Red Faction: Armageddon Infestation Mode Hands-On Preview

Red Faction: Armageddon

Red Faction: Armageddon is a departure from previous games in the franchise in a number of ways. Not only is the single-player campaign more linear and carefully directed, with a greater emphasis on its central narrative, but this fourth entry in the series also brings to the table a brand new multiplayer component that is fast-paced and entertaining, even if it is not very robust in comparison to modern multiplayer offerings.

At a special unveiling this week in San Francisco, THQ allowed members of the press an opportunity to sample Infestation mode for the first time, along with an extensive play session with the single-player campaign (see our upcoming preview) and another look at the previously shown Ruin mode. While the new game type doesn’t do much to innovate beyond what many gamers have already grown accustomed to, we certainly had a lot of fun blasting aliens!

Red Faction: Armageddon

Infestation mode is not a standard deathmatch, nor is it a competitive multiplayer experience at all; it is essentially a horde mode or (for Call of Duty fans) something analogous to zombie mode, pitting a team of up to four players against wave after wave of Red Faction’s brand of Martians, the goal being to survive through all 30 levels while killing everything in sight. Another available objective is to defend a number of target structures as the aliens attack. Considering the extent of the game’s physics and environmental destructibility, managing offense and defense to accomplish this objective looks to play an important role.

Play can become very frantic, with the environment approaching visual overload, especially as the team makes its way through the progressively more difficult waves. This characteristic of Infestation mode is a large part of the game’s appeal; dealing with the constant onslaught is very exciting. Upgrades and Nano Forge abilities unlocked via the game’s single-player campaign will all carry over into the multiplayer game, and vice versa, eliminating the need for players to feel as though they are retreading ground by earning the same rewards twice. It also means that a variety of crazy things will likely be going on at any given moment, from normal fire, to the many differing alien attacks, to what are essentially a diverse set of telekinetic powers in the Nano abilities. The visual and audio effects on display as part of the Infestation experience drive home that sense of frenzy. In an attempt to further challenge players, The development team has included a number of darkened levels, where players’ equipped flashlights serve as the primary source of light.

Red Faction: Armageddon

Playing Infestation certainly provides a degree of mindless fun, and working together with teammates (mostly to revive one another) is all well and good, but the game type doesn’t do much more than that. There is some side fiction that developer Volition says will fill in gaps from the main story, and there are four different characters to play as, but gameplay is the same for each of them, there is little customization to matches, and the extent of stat tracking is limited to number of kills, deaths, and teammate rescues. You’ll never know from the wave-ending tallies who took down that hulking Berserker that wreaked havoc on the team, because that kill counts exactly the same as the one-shotgun-blast creepy-crawlies that litter the arena. In an era of online multiplayer that includes such extensive systems at Halo’s Forge and other deeply customizable play experiences, this all makes Red Faction: Armageddon‘s Infestation Mode feels very light on features.

Still, the experience is an enjoyable one for quick and dirty sessions with all of the game’s upgrades, abilities, and weapons, including the much-touted magnet gun, which can quite literally change the battle landscape. It’s a welcome addition to Red Faction, for sure, and come May 31st, it’ll be us versus them.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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