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Red Faction: Armageddon Review

danielrbischoff By:
danielrbischoff
06/01/11
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 4 
PUBLISHER THQ 
DEVELOPER Volition 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
M Contains Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

The catwalks? Boom. The generators? Kerpow. All those enemies? Smithereens.


Look, I blew a lot of stuff up. That's pretty much the modus operandi of Red Faction. Ever since the inception of the series, RF games have been about violently deforming the environment around you, something you usually can't do in real life. Just go try and shoot a rocket at your house. I'll wait.

click to enlargeVolition's rebirth of the series with Red Faction: Guerilla went over fairly well with gamers and critics alike. Guerilla's go-anywhere, destroy-everything method of play was a huge success, certainly beyond what one could have expected. My impression of the original Red Faction games was that they were cult classics. My friends and I would spend hours in multiplayer matches of the formerly first-person game blowing up holes in walls and demolishing each other's bases.

That inherent, unapologetic, child-like fun is still present in Armageddon. Seeing buildings crumble, bridges collapse, and explosion after explosion takes me back to the endless multiplayer matches of my youth. Blowing stuff up in RF's virtual world creates the same joy as stomping on your little brother's LEGO creations or kicking over someone's sandcastle, except without all of the sharp pointy bricks in your feet and the tears of a stranger at the beach.

Armageddon's best gameplay sections place you in the LEO exosuit, a mech capable of huge amounts of destruction. The LEO suit introduces you to the magnet gun early in the game and later comes equipped with rockets and a chain gun. The exosuit also allows you to dash into enemies and unaffectionately crush them. Volition designed mech combat to bob and weave as easily as on-foot combat.

click to enlargeThe story pits Darius Mason, Alec Mason's grandson, against Adam Hale, a fanatical Marauder priest. In the tutorial missions, Hale destroys an atmosphere generator and forces the population on Mars underground. Hale then tricks Mason into opening an ancient Marauder temple and unleashing a dormant Martian race of creatures.

But there's little reason to detail the plot beyond this point. Armageddon's narrative is neither compelling nor entertaining, and eventually takes a back seat to all of the shooting, exploding, exploring, and repairing you'll do across the game's expansive campaign. Rest assured that despite Armageddon's abandonment of Guerilla's open-world structure, environments remain varied and intriguing.

A lot of the entertainment is thanks to the wide assortment of weapons Mason has at his disposal. Guns range from the Assault Rifle and Rocket Launcher to the Nano Rifle and Magnet Gun. Each weapon feels satisfying and the alien creatures you kill through most of the campaign explode with an exciting viscosity. The later weapons like the Magnet Gun play with the physics and destructibility of the world, and guns like the Nano Rifle have beautiful graphical effects.

click to enlargeThe Nano Forge, returning from RF: Guerilla, is a system of nanobots Mason has at his disposal. Essentially, anything you destroy can be rebuilt with the Nano Forge. As you upgrade your character through the single-player campaign, you'll also gain Nano abilities; one ability suspends enemies in your immediate vicinity while another ability creates a shield that protects you from enemy fire and damages enemies that come too close. If you've cleared out a room full of baddies, you'll probably need to use them to repair a couple of structures to reach a specific room or complete an objective.

Armageddon also includes a Horde-mode clone called Extermination that supports up to four players. So if you've got a couple of friends that you just want to hang out with online, RF's style of play will more than accommodate that. There's also a free form destruction mode if you want to boil down Armageddon even further to nothing more than "blow everything up mode".

Red Faction: Guerilla flew under my radar. Armageddon shouldn't fly under yours. If you're looking for a game to kick off summer in the right way, Armageddon will not only satisfy you, it'll keep you coming back during every heat wave.
B+ Revolution report card
  • Amazing levels of destruction
  • Variety of weapons and enemies
  • +/- A plot so bland you can ignore it
  • No more open world?
  • The Nano Forge and abilities
  • It's so dark in these caves!
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Also known as: red faction armageddon


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