Release Date: 6/7/2011
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The Red Faction series has been very rocky since the first game was released in 1998. Guerrilla revolutionized the series with a massive destruction engine that allowed you to destroy anything standing. Armageddon builds on this, but gives us new characters and a whole new enemy to fight, but this time under the surface of Mars. Darius Mason is the great-great-grandson of Alec Mason. You get a job to excavate some sort of artifact and awaken a whole race of Martian creatures. The story is pretty riveting and takes you on a wild ride on finally beating the Marauders as well as a long ancestral war. The characters are likable and are fleshed out really well, especially between Darius and his AI SAM that guides him through the game. Their bantering will sometimes make you laugh with some pretty witty dialog.
The heart of the game is the combat. The game isn’t an open-world like last time, but a guided linear adventure that is actually more suited for the series. You can destroy anything in your path by using a large explosion or magnet gun. Shoot at one point then link it to another and it will drag and pull apart anything in its path. You can even do this to enemies which is kind of amusing. The hammer is back, but pretty much useless since you are overwhelmed by a ton of enemies most of the time. The new Arsenal kicks ass with some pretty sweet weapons. The nano rifle returns and disintegrates anything in its path. There’s a black hole launcher that sucks anything nearby up and then explodes. Of course, there are the usual weapons like rifles, rocket launchers, and shotguns of various types, but the new weapons are very unique.
Most of the time you are blowing up various creatures of different sizes, but the game encourages finding strategies for each alien. This requires swapping out weapons all the time and finding which ones work in certain situations. You will come across points where you have to destroy spawn points, large tentacles, and behemoth aliens. It’s challenging but just enough to where you can actually finish the game without dying constantly. You always feel like you’re on the run and never safe for a second. The objectives vary and there are some really awesome vehicle sections in the game.
Using the walkers is awesome with certain sections slapping different weapons on the walkers as well as the spaceship section. These parts don’t last long, but you always look forward to them thanks to great controls and the feeling of finally being able to overpower the alien threat. You can upgrade yourself by finding scrap metal and there are a lot of upgrades. These range from health, weapon power, and your nano burst. The nano burst allows you to push enemies away, create a shield, and even make a shockwave to get out of tight situations.
One of the most unusual parts of Armageddon is being able to rebuild things you destroyed. You can rebuild anything that was blasted away and most of the objectives require using this to repair things. This can also be used in combat by rebuilding cover that broke away, so you get a ton of things at your disposal for combat. I never really got bored with the game because the action was constant and there are so many variables for combat. If I had to choose something bad about the combat I would say some of the environments are a little cramped, and there are times when you feel the enemies will just never stop coming. It is also little in variety besides the few levels with humans, but 90% of the time you will be fighting the same aliens over and over again.
Multiplayer is fun, but won’t last long due to the lack of people playing. There is a Ruin Mode which lets you just destroy things and a few other modes to let you continue using the awesome things Armageddon lets you have, so there is some replayability here. The visuals use DirectX10 and 11 if you can run it which adds a great visual quality over the consoles and DX9. I’m not sure why it uses 10 and 11, but the game does look pretty good in most areas. Overall Armageddon is the best (and sadly the last) Red Faction game so enjoy it while you can and get destroying!