the game looks really good – almost on par, if not better, than the last generation version of the game. Sure, the enhanced lighting and textures really help the game feel more immersive and enhanced, but even with the dip in resolution over last years release, I feel Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered on the Switch looks great. Although, I have noticed a few minor compromises in terms of the physics and lighting as the debris seems to vanish quicker than on the PS4 and the shadows are of lower quality. However, it’s nothing that’ll distract you from the gameplay.
A games performance is what makes or break it, especially in a game where you are tasked with causing tonnes of destruction as you destroy every structure you see in hopes of it toppling anywhere but on your head! Thankfully, Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered seems to hold up when playing within the performance mode. However, when the going gets tough, the game does display some skipped frames and jerkiness within both modes, with the quality mode displaying them more often than the performance one. This isn’t a ‘feature’ which is exclusive to the Switch, I managed to make my PS4 Pro buckle during certain battles as I threw a load of explosives and watched as the entire battlefield combusted before my very eyes, with debris shooting left, right, and centre!
I’ve played around ten hours or so of the Switch version and I never got to a point where I felt the game was being unfair due to performance issues though, so just be aware that you can cripple the game but only if you go all Guy Fawkes on the enemy buildings! As I said previously, the game ‘feels’ like a smooth 30fps rather than 60fps, but I could be wrong – it may be running at an unlocked framerate like the other versions. However, when swapping between the PS4 and the Switch versions, the PS4 clearly felt smoother and more responsive with certain weapons and vehicles.
The biggest issue for me was the loading times. It’s not Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 levels (at five minutes to load a level), but when you die it takes around 60 seconds to load the game back up so you can continue. The loading times were already long over on the PS4 Pro using a Hybrid SSD/HDD external USB3.0 drive, so using the MicroSD within my Switch was at least double the length I had to persevere with over there. But, just like all other versions, once the game’s loaded, you won’t see any more loading screens until you die or enter a new region of Mars.
Switch Specific mode?!
That’s right, if you scan in your Amiibo, you can change the model of your character! Have you ever wanted to play as Mario, Peach, Bowser, or maybe Link with his Skull Hammer as you run around smashing things up and causing havoc?!?! If you have then I’m sorry, this game doesn’t actually let you do that! There are, however, two Switch specific options/modes for you to play around with.
First, we have the aforementioned ‘Local Play’ which allows you to play the Multiplayer modes locally with friends who also own a Switch and the game. I miss the days of the Nintendo DS where only one person had to have the game and they could ‘broadcast’ a version their mates could locally download in order to play along with them without owning the game. I know this wouldn’t be viable with a game as big as this, but it’s a feature I wished more games would support on the Switch instead of relying on the gamers all buying their own copies. But I digress…
Secondly, the one feature everyone has been begging for – Motion Controls! Okay, maybe that’s being a bit too dramatic, but some people will be happy these have been implemented. What’s even better is you can set specific actions to use the Motion Controls or not, such as when you’re in third-person, using a turret or driving, so you don’t have to just pick yes or no to the entire game. Whereas I like Motion Controls in certain games, and I’m happy for the inclusion of the feature within this game, I personally couldn’t get used to them. I found it much easier to just use the standard Thumb Stick controls.
There is an obvious omission to the motion controls though, and one I hope the developers can easily patch in. I would love a ‘Motion Controls for Iron Sight’ option. I like using the Thumb Sticks when waving my hammer about but when I push in the Right Stick to go into the ‘over-the-shoulder’ Iron Sight mode, that’s when I would love the motion controls in order to get a more accurate shot – however, That’s still classed as the ‘third-person’ mode, so you have to allow Motion Controls for all third-person activities as it stands right now.
Despite being a weaker console than it’s bigger brothers, the Switch version of Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered is a feature-perfect port. Sure, the resolution takes a big hit and the performance seems like it may be targeting a lower framerate than the other systems, but the core gameplay and excitement is all there and it feels great to play this game anywhere you want. Just like last years remasters, this edition also comes with all of the previously released DLC, online multiplayer, a new Local multiplayer, and the infamous Wrecking Zone which lets you see who can cause the most destruction out of your mates. Bar a few slowdowns (which are present on all systems when the destruction becomes intense), the game runs great on Nintendo’s hybrid system.
As I said in my previous review for Red Faction Guerrilla: ReMARStered (HERE), the gameplay can be a little repetitive, as it’s all fetch-quest style, but the overall experience and the damage physics more than makes up for this as you’ll have a ‘blast’ taking out the EDF.
Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered£26.99
- - Contains both quality and performance modes in order to suit your play style, KAIKO Games have done an outstanding job
- - Interesting story and setting for the game
- - Greatly increased texture quality and lighting over last generation
- - The physics and destruction holds up today
- - The multiplayer is lots of fun + you get the original DLC story as well
- - Some side-missions can get repetitive
- - Bland setting in terms of the browny-orange Mars
- - The difficulty curves up quite fast
- - Loading times are too long on the Switch and don't return you to the mission
- - Cutscenes are low quality, like they were ripped from last gen