Minor plot spoilers included
After playing this for the first time, I was left feeling somewhat impressed and at the same time disappointed. Like all games, it has its good points and it has its bad, and I shall go into further detail on these below. Where new additions have been brought forward, they replaced other aspects which were at times missed. It is set in 2170, 50 years after the events of Red Faction: Guerrilla
. You play as Darrius Mason, grandson of Guerrilla’s protagonist, Alec Mason. The game sees you on a mission to prevent the Cultists from destroying the Terra-former, the machine which gives Mars an Earth like atmosphere. Things don’t go to plan and all of the inhabitants of Mars are forced underground due to unpredictable storms. Years later, Darrius, whilst on a job destroys an old structure which broke a seal containing Martian creatures. This unleashes Armageddon onto the already suffering civilians and begins the race to survive.
The game is quite enjoyable and boasts a range of weaponry, from the simple things such as pistols and assault rifles, to the more complex and destructive, such as the charge launcher and the plasma thrower. After completing the game once, it even provides the wacky weapon known as Mr Toots, a unicorn with colourful, deadly gas. This range of weapons provides a decent choice into how you want to deal with the infestations. The controls for the most part operate smoothly enough, however sometimes it takes an extra attempt to sprint if it doesn’t recognise you clicking down the left stick. As far as enemies go, it has a wide range of creatures, each version with their own strengths and weaknesses.
You are also provided with a new feature called the Nano-Forge. This device allows you to repair broken structures, which sounds handy, especially if you are a strategist. However, the creatures mainly move around by jumping along the walls, meaning there is not too much call for setting up traps. The Nano-Forge also lets you use Nano powers such as Impact, a wave which blasts out from the device, knocking back enemies and knocking down walls. The storyline is interesting, and the events play out as you would expect in the circumstances. This is let down by the length of the game, which feels quite short even when done on Insane mode. Another let down is being underground. Whilst it fits into the story, it makes it a restrictive and linear experience, which could have been improved with a free roam option at the end of the campaign, like in Guerrilla, where you could be on the surface too.
Graphics and Audio
Graphically speaking, it has captured realism and mixed it with the sci-fi world of Red Faction. It is dark and gritty at the most of times to emphasis being underground. In some parts of the game it is pitch black and automatically uses a flashlight, which doesn’t offer the best view of where you are and what is coming. Volition took care to make sure this is a dark game to match the Armageddon feel that the game is meant to provide. The bleeding effect when you’re health is low does make things harder to see when you are trying to retreat long enough to heal. The voice acting is spot on, as are the creature’s howls, growls and screams. With the amount of cut scenes, it does feel more like a short CGI movie.
As stated at the beginning, Armageddon impressed me and disappointed me. This is because if you take Armageddon out of the Red Faction saga, it is a good solid game. But it follows from Guerrilla, which was a fun, open world experience, a feature which was missed. There is a lot of fighting, as expected of a Red Faction game and it does make you feel like it is an infestation of great proportions. Maybe in the future some DLC will allow players to experience life out in the Badlands or anywhere else on the surface. It is a linear game but at the same time, it just works. Once the game is completed it unlocks New Game + which carries over all your upgrades and weaponry plus what you unlock by completing it (looking at the gas movements of mass destruction). All in all, I give this game 7 out of 10. If it had been open-world then it would have probably improved it personally speaking.
The XBLA title, Red Faction: Battlegrounds
is stated to add 2000 Salvage, which is in-game currency, if you obtain rank 10, and rank 20 gives you the 'EDF Enforcer', a weapon from Guerrilla. As for the Commando & Recon Edition, aside from the special cover case, you recieve two codes. The first gives you the Commando pack which consists of the 'Commando Uniform', 'Plasma Thrower' and 'Dual Laser Pistols'. The Recon pack provides 'Recon Uniform', 'Arc Welder' and 'The XNG-5000'.