Red Faction: Armageddon
By THQ and Volition Games
Genre: Third-person shooter
Rating: Mature for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence
The Red Faction series has long been a staple of the shooter genre, featuring revolutionary (at the time) destructible terrain ever since its first release as a first-person shooter back in 2001. Its second outing was also an FPS, but the third game in the series, Red Faction: Guerilla, went to third-person with great effect. But whereas that game was an open-world title, this latest in the series, Armageddon, returns somewhat to its roots; still being a third-person shooter, but with linear-styled levels. Does it work?
Well, the story is decent, if not Earth-shattering, but it does happen, quite appropriately, to be Mars-shattering: in the not-too-distant future, a terrorist cult led by the insane Alan Hale blow up a terraformer on the red planet, basically condemning its surface to waste and ruin. The rest of the humans are driven underground, while Darius Mason, grandson of Alec Mason, protagonist of the third game, must follow in his family’s footsteps and start a revolution, both against the very driven and heavily-armed cultists, and the hostile species indigenous to the caverns that Darius unwittingly opened…
Gameplay is much like the previous game in the series; although being underground and with a linear path, your way is set down much more clearly. You attack with the Maul, a powerful melee weapon styled after the Sledgehammer Alec wielded; as well as the standard shooter fare: assault rifle, shotgun, plasma cannon, and more. But two things set this game apart: the first is the Nano Forge. You see all the destruction around you? You can repair most of it with the glowing bracer on your left hand. This is required to progress through certain segments of the game as well as to get to all those salvage piles (salvage is, like in the previous game, used for currency for upgrades). The other major innovation is the Magnet Gun. A two-stage weapon nonetheless similar to the single-stage Gravity Gun present in various forms in various games, this lets you attach a beacon to one surface, and another to an object or enemy, thus pulling one into another! Great fun for smashing enemies together, and also for clearing paths and cutting off your enemies’ pursuit.
Multiplayer takes the form of Infestation, which consists of ever-strengthening waves of enemies coming at you, and you and your teammates must survive the onslaught as much as possible. And, Ruin mode allows you to enter free-form destruction areas, to compete against other players in getting the highest destruction rating.
All in all, an excellent title, and one I would highly recommend! Five out of five stars!