Following on from 2009’s Guerrilla, the latest Red Faction title makes an interesting step by going back to the classic linear format rather than its predecessor’s sandbox approach. This might be what long-term Red Faction fans are used to, but is this the game they have been waiting for?
Sadly, probably not.
Armageddon isn’t a terrible game, but apart from its fantastic destruction physics which have always set the series apart, it simply doesn’t have a great deal going for it. While it has an excellent opening in a massive battle on the surface of Mars, the story then takes Darius – the latest soldier in the Mason family – deep underground where Red Faction find an enemy more dangerous than ever before; a insect species able to tear apart any human explorers unfortunate enough to venture deep enough.
It’s almost like a cross between Gears of War and Starship Troopers and, unfortunately, it really doesn’t manage to be much more original than simply that.
The plot is fairly flat and predictable, voice acting is acceptable at best and it’s also surprisingly short – I was shocked to see after my first quick sitting with the game I had beaten 20% of the story mode.
Armageddon’s gameplay follows the basic rules of a third person shooter, minus a cover system, but what most will be buying a Red Faction game for is the destruction, and there’s no disappointment here.
Buildings, pillars, barricades and vehicles will smash and crumble in a beautifully satisfying fashion as you blast them with various weapons designed for exactly that purpose, and the game’s Geo-Mod 2.5 engine runs effortlessly at a blisteringly high framerate.
However, unlike Guerrilla’s open world allowing for carefree destruction wherever you wish, the linearity and the underground, cave environments simply don’t offer as much experimentation.
Once the brief story mode is complete, Armageddon offers a couple of other game modes, but if you’ve struggled to remain interested up to that point, they won’t change your mind. It’s a sad thing to see – the series had picked up on a great idea with Guerrilla, and in discontinuing it for the sake of nostalgia, the plot seems to have been lost altogether.