The Red Faction series gained a new member recently with the release of Red Faction: Armageddon. But is it any good?
Well, this all got out of hand real quick
Homicidal amateur redecoration – or destroying buildings – is, of course, back. It wouldn’t be a Red Faction game otherwise. In addition to Guerilla’s magic building-vaporising hammer, the arsenal’s been expanded to include a Singularity Cannon (it fires explosive black holes! Don’t ask questions about the physics! Exploding Black Holes! Buy it now!) and a Magnet Gun.
The Magnet Gun is the reason for you playing this game at all. We'll admit we were very excited about this Magnet Gun. With it, you can rip the walls off buildings and smash them into your enemies – or smash your enemies into buildings. Or smash a building into a building and create a sort of bad guy jam in the middle. This must be what God feels like every single day.
Turns out being shot a bunch of times in the face is the aliens' weakness!
Destroyed too many things? Your nano-forge, mounted on your arm, can magically recreate them right in front of your eyes. (As long as they’re not explosive barrels. It doesn’t recreate those. Maybe it has an ulterior motive against explosives, it makes sense) Use it to create cover, ammo for your magnet gun, or – more commonly – to rebuild that bridge you were supposed to use to proceed before you mashed it against some baddies.
The multiplayer is great, we’re assured. Our copy didn’t have access, so we couldn’t check, but we hear it’s lots of fun and quite co-operative too.
Also Mr Toots is here. Mr Toots is a Unicorn from a “land of magic and wonder” who shoots rainbow lasers out of his arse. They destroy your enemies in a cascade of stars. It doesn’t make any sense, but we like him. Sue us.
Getting confused, Darius shoots an entire crossbow at an exploding tower
Armageddon is tremendously linear. Coming from Guerrilla, where you played a chirpy, loveable terrorist in an open-world oppressive state, you’re forced through cavern after cavern of orangey-red rocks that you can’t even destroy. Bad show.
Pretty soon the game devolves into a basic shooter with little charm – those destroyable buildings, when they are included, quite often have to be rebuilt so you can move through the level because your enemies have blocked your path. If we wanted to do urban renovation we’d have played Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, for God’s sake.
There are vehicle sections. They are very much sections, in that they are dramatically different from the rest of the game, and not even as good. You get a walker-style craft that fires lighting or a laser (which is also on fire), and a plane-like skimmer and Halo did it ten years ago and they did it better.
What's up with the gun design? It looks like the bastard child of Steampunk and Blade Runner, and not in the good way that combination implies
The plot is terrible, and the acting is on a par with the sort of movie they show at half ten on Movies 24 on Saturday night. The hero is white and gruff and wise-cracking? Check. The heroine is sassy and wears a low-cut top despite everyone around her being in full combat armour? Check. There’s a black sergeant who’s “tired of this shit?” Check.
Oh, and it’s aliens you’re killing now, not humans. Aliens who can jump really high, and walk on walls and ceilings, so it doesn’t matter if you destroy a building under them because they can just jump away.
Is it worth buying?
Look at that previous sentence: your enemies don’t care if you destroy a building underneath them. This is a serious problem in a game that, at its core, is about destroying buildings.
No, don’t buy this – go pick Guerrilla up instead. It's cheaper, it’s a much better-thought out game, the destruction of the world had permanence, and you got a fucking jetpack in it. A jetpack. Case closed.
Red Faction Armageddon is out now for PS3 and Xbox 360