Red Faction: Armageddon Review
Red Faction: Armageddon takes a hard 180 degree turn from its predecessor, Red Faction: Guerrilla. It has gone from a big open world sandbox shooter to a very linear underworld (if you will) shooter. In place of that openness and the countless opportunities for completely wrecking everything in sight, Armageddon strips you of that feeling of freedom with most environments being a corridor crawl. There is still some destructibility to buildings in Armageddon, but mostly as a side note for when the games makes you take advantage of it in different places, almost directly getting in the way of you progressing forward in the game. There are some vehicle sequences over the course of the game hardly taking away from Armageddon’s repetitive, but fun third-person shooting.
In Armageddon you are playing as Darius Mason, a descendant of the protagonist in Red Faction: Guerrilla, Alec Mason. In this game instead of being up against an evil corporation like the Earth Defense Force, you are doing battle with giant space monsters that I have to say look a lot like the creature from the movie Outlander (haven’t seen it? Do so). Mason unwittingly releases these space bugs that quickly start taking over Mars behest of some insane cultist and plans for world domination. You then spend the rest of the game killing an endless number of these bugs sprinkled with the offing of some of these cultist baddies, as well. Outside of literally holding the sledgehammer from Guerrilla, the game does little to connect this game to its predecessor with some small references to the EDF. Aside from that, you could scratch the name off and tell someone it is a part of a franchise for any other game with crazy weapons and alien killing.
At the start of the game an environmental disaster pushes the planet’s population underground and thus the backdrop to the majority of your fighting. You will be killing the same monsters over and over in caves, tunnels and industrial complexes. The shooting feels great for the most part, at times better than Guerilla. After many hours of killing the same bugs it reveals how easy and predictable the enemies really are, taking away any feeling of being overwhelmed or scared. There is a small number of enemy types that you see the most often, which either scurry straight for you on the ground or jump around from wall to wall shooting at you. With careful observation you will see them doing the exact same thing repeatedly. Killing them is made even easier with the game play mechanic of locking on to them with a quick tap of a button.
Armageddon has some very creative weapons for your arsenal, one of which is the singularity launcher which shoots out a ball of energy that turns into a black hole, sucks in anything near it and then explodes with huge damage to everything in it and around it. Weapons like this and average ones like the rocket launcher are what you use for big time destruction, but with the enemy AI being so predictable and having them come at you in waves, I found myself mostly sticking to my assault rifle as a means to an end for any and almost all the space bugs. This made the huge arsenal of guns to play with useless and sitting back in my locker and never being used even once, something that never happened in Guerilla. Sure, I liked some weapons more than others, but in Guerilla I found a use for all the weapons and used them throughout the game.
There is not much of a multiplayer game for Armageddon, but there is an online mode called Infestation. This is simply a horde mode in which you and three other people run around different maps killing off all the space bugs and trying to survive. You earn money in each round of Infestation which can be used for upgrades for both this mode and for the single player campaign. It is also earned a lot faster in Infection than the single player, giving anyone a great excuse to take a break from the single player story and jumping into some mindless bug crushing.
At first I was having a hard time following the story of Armageddon, but finally I basically turned my brain off and enjoyed the mundane third-person shooter. After that I found myself really loving this game and not being able to put it down. Usually don’t care for mindless games, but I really enjoyed Guerilla and I really enjoyed Armageddon. This is a great game to help you get through the summer gaming drought.
Final Score: 4/5