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DID YOU READ

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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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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