Red Faction: Armageddon
This new Red Faction turns the page a bit. The many weapons and infinite ways to destroy things have remained, but the revolution was exchanged for an alien invasion. Don’t expect a direct sequel as the story has little to do with Red Faction: Guerilla. Not that we’re sad about that.
You’re Darius Mason, who calls Mars his home, and of course you end up in a shitstorm when you unleash aliens on your home planet due to some clumsy behaviour. Little new under the (red) sun, both in story, characters and averagely-designed opponents.
But ok, nobody buys this game to get filosophical like in Bioshock. On the contrary, Red Faction is about wreaking as much havoc as possible and there’s no lack of that thanks to a whole series of destructive weapons like an all-destroying laser, a plasma cannon and even a rifle that generates black holes. Handy, and it leads to creative ways to kill enemies! You can manipulate the environment in such a way that opponents get crushed, overwhelmed, sling away or simply fall on their face.
Most notable is without a doubt the Magnet: you shoot twice after which both parts that are hit are drawn to each other with unstoppable force. Yup! It’s equally hilarious as it sounds and you’ll have a big fat smile on your face when you see hostiles crashing against walls or the other way around if you find that just a tad more violent. Too bad these weapons didn’t get a better game built around them.
And that isn’t all. You can now also use certain powers that may have been based on other sci-fi series (Star Wars, Mass Effect anyone?) but don’t feel out of place. You can let enemies float to then easily kill them or perform some sort of Force Rush with objects and unexpecting humans. The most original power is that with which you can build back broken things. Not only handy to recreate the bridge you just let explode, but also spectacular and ideal to experiment with.
Too bad that the latter is limited by the setting. Who thought it was a good idea to have the largest part of the game be set in confined areas and tunnels? Because the terraformer was destroyed the population had to live underground. But why not give these weapons and powers the environment they deserve, so you can let your creativity go running rampant until infinity? These limited maps are filled with – completely unoriginal – vehicles, turrets, mech suits and other typical stuff to entertain but way before the end of the game you’re already on auto pilot and playing only for the Achievements and to check the ending credits. After which you can start over again with the upgrades and weapons you already earnt, which you won’t do.
Next to the campaign there’s the obligatory multiplayer where you need to take on waves of enemies (30 per map no less), play with four in co-op, an Ruin in which you get points for playing the sledgehammer and destroy as much as possible within a certain time. Leaderboards are supposed to deliver the challenge here.
Red Faction: Armageddon is all but a bad game. The graphics are good, the gameplay is tight, there are fascinating weapons and powers and with the Magnet Gun you can have fun for hours. Only too bad that everything feels so déjà-vu, going from the story to the opponents, that the last quarter of the game has little new left to keep you going. The setting and maps also never reach the level necessary to really make these weapons come to life. All in all this makes the latest Red Faction an action snack that you’ll run through once but will hardly remember afterwards.