Red Faction Armageddon - Blow Sh*t Up!

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Red Faction Guerilla was no Citizen Kane. It was a fairly straightforward game that allowed players to embark upon mental destruction sprees leveling everything in sight. Was it a deep meaningful experience? Umm no. Did it provide hours of mindless entertainment? Hell yeah.

With Red Faction Armageddon (RFA), Developer Volition games have retained the ‘blow sh*t up’ vibe, only this time they’ve axed the open world experience for a more linear one. While this change in direction does hurt the game to a certain extent, Red Faction Armageddon is still one satisfying action game.

Mechwarrior in da house

Mechwarrior in da house

 

RFA takes place once again on Mars, nearly fifty years after its predecessor.  Players step into the boots of Darius Mason, the grandson of Alex Mason (Red Faction Guerilla’s protagonist) who’s somewhat of a multi faceted freelancer. He gets tricked into unleashing a horde of hostile creatures upon Mars and now must do whatever it takes to send them back to their holes. The game tries sporting a survival horror tag on its sleeve this time round but sadly it’s not scary at all. Unless you get freaked out by alien bugs and dimly lit corridors.

Destruction is no longer the game’s only USP. A new repair mechanic has been thrown into the mix as well thanks to a nifty little device strapped to your hand called the Nano Forge. This means you can repair - in a matter of seconds - all the structures that you break intentionally or otherwise adding a whole new dimension to gameplay. Unfortunately this becomes somewhat of a dual edged sword in narrow, cluttered buildings as you’ll be wasting a lot of time repairing stuff you destroyed only because you need that railing or ladder to progress forward.

Is it hot in here or just me?

Is it hot in here or just me?

 

Your enemies throughout the game mainly consist of ancient Martian creepy crawlies that are pretty generic in variety. You have your fast moving but relatively weaker grunts, the tougher but slower behemoths and the projectile spewing ones that can become a serious pain in the backside. Dispatching them however isn’t a problem thanks to your gratuitous arsenal of destruction. Besides the run-of-the-mill assault rifles, shotguns, pistols and rocket launchers, you’ll come across some pretty innovative weapons in the game, the most interesting one of which is obviously the Magnet Gun.

The magnet gun allows players to fire off two extremely powerful magnets one after the other on any surface in the game world. The magnetic force between the magnets pulls them towards each other no matter what they're stuck onto so you can tag a bug and a structure and watch either the bug get violently pulled toward the structure or the structure come crashing down upon the unsuspecting bug. In that respect I’d say RFA offers players a diverse way to tackle their enemies keeping gameplay fresh even though level design can get a bit repetitive at times.

But as much as I enjoyed slamming houses on bugs, I got the feeling that Volition had run out of steam towards the end. For the last hour or so I just kept getting pummeled with a non-stop barrage of spawning creatures making life a lot more tedious than intense. Being a linear game obviously means RFA’s significantly shorter than Red Faction Guerilla and on the Normal difficulty, I ran through the game in under seven hours. Still when you compare it to the five odd hour affairs most games today offer, this isn’t a bad deal.

Say hello to my rather big friend

Say hello to my rather big friend

 

Multiplayer in RFA has been axed in favor of a Horde mode called Infestation. In this mode up to four players team up to take on waves of enemies that progressively get tougher. If you can’t seem to find servers online (since there aren’t too many people this on the PC at least), you can always create a LAN server or if you’re especially lonely, tackle the mode all by yourself. All the Salvage you earn automatically gets transferred to the single player campaign and vice versa.

Besides Infestation, players can indulge in some wanton destruction through Ruin, a mode that lets players blow stuff up in a stipulated area. You can choose to destroy stuff at your own leisure or do it against a clock. Beat the required score and you’ll unlock newer Ruin maps.  Both these modes aren’t a substitute to full-fledged multiplayer but they are a ton of fun nevertheless.

Infestation can get real intesne

Infestation can get real intesne

 

Visually RFA won’t win any awards but then again it isn’t bad looking. Plus who has the time to sit and smell the roses when you’re crashing structures down or avoiding being eaten by Martian bugs. More importantly, the frame rates hold up just fine during the hectic segments (which would probably occur every five minutes) which is ace in my books. RFA is not a perfect game but like its predecessor it’s not meant for people looking for a story driven fix. If you like your bugs big, your action frantic and your destruction completely over-the-top, RFA is just what the doctor ordered.


Published Date: Jun 15, 2011 09:25 am | Updated Date: Jun 15, 2011 09:25 am