Graphics:
7.9
Gameplay:
8.0
Sound:
7.7
Control:
8.0
Replay Value:
7.6
Online Gameplay:
7.5
Overall Rating:
7.8
Publisher:
THQ
Developer:
Volition
Number Of Players:
1-8
Genre:
Genre


The original Red Faction was one of my favorite games of the early PS2 generation. Sadly, I watched as the franchise proceeded to go downhill and although the recent Red Faction: Guerilla was a great game, it didn’t quite suit my tastes. In my heart of hearts, I keep thinking Red Faction should be more linear; a story-driven campaign with a lot of shifting environments, terrifying enemies, and cool situations. This is why I was excited for Armageddon , which returns to the franchise’s roots and puts you in the alien-infested underground tunnels of Mars. Now, while the final result isn’t spectacular, I have to stress one element: the fun factor.

But before I explain, let’s tackle the graphics. This series has always featured a lot of dark, often even muddy visual displays, and the texture refinement has been limited at best. But the latest Volition effort takes a step in the right direction, as the special effects are impressive, the animations are smooth, and the enemy and character design is decent. The only downside involves the repetitiveness of the environments; those tunnels just start to look far too similar to each other, and as a side note, some of the destruction isn’t perfectly sound from a technical standpoint. You may get bored of the presentation but the overall display is enough to keep you interested.

The sound is good, too, but my biggest gripe centers on the weapons, which just don’t have enough “bang” to keep up with the chaotic mayhem. It’s unusual that I find the weapon audio to be less than stimulating, so I was actually surprised at this lacking. But the rest of the sound excels in a variety of areas, including voice acting (which, in truth, was another surprise) and the soundtrack. The music really fits into the hectic atmosphere well and the balancing between effects, voices, and soundtrack is solid. Some of the special effects may lack a little audio power, but for the most part, Armageddon sounds exactly as it should: nutty.

That’s really the operative word here: nutty. I could start by saying you play as Darius Mason (grandson of Guerrilla protagonist Alec Mason), and that your goal is to survive a deadly alien outbreak on – and under – Mars. That would be a pretty standard way to start the gameplay and presentation coverage. But you know, unfortunately, the story is just plain boring and isn’t well depicted in regards to pacing and writing, so I really don’t care much about the plot. And neither should you, really. I’d rather focus on the chaos that reigns directly from the start of your adventure; you first take a plasma cannon and puts a gaping hole in a building…and that’s the first thing you do. Such a great start.

It just never lets up. Creating havoc is obviously what Mason does best, so why not just let him go? He’s got a sick melee attack (yeah, the sledgehammer is back) and the assortment of futuristic weaponry is just a joy; everything from the Enforcer (tracking assault rifle) to the Pulse Grenade to the Charge Launcher puts serious power in your hands. And let’s not forget Mr. Toots…a unicorn that farts on enemies and melts them. No, I didn’t make that up. How could I? Furthermore, let’s not forget that almost anything you see can be destroyed; well, anything made by humans, at any rate. Using the environment to defeat your enemies is half the fun.

Plus, you have various powers that have cool-down periods – very RPG-like – and that includes a helpful shield and a force push that can send various structures crashing to the ground. These powers are upgradeable and when combined with that diverse and always entertaining arsenal, you’re a match for the nastiest beasts Mars can throw at you. And then there’s another nifty feature- in addition to wrecking sh**, you can also build stuff. It’s called reconstruction and lets you re-erect a structure you had previously demolished. At first, it seemed a little superfluous but this ability proved immensely helpful in certain tricky situations. On top of which, you never have to worry about blowing up a pathway you may need.

The control is smooth and reliable and although I have a few small reservations concerning the camera and collision detection, the game remains a blast to play. The only problem is the repetition, which sort of gets to you after a few hours. Despite all the insanity going on around you, the game quickly begins to feel like more of the same ‘ol same ol,’ and that brings things down a peg. And when you factor in the lackluster story and forgettable characters, you soon realize you’re playing for the sake of destruction. That’s not bad for a while but eventually, I think it will wear on you. Still, I would never tire of the magnet gun, which can be used to kill enemies and eradicate the environment in a million awesome ways.

