Red Faction: Guerrilla

Common Sense Media says

Sci-fi shooter tackles tricky topic in terrorism.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game tackles the timely and difficult subject of war-time insurgency. Players take on the role of a construction demolitions expert who ends up becoming a rebel when Mars’ occupational force kills his brother and arbitrarily brands him a terrorist. As a resistance fighter he bombs government installations and kills hundreds of soldiers. However, he does none of this lightly; he feels his actions are warranted because they are in the name of freedom and justice.

Positive role models

While the protagonist is portrayed as an honorable family man pushed to the brink by circumstances beyond his control, he is a terrorist. He's a man fighting an unjust, corrupt government and resorts to violence only because he feels it's vital to secure life and liberty. He's not ignorant of the consequences it carries.

Ease of play

The controls are straight forward and intuitive, but the combat can be unforgiving—especially for those who prefer a head-on fight to tactical confrontations.

Violence

Primary weapons at the player’s disposal include rifles, handguns, demolition charges, and a sledgehammer. The violence isn’t particularly gory or brutal -- objectives involve the destruction of infrastructure more often than the killing of enemy personnel -- but it is constant. Wounded characters leave small splotches of blood on the ground. Players can kill civilians, but they generally have to go out of their way to do so, and there are strong incentives not to harm innocents (citizen morale drops, making it more difficult to achieve long-term goals).

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Profanity is frequent but not shocking. Words like “piss” and “bastard” come up regularly in voice conversation, while stronger language is used more sparingly.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters can occasionally be seen smoking cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this third-person action game tackles the difficult subject of wartime insurgency and terrorism. Players take on the role of a reluctant freedom fighter who uses his expertise in demolitions to help defeat a corrupt, militaristic occupational force. The violence, while more or less constant, is often directed at buildings rather than people, and players are encouraged to avoid hurting civilians whenever possible. When they do get into direct combat players use a variety of ballistic and melee weapons. Blood can be seen, but only in small splotches. Parents should also be aware that this game features a moderate amount of coarse language in its voice dialogue. Online modes facilitate open voice communication.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Part Total Recall part Far Cry 2, RED FACTION: GUERILLA is an open-world sci-fi shooter set on Mars with a lead character best described as a resistance fighter. The governing powers are sending death squads out on the streets and crushing anyone who resists their authoritarian rule, including our hero’s brother. This forces our otherwise peaceful protagonist, a demolitions expert by trade, to hook up with the Red Faction, a resistance group intent on forcibly removing the Earth Defense Force -- Mars’ current rulers -- by destroying key installations and helping citizens whenever they come under attack. Players freely explore six separate sectors of the Red Planet, choosing missions as they like with an aim to raise the morale of civilians and eventually get them to help fight for their freedom.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There’s plenty to like about Red Faction: Guerilla, not least of which is the intelligent way in which it handles the always touchy topic of terrorism. Our hero is a hesitant insurgent who only takes action against the EDF once his brother is killed and he looks to be next. And while the conflict in the game’s story is black and white, painting one side as purely malicious and the other as noble and good, it’s not unrealistic to think that stepping into the shoes of a virtual terrorist could make players think about insurgents in real-world wars and consider their potential motives.

Beyond politics and philosophy, the game is quite a bit of fun to play. Virtually everything in the world can be destroyed in satisfying fashion by smashing into it with vehicles, blowing it up with explosives, or simply pounding it with our hero’s trusty sledgehammer. Alas, all of the over-the-top destruction can and does grow a bit repetitive after a while. Still, it's recommended for older players looking for a bit of narrative substance.

Online interaction: Several online modes facilitate competitive action for up to 16 players. The game supports open voice communication with all players, which carries with it the potential for personal information to be exchanged and distasteful language to be overheard. Common Sense Media does not recommend this sort of online play for pre-teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the differences between terrorism, insurgency, resistance fighting, and freedom fighting. Is it merely a matter of semantics? Many of the game’s characters are labeled terrorists by the military. Do you believe that’s what they are? Is bombing a building, regardless of perpetrator’s motive, automatically an act of terrorism? Do you think this is a topic that can be adequately addressed within the context of a video game?

  • Did playing this game changed the way you look at the world? At terrorism?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:THQ
Release date:June 3, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Strong Language, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Red Faction: Guerrilla was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 13 year old Written byopenmindeddad October 13, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

absolutely

there is no gore no contraband and is basically like freeing nazi occupied france but on mars

What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old Written byGhost Rider Sky January 20, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

This game is not M! it is just violent there are no bad words except h--l is said once

What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written byKevin Quire November 27, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

for older teens

This game is not violent at all. Basically you just walk around crushing broken parts and shooting martians. The only problem is the language. My fourteen year old loves this game and I allow my twelve year old to play it occasionally.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families