GTA on Mars? Well, it may be a little too far-fetched, but it still is true. You have this HUGE map with tons of missions and tons of DESTRUCTIBLE buildings. And the game wants you to cause mayhem and destruction. No mission can be completed without wreaking havoc!
The story is mediocre at best: you play a guy called Mason whose brother has just died. He takes up his role working for the guerrilla, a rebellious group that aims to rid Mars of the oppressive government called EDF. There are some nice cutscenes telling the story but the 20 main missions are not sufficient to make it a great story.
On the other hand: Who cares? The story is just an excuse to destroy everything in your path. As you make progress further areas open up in front of you with the same goal: you must liberate them. Every sector has a morale meter that increases as you complete missions. Higher morale means more assistance from guerrilla members while fighting. Main missions that advance the story can be accessed, too, with the exception of the last one. This particular mission to liberate the sector requires you to decrease enemy morale. Naturally, helping the rebels causes the bad guys lose morale.
Do you like collectibles in games? Well, Red Faction has destructibles. You can prove your worth by looking for high value EDF buildings, piles of ore, propaganda signs and practically anything else that belongs to Mars' evil faction. Side missions are also many and varied as one would expect: you can catch couriers, protect allied areas, take vehicles to safe locations or - and this is my favourite - ride shotgun with Jenkins. The guy drives but you are manning the gun: just shoot at everything that belongs to EDF - buildings, vehicles and anything that increases the counter on the upper right-hand side of the screen telling you how much damage you have caused. Once you have reached 1 billion credits another achievement pops up.
I like how varied the environment is. You would think the entire game swims in brownish-reddish colours. No! New sectors have a newer, more different look. Oasis has green areas with fewer but bigger buildings telling you this is where the upper class of Mars lives. The Badlands have a more evil look with the presence of the mysterious marauders - you can clearly see this is an homage to Mad Max!
A good way to encourage the player to cause destruction is the currency introduced: every collapsed building leaves scrap metal. These shiny, light blue pieces of salvage can then be used to buy newer weapons or upgrade the existing ones.
I understand the Steam Edition of the game has a lot of new features. This is certainly a plus - I played this well after it finally ditched the awful GFWL service. It is a good thing that more and more games do the same!
To summarise: Red Faction is a game about destruction. There's nothing more satisfying than leaving the office after a long and hard day and using Mason's sledgehammer to off some Martian bad guys or to destroy a tower. And if you truly want to destroy everything dozens of hours of fun is guaranteed!