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A Level A Day – “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 8

A Level A Day – “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 8 (photo)

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I think I’ve been approaching the Dust section of “Red Faction: Guerrilla” all wrong.
I’m prioritizing side missions when I should be doing story missions first and then coming back to the former.

There’s a gameplay concept called grind, seen mostly in role-playing games and MMOs. It means having to perform a certain amount of drudgery to earn better abilities, weapons, gear, etc. While side missions are optional and can be done at any time, it became apparent that I’d have to grind my way up to getting the stuff that would help me succeed.

I asked a friend who finished the game when it came out if he ran around feeling underpowered a lot of the time. He responded by saying he never felt like a superman, which he liked. I further offered that I was trying to complete the convoy and demolition missions and getting my ass kicked. He confirmed the difficulty, especially convoy missions.

To give some context: yet another new mission type popped up for me to tackle and like a good little insurgent, I hopped right to it. Convoy missions involve destroying a group of Earth Defense Force vehicles en route to a location. Of course, they travel with armed escorts and the mission becomes as much about fighting them as it is about destroying the target vehicles. The brutal difficulty of it all got me thinking, “Am I supposed to actually be able to pull this off at this point of the experience?” He said that you have to set up some high-powered traps and then go in and kick ass on convoy missions. His acual quote was, “You really have to think like an Iraqi insurgent. What would they do to ambush a convoy?”

Wait, what?!

Then I thought about it some more, pushing aside the knee-jerk reaction I initially had, and realized that, dammit, he’s right. It kinda helped that he’s already finished the game but, that aside, my friend’s remark highlighted the odd juxtaposition of methods and ideology that “RFG” mixes up in its package. In reality, the closest thing to the tactics being used by the Red Faction are being wielded by enemies of the West. You’re not brewing up IEDs, but you do get proximity mines and explosive charges that you set ahead of time and lay in wait for the enemy. And that’s not to single out one specific tactic. Overall, the kind of David-vs.-Goliath strategy that informs the game’s missions hasn’t been seen in first-world nations for decades now and maybe that’s why “RFG” feels a little verboten, a little taboo. This observation’s reinvigorated my interest in the game and I’m interested to see just much guerrilla the action gets.

[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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