The Red Faction franchise occupies an odd spot in the pantheon of first-person shooters (FPS). It’s never quite reached the heights of Halo or Call Of Duty. It’s never sunken so low as to keep company with bottom-barrel shooters such as Quantum Theory or Shadow Harvest either. Red Faction games always boast above-average production values, interesting gameplay and are generally worth playing, even if the formula keeps getting a bit more stale with each new release.
The previous installment, Red Faction: Guerilla, was easily the best entry in the Mars-set franchise, combining truly decent shooting, missions, and characters with the interesting addition of open-world gameplay similar to that of a modest Grand Theft Auto entry. As usual, it also provided Red Faction‘s constant calling card: Its physics-based, destructible environment mechanic.
One thing that hasn’t remained constant is the overall quality of each successive game in the series. The 2001 original boasted the at-the-time revolutionary destructible environment gameplay as its principal selling point, and was a decent midrange shooter to boot. The 2002 sequel rested on its laurels and was righteously lambasted for a short single-player campaign, middling level design, and a disappointing lack of multiplayer options. Tellingly, it took game developer Volition, Inc. a full six years before releasing the franchise high point that was 2009’s Red Faction: Guerilla.
Now it’s 2011. Can Red Faction produce another stellar entry in the series before the impending 2012 Mayan apocalypse devours us all? Oh yeah, we’re all going to die next year. So, if any female readers feel the need to make one of their last acts on Earth a passionate night of lovemaking with your faithful yet lonely reviewer, that’s a heavy burden I’m willing to carry. I have Rocky Road ice cream and a DVD of Twilight and I’m not afraid to use them. Volunteers? Ladies?
Oh, you ungrateful wretches…
Fine. Enjoy your review of Red Faction: Armageddon, which I slaved over all evening, just for you.
Where’s my damn Häagen-Dazs… I need to shed some ultra-manly man tears.
Occurring 50 years after Guerilla, Armageddon concerns itself with the journey of one Darius Mason, grandson to the previous game’s protagonist. In the intervening years between games, Grandpa Mason has become a Martian cultural icon, legendary for his many acts of heroism and for his contributions toward making the planet Mars a free colony. Grandson Darius is not following in his ancestor’s illustrious footsteps, instead becoming the Paris Hilton of the Mason clan: famous only for being famous. General opinion is that the apple has indeed fallen far from the tree, rolled down the hill and got itself stuck in a gopher hole filled with nothing but pure concentrated wussy. Yep, it’s safe to say that most hard-working colonists think that poor Darius is worth less than the price of a three-breasted Martian hooker.
Luckily, events soon occur that will either turn Darius into a worthy successor to his grandfather’s legacy… or into an alien chew-toy. You see, unlike previous Red Faction games, which featured mostly human adversaries or faceless corporations, Armageddon throws away the societal critique of its forebears and focuses on a good-old humans versus aliens conflict. Following an encounter with an extra-special-nutty cult leader, a long-dormant race of creatures, perhaps the red planet’s original inhabitants, are awoken after a millennium-long slumber. As is usually the case with these things, their first act isn’t to catch up on all those episodes of Desperate Housewives they missed while sleeping the centuries away. Nope, like all good menaces, the aliens get straight to the killing.
It’s up to Darius and the usual collection of sci-fi clichés to put a stop to the grumpy horde. Along the way you’ll encounter the odd bit of romance, the inevitable rivalry from fellow Martians who think Darius caused the whole situation to begin with, all the while making these alien bastards regret they didn’t set their alarm clocks to ring sometime in the next millennium.
The story is typical shooter fare, neither deep enough to win any awards for originality or shallow enough to make you want to go play something else. You’ll see the twists coming before they happen and you can pretty much guess at entire bits of dialogue even before the characters open their mouths. It’s a first-person shooter, the story’s job is to get you from point A to point B with a minimum of fuss; it was never going to be Shakespeare.
Read about the gameplay, graphics and verdict on the next page…
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Published by:
- Developed by:
- Year Released:
- June 7, 2011
- Also Available On:
- PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Official URL:
- Red Faction: Armageddon