Red Faction: Guerrilla

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Red Faction: Guerrilla Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Sci-fi shooter tackles tricky topic in terrorism.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 25 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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 & Representations

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.


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).


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChojun January 2, 2012

Caution for younger players

This is a great game.

The official review didn't touch enough on the language. It is not over-the-top, as it occurs as it naturally would during very ten... Continue reading
Adult Written bykathy221 December 4, 2009

good for 10+

This game isn't too bloody or violent, and the language is not terrible. It's a great game for anyone over 10.
Teen, 15 years old Written byvogel mrok June 14, 2021

love this game

this game takse on mars and you can doo a allot in the game so lets git done
(((spoyler alert)))
you start of in soume sort of a un loding doc when you get out... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEnglishPenguin March 19, 2016

Open world game is explosive, tactical, and possibly difficult.

Red Faction is a fast based game where you play the role of a guerrilla soldier. The point of the game is basically the same as Just Cause 2, destroy as much ty... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: THQ
  • Release date: June 3, 2009
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Strong Language, Violence
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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