The Red Faction series has always been about destruction and mayhem. There have been many videogames in the past that have allowed players to utilize that style of gameplay to a certain extent but they can’t compare to Red Faction’s chaotic gameplay. The first two entries in the series were FPS games that were well ahead of their time. They were followed by Red Faction Guerrilla which was underrated. It was a great open world game with a huge emphasis on destruction. Volition offers players Red Faction Armageddon which shifts the gameplay from open world to linear. Is the latest iteration a success or does it fall apart? Read the review to find out.
Red Faction Armageddon takes place fifty years after the events of Red Faction Guerrilla in which Alec Mason had liberated Mars from the EDF (Earth Defense Force) and thought that its inhabitants were safe. An ancient alien race that was thought to have been laying dormant are released and are hell-bent on destroying what’s left of the humans that are living in Mars’ underground due to the face that its surface is uninhabitable. The planet was made uninhabitable because of the game’s main antagonist Adam Hale who destroyed Mars’ Terraformer Machine which allowed humans to live on its surface. This is where Alec Mason’s grandson Darius Mason comes into play. Darius is tricked into the release of a strange alien race. He wants to redeem himself by saving the humans, destroying Adam Hale and getting rid of the aliens at any cost. There are many cutscenes that further explain the story and help break up the gameplay a little bit. Darius is always in contact with a piece of equipment known as SAM (Situational Awareness Module) which offers directions, objectives and recommendations throughout the single player campaign mode. Darius will also be in contact with Kara, a hard-nosed smuggler whom is he has a friendship with and ends up liking. Darius also stays in contact with sergeant Frank Winters who is a tough, no-nonsense type of person. In Red Faction Guerrilla Alec Mason fought along side other Faction members. However, in Red Faction Armageddon Darius Mason fights alone most of the time with the a few exceptions. He’s pretty much a one man army.
There are a lot of people who were disappointed because Red Faction Armageddon was made into a linear game. What was great about Red Faction Guerrilla was that you could go back wherever you wanted and do whatever you wanted as long as you liberated a certain area of Mars. I still enjoyed playing Red Faction Armageddon but perhaps an open world style of gameplay is what works best for the Red Faction series. You are basically forced to move forward and there are even roadblocks that emphasize the game’s linearity. The action takes place in close quarters combat a lot of the time and it becomes really challenging when you have hordes of enemies trying to take your head off. There are a few times when you do combat on the surface of Mars which breaks up the linear style a bit. I even had some memories from playing Red Faction Guerrilla in the process. The game’s single player campaign takes 8-10 hours to complete. There are also vehicle sections where you take control of a Mining Exo and a Marauder Scout Walker which can plow through and destroy anything and any enemies. They are very powerful and fun to use. There is a timer that goes off if you leave your mission objective which will result in restarting the mission.
Destruction is where Red Faction succeeds which is also true with Red Faction Armageddon. One of the game’s early objectives had me destroy several buildings and none of the them fell apart the same way when I destroyed them, now that is really impressive. You can destroy explosive tanks, buildings, towers, etc. The only things that aren’t destructible are terrain and some specific structures. The game utilizes the Geo-Mod engine 2.5 and it is very well done. It is really fun destroying a building and watching it fall on a few enemies. There are times when a stubborn building won’t fall apart because of a single piece of medal. It is irritating but it doesn’t happen very often. The linear style of the game doesn’t allow as much destruction as the original but its fun nonetheless.
You have a lot of different weapons that you can use to take out your enemies and to destroy structures with. You have a powerful shotgun and double pistols. You have your trusty sledgehammer which was available in Red Faction Guerrilla. It sure comes in handy when you’re out of ammunition. There is a Magnet Gun which is very useful. You can target an enemy with the weapon and then target a structure and watch as the two collide into each other. You have an Arc Welder which releases bolts of electricity which is effective against smaller enemies. There is a Singularity Gun which causes enemies to get sucked into a black hole. There is a Plasma Cannon which can penetrate through any object which causes numerous explosions on its path. The strangest weapon is a magical unicorn called Mr. Toots which can be unlocked after completing the single player campaign. Mr. Toots will fart and release rainbows which will melt enemies. Apparently the developers included it for humor purposes but it’s effective regardless. There is also a Rocket Launcher which is effective against anything and any enemy. There is also the Nano-Forge which has an ability that is known as an Impulse. It creates a powerful force which knocks down enemies and can blow away structures. The Nano-Forge can also be used to repair damaged structures, generators and other devices. It’s neat being able to destroy a structure and then repair it a few minutes later. It also becomes crucial many times in the game. Walkways and ladders will get destroyed so you will need to repair them in order to move onward.
