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Red Faction 4 goes dark, gritty?
by Chris Hawke

In case you hadn't noticed, Red Faction 4 has been announced, and the first details, including a debut trailer, are on the way in GTTV on Friday.

All that's been seen is the picture above you - the title text. Now, title texts usually don't tell you anything other than how to spell the damn name, but this... this is interesting. Compare the 'Red Faction 4' screen with this Medal of Honor shot (after the jump).

They look very similar, don't they? The moody blacks, the dusty greys, the debris chipping off the N of Red Faction, and the shrapnel on the left of the Medal of Honor soldier - all Red Faction 4 needs is a grumpy protagonist, which I'm sure they'll somehow manage to include, and you've got two very close art styles.

The point of all this? For years, Medal of Honor has been in slow decline, with games becoming more colourful, cartoonish and unreal. You could have cel-shaded Airborne and it wouldn't have looked out of place. Now, the 2010 reboot of the series is claiming to show the true horrors of war, and put you in a much more realistic simulation of battle.

So, what about Red Faction? The previous installment, Red Faction: Guerrilla, certainly had more than its fair share of realistic physics, with harsh, future-Soviet buildings crumbling and exploding with sickening devotion to the real world. Still, there were the cookie-cutter enemies, vivid colours and wise-cracking, surprisingly upbeat (considering the sudden demise of his brother) Alec Mason. While destruction was beautiful, the rest of the game was a blur of happy endings and enemies marked 'bad' that you definitely should shoot, because they do 'bad' things with 'bad' people.

We suspect that come Friday, you'll see a whole new style. Red Faction 4 will aim to 'redefine' the series as you know it, with a gritter, darker, and more menacing tone. What that includes, we don't know - enemies who might not just be pure evil, moral choices, an interesting main character with a dark backstory (because there's always room in gaming for another one of them)? Maybe the focus will be on realistic gun battles, or choose whose buildings to blow up based on their moral standpoint, or it might just be the same good vs. evil, with an extra layer of morbid - genocide, terrorism, death round every corner, and all the other trappings of an 18-rated game.

I suppose we'll have to wait until Friday to find out, but with E3 coming up fast, hopefully GGTL will get some exclusives for you when we head out to L.A.


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- Chris Hawke

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