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Brilliant but totally forgotten FPS classic is now just $2

Before Half-Life 2, FEAR, Doom 3, and other stalwarts of the ‘00s shooter era, one FPS classic pioneered the genre, and it’s now $2.

Red Faction FPS game classic: A miner from Volition FPS game Red Faction

Most perfectly encapsulated in Battlefield, and its incredible ‘Levolution’ events, destructible physics and smashable environments are things we’ve gotten used to in modern shooters. But there was a time when the idea of being able to obliterate, tear down, and totally change a level in an FPS, just by the sheer power of rockets and explosives, felt almost like fantasy. 2001 was a busy year for shooting and action games. Return to Castle Wolfenstein, one of the best to ever do it, arrived in November, Max Payne launched in December, and there was also a little game called Halo: Combat Evolved. This was stiff competition, so it’s little wonder that one FPS – a forgotten classic that pioneered destruction physics – faded relatively quickly from memory. Created by Volition, eventually of the Saints Row series, this is one shooter that deserves a reappraisal, and it’s yours for just over $2.

Red Faction is an FPS game caught between two eras. Technologically, it’s something of a marvel. Fast-paced, polished, sharp, and with groundbreaking environmental effects (more on those later), it’s a huge jump, visually, from the boomer shooters of the ‘90s. On the contrary, it still plays like Half-Life, Quake, and classic Doom, a corridor shooter with an astronomical body count and a no-nonsense setup. You play Parker, a blue-collar worker for a sinister Martian mining company. Pushed around and mistreated, one day, the employees launch an uprising. Your job is to find a ship and get back to Earth.

Guns sound hefty, blood effects are spectacular, and there’s a decent arsenal all with primary and secondary fire modes. Where Red Faction stands out however, and the reason it deserves a place in FPS history, is the – somewhat humorously named – Geo-Mod system.

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If a guard takes cover behind a wall, blow up the wall. If you want to get into an area of the underground caves that is blocked off, plant some C4 on the rocks and stand back. For 2001, this was incredible. Now, 23 years later, in light of Battlefield and Crysis, it’s remarkable what Volition was able to achieve.

Simple, smart, and with a supremely fun central gimmick, you can get Red Faction for just $2.22 / £1.79. All you need to do is click the button below to go straight over to GOG.

Alternatively, you might want to try some of the other best old games, to relive that ‘00s shooter charm. Or perhaps look ahead with the best upcoming PC games on their way in 2024.

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