The game has several types of enemies that you will encounter. There are some human enemies and Marauders but most of the enemies are of the alien race. The most basic enemy type is the Creeper which isn’t a big threat alone unless it attacks in packs then they become dangerous and overwhelm you. Ravagers are more powerful than the Creepers because they can shoot at you, leap and cling onto walls. The Berserker is a huge enemy which is huge and takes a lot of damage. It charges when it attacks. It also explodes when it dies which causes great damage. There is the Monolith which is a huge creature with force field around it. It attacks by releasing green bolts of plasma. It also boosts the health of other enemies as well. The toughest enemy is called the behemoth which is pretty much a boss battle. He is really big. He can take and cause a lot of damage. He is very powerful and can destroy anything in his path. There is a decent variety in the types of enemies that you encounter but I would have liked to have faced a bigger variety of them. They have a horror-like element to them.
Red Faction Guerrilla was a pretty good-looking game and Red Faction Armageddon is no different. The graphics have actually been improved over the original. Character models look really good and so do the enemies. The game looks pretty the few times it takes place on the surface of Mars. Unfortunately the tunnels and caves look bland and boring. Once you have seen one cave you have seen them all. It’s as if the design was recycled for all of them. The game has a horror element to it so it makes up for it in that aspect. Destruction and explosions look really impressive. The way in which structures fall apart is truly something beautiful. Those who have a graphics card with Direct X 10 or Direct X 11 will be in for a real treat. Some of the game’s cutscenes look really good while others look really pixelated which is really strange. The game even looks pretty good when running it using Direct X 9. The horror element gives the game a darker look.
The game’s audio is pretty good. The soundtrack is pretty impressive and fits in really well with game setting and style. There are times when the game will be quiet. When the action ramps up so does the music. It breaks up some of the game’s calmer moments. The character voice work is pretty good. There is also some humor mixed in which works really well. The cultist leader’s voice does get annoying and doesn’t seem much like a real threat. Each of the weapons has a distinctive and satisfying sound to them. One of the most impressive audio aspects of the game is the way buildings sound when they fall apart. Explosions sound very good as well.
Multiplayer features a mode called Infestation. It’s a co-op based mode where you face waves on enemies to go along with certain objectives. It’s a really interesting and fun game mode and is similar to Gears of War’s Horde Mode. The currency that you earn in multiplayer can be used to purchase upgrades in the single player campaign mode. The other mode is called Ruin Mode where you are given a certain amount of time to cause as much destruction as possible. It’s a really and fun mode and is a great diversion from the game’s single player campaign mode. The bad part is that is only playable if you have bought a new copy of the game. So if you decide to rent the game or buy it used instead of getting a new copy then you are out of luck.
As far as controls go you have your standard WASD for the movements. You use the Spacebar to jump. Left Shift is used to sprint. The right mouse click is used to aim. The left mouse click is used to fire weapons or to attack with the sledgehammer. Mouse button 3 is used to repair things such as generators, buildings, stairs, etc. Q is used to activate the Nano-Forge’s pulse ability. When you press the Tab button you get gold colored plates that show you where you are suppose to go next and where your next objective is. The keyboard controls work very well and are very responsive along with the mouse.
Performance-wise the game ran very smoothly despite all the destruction, explosions and enemies that occur onscreen which is very impressive. I never once encountered any slow gameplay. A decent machine should run the game without any issues without the need for a high-end PC. The following are the system requirements for Red Faction Armageddon:
Supported Graphics Cards:
NVIDIA GeForce 88xx series or ATI Radeon HD30xx series or better (Minimum)
NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 400 series or ATI Radeon HD5000 series or better (Recommended)
Red Faction Armageddon is a great game. I would have preferred that it was open world just like Red Faction Guerrilla instead of being linear but I still enjoyed playing it. The story is decent. The destruction aspect of the game is really awesome. The game features some great weapons. It looks pretty good especially for those who have a Direct X 10 or Direct X 11 graphics card. The audio is well done especially in regards to how buildings sound when they fall apart. Multiplayer features a great co-op mode called Infestation. Ruin Mode is also very well done. It would have been nice if there was more variety in regards to the enemy types. Red Faction Armageddon is an enjoyable game that is really well done. It also available for the XBOX 360 and PS3 and is definitely worth the purchase.