Xbox 360 Review: Red Faction: Armageddon

Another Mason has to save Mars, but has he got the skills?

Red Faction: Armageddon is quite different from its predecessor of a free-roaming third-person shooter. Instead it has a linear plot, no multiplayer other than Infestation which is a Horde-like co-op mode and a Ruin mode where you get a minute to blow up everything in your path for a high score. So is this all a step in the right direction or not?

Well, it has its fine moments such as its destruction mechanics, which are very impressive. The story itself follows Darius Mason as Mars’ atmosphere becomes unbreathable thanks to the antics of Adam Hale. A few years later and the last human cities are breached by alien forces, no thanks to Darius who accidentally sets them loose. The story is average when compared to the last game, which is a shame…but small details like audio logs give extra insight into the plot for those who want to know more.

Mason can carry 4 weapons at anytime, but you can swap them around and choose when you come across a weapons locker. You can also upgrade your abilities and equipment with salvage you collect from boxes, destroyed objects and with one upgrade, for killing enemies. Each ability is pretty expensive, so be prepared to do a lot of searching for salvage. Mason can also repair objects such as walkways, bridges, stairs and generators to complete objectives.

Enemies include small aliens that jump around, medium size aliens that can cloak and hit you with a large laser blast and giant ones that can throw explosives at you. There are a few others in the mix, but these are the ones you’ll see most and they aren’t the easiest to defeat…especially on a harder difficulty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve died because I’ve just got caught up in the sheer number of enemies on screen at one time; there are perhaps too many in some sections.

Weapons vary from your typical assault rifles and pistols to plasma rifles that can charge shots to explode on impact and bring down entire structures with ease. If there’s one thing that Red Faction is famous for, it’s destruction and Armageddon has it in spades and it’s always seamless. The single player campaign will take about 9-12 hours to complete, but you can replay it with your upgrades and even certain cheats to earn more achievements for other difficulties and collecting more salvage and audio logs.

Infestation mode is your typical Horde mode where upto 4 players can tackle wave after wave of aliens on a number of maps. It’s pretty basic, but also quite enjoyable and rather difficult on the latter difficulties…although there’s no real reason to do them on that other than trying to give yourself a real challenge. Ruin mode gives you just a minute on maps to blow up everything in sight to get a high score, which unlocks more content for you. I was surprised to see that there are no achievements for this mode, which is a shame considering how fun it is. It would have been better to have score limit achievements instead of lazy ones like killing 5 enemies with one shockwave blast.

In terms of visuals, Red Faction: Armageddon is a mixed bag. The destruction engine is superb, but the character models are average and the levels aren’t the most detailed. Cutscenes are nice, although voice-acting is also fairly mixed. The soundtrack is decent, but forgettable while the sound effects for weapons are great, especially for the assault rifle.

The Verdict

Red Faction: Armageddon is a vast departure from Guerrilla, which is a weird thing considering how well it was received by critics and fans. But still, it has some genuinely fun moments….although the game is short-lived and once you’ve completed it, you’ll have very little reason to go back to it. It’s a blast, but only a temporary one.