Because of that repetition, the online play sort of takes a hit because then it’s even more obvious. I liked Infestation most (four-player online co-op) but Ruin got old fast; it’s basically just Deathmatch and in general, it’s not something that will hook a lot of multiplayer fanatics. This isn’t good news, either, because the campaign will be over in maybe 7 or 8 hours. That’s an acceptable time by today’s standards but considering the competition – like inFamous 2 – this one really needed more longevity. The vehicle segments in the single-player quest feel a little tacked on, the control isn’t always perfect, the repetition is clear, and the story is “meh.”

That all being said, I have to reiterate: Red Faction: Armageddon is loads of fun. There’s a great deal of ingenuity here, and the power we feel wandering about is almost unparalleled in third-person shooters. The package really is quite solid and well worth a look…provided you’re done playing the elite AAA titles out there.

The Good: Good soundtrack and voice performances. Hectic, chaotic gameplay is a blast. Control is mostly smooth and reliable. Weapons, abilities and destructive environment are highlights.

The Bad: Technical elements aren’t superb. Story and characters are boring. The repetition kicks in too early. Online play feels a little bland.

The Ugly: “…I think I’ve seen this tunnel somewhere before.”

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Claire C
Claire C
10 years ago

I played the demo and honestly I expected a much lower score. Like 6. 😛

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Several major sources scored it higher than I did.

Claire C
Claire C
10 years ago

And lower as well. Hee hee =)

Qubex
Qubex
10 years ago

The demo was "ok". I wasn't overly impressed. Destructibility is good though, some clever stuff going on there… If I had to pick a 3rd person game now, it would probably Mass Effect 2 rather than this, even though they are quite different games.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
10 years ago

Though fun, I just don't get the same enjoyment out of this one as I did with Guerrilla.

godsdream
godsdream
10 years ago

Anyone knows if this game has a long single player campaign?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

About 8 or 9 hours. It's in the review.

somethingrandom
somethingrandom
10 years ago

You said Infamous 2 is much longer, but I can't say I believe it. I bought it yesterday and beat it today. That includes getting all the blast shards and all but one dead drop (I searched everywhere it's really irking me). I also have a couple powers left to buy I guess. In a while I may play as evil to try the other powers.


Last edited by somethingrandom on 6/10/2011 1:19:41 AM

godsdream
godsdream
10 years ago

Oh sorry, I read all of the review but I didn't remembered seeing the time.

Lairfan
Lairfan
9 years ago

somethingrandom, you must have played it for a whole day without taking a break. Plus, you have to take beating both campaigns into account when saying you beat it, and you clearly said you hadn't beat the evil campaign yet.


Last edited by Lairfan on 8/29/2011 6:18:49 PM

Fane1024
Fane1024
10 years ago

From what I've seen (admittedly not much), the horrible screen tearing is back. That's enough to make it a "pass" for me, just like Guerrilla. I don't see how anyone can stand to play a game when the visuals are that f'd up.

It's like having broken glass raked across your eyes.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 6/10/2011 2:22:52 AM

___________
___________
10 years ago

meh.
been really disappointed by this, after guerrilla i had such high expectations for it!
this just feels rushed, and unfinished.
wish they would go back to guerrillas open world feel, and of course keep the magnet gun.
is sooooooooooooooooo cool that thing!
nothings more fun then marking a explosive barrel, then sending said explosive barrel flying towards a enemy!
waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa BOOM!

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Yes Guerilla was a lot of fun indeed.
However, at the same time it's quite possibly also the most repetitive game I've played ever.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/10/2011 4:31:58 AM

Godslim
Godslim
10 years ago

the demo was ok i feel they could have added to the scare factor but the rebuilding and destruction are really cool

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
10 years ago

Darius Mason: "That could have gone better"

SolidFantasy
SolidFantasy
10 years ago

Thanks Ben. I was considering this a D1P when I first heard of it a year or so back. But 2011 started shaping up to be an epic year of games this one is getting pushed back. I might get it for Christmas. Destruction and awesome weapons last a long time in my book of entertainment.

BeezleDrop
BeezleDrop
10 years ago

Solid review, I actually really enjoyed the demo. Probably one of the few, definitely plan on picking this one up somewhere down the line, RF:G is actually pretty fun and I need to beat it!

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