Going through Armageddon
Before I start talking about Red Faction Armageddon, it is important to note that I have not finished the previous Red Faction, I have completed the PS2 games but never got to finish Guerilla. I have played about half way through and got distracted by whatever game came out next. This however should not affect my review greatly, I’ve read about the story of Guerrilla and have caught up with it.
Red Faction Armageddon is a third person shooter with a lot of mechanics involving destruction of environments. The first half an hour or so seem to promise an experience that is strongly similar to Guerilla but the game quickly switches path and goes into streamlined linear paths and limited destructions. I was a big fan of the destruction aspects of Guerilla (which might be a reason why I never actually completed the story but mainly ran around destroying stuff) and Armageddon is quick to distance itself from that.
The story is very cliche, good guy unleashes hordes of monsters by accident, he gets exiled, comes back to fix mistakes and finds love interest. Nothing new in there so it’s a great thing that every cutscene is skippable. The game’s main interest should be the gameplay. The game does accomplish some very cool stuff by having completely destructible environments that you can destroy as much as you want because even if essential to your story progress, you can always repair it. Problem with the new ability to repair stuff is that while it looks cool and is very useful, the linear path of the game is so small that reconstructing stuff is limited to a very small scale which could have been so much cooler if there was a bigger space to run around. The shooting was improved ever so slightly with the smallest difference and the Maul is present once again with more awkwardness though due to the limited amount of space. Also available is an upgrade system which allows the acquisition of different improvements to guns, special abilities or just perks that allow an even smoother progression through the already easy game.
I keep repeating myself about the limited amount of space but it’s important for people to understand how annoying this aspect of the game is. I would have preferred for the game to have an open world that would have you travel to different mission starters (a la Red Faction Guerilla), the underground parts of the game (95% of it) kinda turned me off it and had me complete the game in a rush in order to focus on the ruin mode.
The main story will take around 4 to 5 hours (even less on New Game Plus) so the main replay-value comes from the 2 side-games that come with the game. Infestation is the first one of them. It’s basically a Horde mode from Gears of War 2 except there are some objectives attached to it. The interesting part of it is that those missions are attached to the main mission. For example, one of the infestation missions called Meltdown has you controlling a secondary character that has to bring a glacier melting station on line so that the pumps Darius (main character) is fixing have something to work with. It gives a very small insight on what was happening during your version short story. The two main types of Infestation missions are “Survive” and “Defend” and you can guess what they have you do from that (either kill all enemies or defend a building/people for a certain amount of time), the Gears of War 2 resemblance comes from the fact that it’s cooperative play (1-4 players) and that it is played in waves (can be chosen before starting it too).
Other mode available (personal favorite) is the Ruin Mode. This mode throws you in an open environment filled with buildings and other structures and in a certain period of time, it has you destroying as much as possible. Points are collected and leader boards are available in order to compare your skills with the rest of the community. This mode is what was missing from the main game in the first place and the only problem I had with it is that I wished that it was possible to remove the time limit and just destroy stuff for a while.
Once the main game is over, it is possible to start a new game plus like many Role Playing Games, it allows you to keep your weapons and upgrades while having new cheats to play with. A new weapon is also available called Mr. Toots which is a unicorn who farts plasma beam which annihilates anything on its way. Cheats are available from the pause menu in new game plus, each cheat requires a certain amount of currency to be bought just like the upgrades. The cheats are basically composed of the following:
- Unlimited Ammo for every weapon (cost separately per weapon)
- Weapon Unlocks (Napalm Laser, Convergence Laser, Rocket Launcher L.E.O., Lava Barge Turret)
- Visual Modes (Sketch Mode, Night Vision Mode)
- Other (Instant Nano Forge Cool-down, Super Melee)
Red Faction: Armageddon is not a great game. I recommend it as a rental at most and even then you’ll find a lot of time to spare. Game is way too short and a big disappointment. Here’s hoping the rest of the games coming out before the end of the year keep up the expectations.
- Stupid Fun
- Easy enough not to stress out
- Ruin Mode
- Extremely short (5 hours first play-through)
- Not enough open-world destruction
- Some annoying glitches (at least in the 360 version)
- Frame-rate will drop when too there's too much destruction happening (360 version again)