Mini Review – Red Faction: Armageddon
THQ’s long-running brick mangler finally hits the wall.
You can’t really accuse the Red Faction games of failing to evolve, the most recent (main) games in the series have moved from their FPS roots, to third person action sandbox and now to a lesser extent the experience has changed again removing the sandbox experience and replacing it with more ‘in your face’ action. Even before the game was released many nosed started to turn upwards at this but frankly the last offering (Red Faction: Guerrilla), although fun suffered from an at times crippling difficulty curve and banal and pointless side missions, much like Volition’s other jewel – Saints Row (except nowhere near as fun).
As mentioned, the previous entry in the series had you sandboxing on the surface but this time the game is largely set underground – hence the linearity. The story won’t win any awards but it should keep you going, weirdo looking cultists destroy the terraformer on Mars’ surface forcing everyone underground, a short while later they unleash a ‘new threat’ on the human survivors which promptly begin slaughtering everyone in sight – your mission, kill crush n’ destroy every last one as you step into the shoes of Darius Mason (I just got it) and set off on a merry trek of destruction just like the games of past.
As is common for the series, destruction is quite prevalent with some impressive destruction based visuals and Physics, the difference this time round is that it really isn’t necessary at all, you’re not raging against the machine and trying to take down an evil corporation, you’re just trying to survive. Considering that a large part of the time you’re actually travelling inside destructible buildings, half the time you’ll be falling though the floor due to the damage you just caused. Your retooled nanoforge can repair anything you destroy but it’s annoying that it happens in the first place. When you intend to do it, destruction is as always, fun if a little superfluous.
The nanoforge also is modified for combat functionality with ‘force push’ (star wars), berserk (doom) and shield (any game ever) and you can further relish in destructive glory with the vehicle sections which serve to keep the pace fast and furious much like being in your own Michael Bay movie – except enjoyable.
Destruction is aided with an impressive selection of weapons ranging from explosive gun, lightning gun, plasma gun, black hole gun and standard gun gun. You’re limited to carrying four but can mix and match at any weapons locker you find, they’re actually really fun to use and satisfying different from each other, the enemies however aren’t. With the exception of the human enemies that are very conservatively scattered throughout the majority of the game your foes will be the bugs and what they have in quantity they really lack in variety. There’s small bug, big bug, lightning bug, fire bug, tank bug, bigger tank bug and tentacle, the majority of which spawn from destroyable pods but may also literally be ‘coming out of the goddamn walls’. Yeah the enemies may be from the big book of generic enemies but as mentioned the emphasis on frantic slaughter means you won’t be stopping to quibble over enemy design, you won’t have time to.
Red Faction: Armageddon is a fairly standard game, with a pretty standard horde mode tacked on for good measure, nothing exceptional but there’s still plenty of fun to be had, if you liked the demo or are the least bit curious certainly give this a shot.
A mason is an individual whose trade involves building with natural and artificial materials – do you see?