'Red Factions: Battlegrounds' is an uneven package that at times offers fun frantic gameplay but lacks enough content to keep gamers interested. The core gameplay is nothing new but works well. The single player and online options are minimal at best and offer virtually no fresh gaming experiences. However, if one is looking for a game that offers a quick fix of destruction then “Battlegrounds” is worth a look.

“Battlegrounds” is a dual stick shooter based around vehicle combat. The player can control an assortment of vehicles (ranging from quick and lightly armored buggy-type vehicles to slow and heavily armoured tanks) through several maps with the goal being either to survive the longest or destroy everything in sight. Up to four players can fight it out on a variety of maps, which can lead to some fun and hectic action.

Drive-by Shooting
Gameplay in “Battlegrounds” is straightforward. The player uses the left stick to move the given vehicle around and uses the right stick to aim and right trigger to shoot (unless the player chooses to have the right stick both aim and shoot at the same time). There are power ups and weapons to pick up on the maps that range from speed boosts to remote mines to a singularity bomb (an object that sucks players towards it then detonates). The gameplay, though simplistic, works well and can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately the lack of content makes this game a tough sell.

Training for Multiplayer
The singleplayer experience is comprised of “Training Missions” where the player assumes the role of a cadet learning how to blow things up with vehicles. The training missions are extremely short and generally easy. These singleplayer missions are simply a way to get the player accustomed to the controls for when he or she eventually goes online. There are 4 types of missions the player can experience: Survival, Speed trial, Annihilate, and Shooting range. Survival requires the player to survive for a pre-determined amount of time. Speed trial has the player picking up randomly spawning flags and driving them to randomly spawning drop spots within a certain amount of time. Annihilate requires the player to destroy all enemies within a given time. Shooting range makes the player destroy a series of remote mines within a specified timeframe. None of these modes are particularly interesting or difficult and the whole singleplayer experience will take approximately an hour to play through.

Each singleplayer level requires the player to reach a predetermined Bronze star benchmark (usually a time marker indicating the length of time required to stay alive or the maximum amount of time the player can take to complete the level). The player can gain either a Gold, Silver, or Bronze star in each level. Playing the singleplayer and achieving the different stars helps to unlock different ranks (level ups), which unlock new vehicles and upgrades (such as increases to speed and damage). The rankings earned in singelplayer are carried over into multiplayer where further ranking up can unlock more upgrades and vehicles.

Co-op and Online Explosions
When playing online up to four players can compete in standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and king of the hill gametypes. There is one quirk of the online that sets “Battlegrounds” apart: a player can have a friend play locally on his or her system and then take that friend into an online match with other Xbox Live users. This system works well and allows for 2 or 3 friends playing locally to fill in the empty player spot(s). However beyond this merging of local and online multiplayer there is very little to be excited about when it comes to “Battlegrounds” multiplayer options.

Furthermore, There are some major balancing issues when it comes to what sorts of vehicles players choose. A player can find himself or herself using a vehicle that is completely outclassed by the other players’ vehicle choices. The game allows players to switch vehicles after death, which helps, but does not mitigate the frustration of figuring out which vehicle works best in order to compete. When everything is working well (namely when the players all choose similar vehicles or the same vehicles) the online mayhem is a blast to play, as long as one is not looking for the next big strategic multiplayer game. In fact strategy has little to do with the online experiences “Battlegrounds” offers. The game is more about jump-in/jump-out gameplay for a few frenetic and explosive hours of fun. Unfortunately, this style of multiplayer will not appeal to everyone and the lack of a singleplayer campaign completely alienates those who are not big into arcade style multiplayer. As well, the craziness that is happening on screen (namely all the explosions) can sometimes make it difficult to understand what exactly is happening, which can result in some control issues. However I believe the explosive mayhem is part of the charm of this game.

'Red Faction: Battlegrounds' is not a game focused on strategy and precision. Rather, this is a game that lets players tap into their destructive sides with wild abandon. The major issue with this game is a massive lack of content in singeplayer and multiplayer. “Battlegrounds” works as a distraction and a fun party game for hardcore gamers. However, “Red Faction: battlegrounds” falls well short of being a fully featured XLA game that demands the attention of gamers.

  • fun party game for hardcore gamers
  • easy to jump in and play
  • ability to have 2 or 3 local players join an Xbox Live online match
  • total lack of a singleplayer campaign
  • little originality to keep gamers interested
  • lack of balance between vehicle types
  • too little content to warrant continual play
Quote: "Battlegrounds works as a distraction and a fun party game for hardcore gamers. However, “Red Faction: battlegrounds” falls well short of being a fully featured XLA game that demands the attention of gamers."
Reviewed by James Farrington | 04.14.11

Similar Games: Red Faction: Armageddon (7.0) | Red Faction: Guerrilla (8.2)


Red Faction Battlegrounds


THQ Digital


US Release
April '11


Xbox Live Arcade

Player 1-2
Multiplayer 1-4
800 MS Points