It seems that Strategy styled games need a boost. Pretty much all games have stuck to the formula - attack in force, capture, hold, bolster with defenses, move on. The classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms series added a lot more to the mix - with economics, intrigue, and the looming threat of famine. I know a balance can be struck between action and thrills and - for all intents and purposes - accounting and logistics.
The Godfather II was ultimately a disappointing game and if I had paid full retail I would have been pissed. There's essentially no replay value unless you just want achievement points. Even if it wasn't part of the Godfather-verse it's still lacking in the crime empire genre.
I only played the PS2 Red Faction FPS games briefly and never really got into them as much as I should have. I might have to go back and play them based on the strength of Red Faction: Guerilla. Now I've put in a solid day of gaming on this new release and have to say it's a really good game. I hit a wall last night but that's because I think I've completed all the side missions I can before moving on with the story. That's the way I play sandbox games like RF:G - I complete every single side mission I can before moving on with the story. By doing this I essentially "level" my character, unlocking weapons and having enough resources to avoid scrambling later in the game, and roaming across the map allows me to familiarize myself with the lay of the land early on - also helpful later in the game when the shit hits the fan.
The best thing about RF:G is that, until I hit the wall, the game is fun. Really fun. There are two elements to all this fun: cinematic moments and the sheer joy of blowing shit up. I don't mean cut scenes when I say "cinematic moments" - I mean moments that could have come from a movie and are one of the cornerstones of good game design.
Example: While exploring and mining in the Badlands (aka Marauder territory aka Miranda) and generally not paying attention to my surroundings I noticed some enemy blips on the radar. I hadn't really encountered Marauders up until this point so I unlimbered my assault rifle and took aim. Things to remember when dealing with Marauders; 1) They don't die easy & 2) More and more show up the more noise you make i.e. shooting/blowing shit up. So a swarm of Marauders show up on the radar and I haul ass back to my dune buggy - which my dumb ass wandered away from exploring. The swarm of Marauders is chasing me across the freaking dunes until I get to a main road across from an enemy checkpoint, avoid the checkpoint and screech to a halt. The gunner at the checkpoint opens fire but for once not at me - at the Marauders who have chased me all over hell and high water. Several civilian vehicles stop and the occupants jump out and fire upon the Marauders. I just watched the mayhem. It was awesome and I actually laughed.
Apparently the big selling point to this game was Geo-Mod 2.0 -which basically means nearly every building, structure, and assorted goodies blast to shit super awesome style. It works, works amazingly actually, the Demolitions Master challenges are a great highlight. In the challenge you have to destroy a structure within time and gear limitations, often one strategically placed mine or implement of destruction will bring the whole shit house down in one go. The trick is finding that weakspot.
I have to admit that I had a twinge of guilt for flattening all these structures like Romans on Carthage. After liberating a sector from the bad guys I drove through it again and civilians were wandering around a barren wasteland. While I had buckets of glee razing eveything to the ground - in particular bridges. No matter what the game I love fighting on and/or destroying bridges. At one particular bridge I saw vehicles stop and turn around and have to take the long route around the canyon. Is this what they mean when they say, "With great power comes great responsibility"?
Based on first impressions I strongly, very strongly recommend picking up RF:G. Just don't surprised if you start making lots of Firefly/Serenity jokes. Amanda's running joke is, "I don' wanna git ate!" whenever she hears me yelling about "Goddamn Marauders!"