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A Level A Day – “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 4

A Level A Day – “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 4 (photo)

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Thursday, December 9, 2010: “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 4

“RFG” suffers a bit from the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none ailment that a lot of open-world games contract on their way to release. The driving feels a little too loosey-goosey and the aiming’s, um, challenging. But, what separates it from other similar titles is the fact that it’s got a single, compelling core mechanic that works really, really well. The freedom that the Geo-Mod 2.0 engine gives you to destroy massive buildings never gets old. It makes me wonder if Volition looked at their tech and then decided to put it in a game where one of the persistent objectives would be constant infrastructure degradation. You’re blowing up every EDF smokestack and building on the planet and it feels damn good. Doubly so, because it’s not only fun to watch but you’re also constantly being told that it’s in support of justified revolt.

Still, the thoroughness of this destruction is a little OCD in nature. War may be dirtier than civilians ever know but I’m pretty sure every single bridge in an enemy territory doesn’t get blown up. Like I said yesterday, it’s a single-mindedness that’s a little disturbing when you place it in a real-world context. I don’t want to break the fiction of “Red Faction” but what about collateral damage? Or the disruption that these events cause to the social fabric? Even the most evil organization’s got one good (if meek) guy in its folds? What about him?

With all the WikiLeaks fallout over the last two weeks, I’m having two weird reactions to “Red Faction: Guerilla.” On one hand, I almost feel like the game’s brainwashing me to embrace its simple ideological dichotomy. “Abandon your critical lens, Brother Narcisse,” it whispers. “Make the world tumble down and bend to your righteousness.” And, on the other hand, “RFG” makes me wish diplomacy was part of action video games, so we could see the dirty tricks and elliptical negotiations lead to breaches of trust that engender armed conflict. Show me all that and then send me to shoot somebody and I’d be cool with it.

[A Level A Day will be my attempt to give my thumbs more exercise every 24 hours. ALAD will be part diary, part analysis and a smidgen of random observation on games that either slipped through the cracks or might deserve reconsideration. I won’t promise to finish every game but I’ll try to track what I think of as honestly as I can, so you’ll at least know why I’m stopping a particular game.]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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