Red Faction: Armageddon concerns the plight of unfortunate protagonist Darius Mason, whose recent battles include one against an army of crazed cultists led by a mysterious man named Adam Hale.
Nasty man Hale has been on a mission to halt the planet’s Terraformer, a structure put in place to keep the planet’s surface habitable for humans by regulating weather conditions, and it looks like he’s managed it and somehow pinned the blame on our main man. Not good news then. Zip forward ten years and Mason’s gets a job mining underground, and whilst at work somehow manages to unleash a wealth of rather unpleasant ancient aliens generally referred to as The Plague (a title that should give you a little clue as to their temperament).
THQ studio Volition have focused much more on storyline this time round and have been working towards creating believable and well-rounded characters. Their aim has been to create a solid, finished looking and feeling project with significant effort put into creating something well directed.
If you’ve played a Red Faction game before though, what’s probably going through your mind is “can I still blow the living daylights out of everything and watch it crumble before me, laughing as I go?”, and the answer, pleasingly, is yes. GeoMod, Volition’s destruction engine, is back with a vengeance and looking better than ever.
There’s a fantastic new weapon called the magnet gun that lets you fire a magnet on one object and then another, sending one hurtling towards the latter. Be it animal, vegetable or mineral, the magnet gun does not discriminate. It’s possible to grab and launch a large section of wall at an unsuspecting nasty causing instant alien death and massive architectural damage.
We caused some pretty intense structural devastation and had a lot of fun messing around in an open playground of a tech demo meant for showing off the features of the new weaponry. Included in this demonstrative sandbox of fun was also a plasma cannon that basically cuts through structures like a knife through butter.
Also new to the table is the singularity cannon, which makes a mini black hole sending everything nearby into it, shortly after obliterating the stuff into tiny useless particles, awesome. The Nano Forge is back but in this game it’s used to repair the mindless destruction you’ve caused as it’s often you’ll find there’s no way to cross that canyon anymore after throwing the bridge at an alien.
Luckily, repairs are easily done with a quick press of the left button, making the process of destroying and subsequently rebuilding a lot more of a fun experience than it could be.
The Nano Forge does also boast a little destructive capability too, making it perfect for destroying stuff not quite worthy of the larger bits of kit.
A push of the left-trigger snaps-to-target; very handy considering the speed of the aliens we’re battling. The Plague are pretty agile and as well as showing off speed and power, they’re capable of demonstrating some mega dexterity, often flying out of walls and practically jumping round the whole 360°.
Much like in the Red Faction: Guerilla you’ll collect “salvage”, which falls out of everything you destroy. This is used to upgrade items, reduce your damage intake, increase your reload speed, reduce your recoil, upgrade your health and earn you HUD improvements.
Also back from the previous installment are mech suits, always good in my book. They’re able to smash walls, buildings and enemies with their massive arms when piloting them whilst also having some fantastic machine guns and rockets.
What’s massively noticeable in the game, and significantly different to the last, is the lack of open space, it’s a very claustrophobic affair that makes the mad panic to destroy stuff and move ever so more tense. It’s looking like a lot of fun anyway, especially if insane destruction is your sort of thing.