Red Faction: Armageddon Preview

red faction armageddon

All the Martian building demolition and mech suits are back in Red Faction: Armageddon, but after two generations since the liberation of Mars, the Mason family fights a new, more terrifying foe. The hands-off demo at the THQ Booth on the E3 floor offered a quick glimpse at the campaign, following Darius Mason (grandson of Guerrilla protagonist) as he fights the infection plaguing the underground society of humans on Mars who can no longer inhabit the surface. The caves and tunnels look and feel expansive, and provide the perfect setting for fighting a "Flood-like" foe emerging from the depths of the rock on Mars.

The real concern here is linearity. While the demo did show a very fluid, interactive mission, the nature of being funneled forward by not only objectives but the tunnels themselves felt claustrophobic compared to the vast open-world offered by Red Faction: Guerrilla. It’s entirely possible that a more expansive world may be exposed in the following year, but as of yet, THQ was unable to comment on the scope of the gameplay or its sandbox (or non-sandbox) nature. It was noted that a few trips to the surface would provide some wider, more expansive environments, but that a lot of the action would be taking place underground. It’s also clear that in this subterranean world, vehicles are still available to drive (though that was not part of the demo) and that a civilian society persists throughout, despite the spread of what was simply referred to as "the infection."

In the demo, Darius Mason was tasked with clearing a route for a convoy, and of course the route had experienced some "anomalies" a few days prior. Upon arrival, Darius finds a few bodies trapped in wire mesh walls and building covered in plant-like vines and tentacles. It’s his objective to eliminate these buildings, which function as bases for the infection (and the objective that promotes wanton destruction as needed), but a fair amount of gameplay is also dedicated to combat with the infected creatures. They come in spider-like and human-size forms, at least in the demo, and can be taken out using conventional weaponry like machine guns or rocket launchers. But that’s not nearly enough fun.

The Magnet Gun and L.E.O Exo-Suit are truly where Red Faction: Armageddon shines, especially with the addition of the multi-function Nano-Forge arm piece. If you had any doubt, the Magnet Gun deals just as much damage as it promises. Simply point at one object and click the trigger, than point to anything else and the first object is flung forcefully at the second. While this can be used effectively to tear down structures, it looked entirely more fun as a mode of combat. Targeting any enemy as the second point of magnet contact flings chunks of debris barreling at enemies, knocking them clear out of the way and often into each other. The L.E.O. Exo-Suit (available to be tried on in the THQ Booth) is similar to the mechs of Guerrilla, though a little more agile and more customizable. No big surprises here, just lots of killing power and lots of destruction. The Nano-Forge arm piece is interesting, however, as it does the exact opposite of what its predecessor did best — that is, the new Nano-Forge arm piece repairs instead of completely destroying objects. If Darius is looking for cover, he can blow a giant hole in a crate, crawl inside, and then repair the crate from the inside to shield himself for a few seconds. The arm piece was also said to have additional functions, though those weren’t demoed at the show.

Armageddon looks like a worthy successor to the sleeper, open-world hit, Red Faction: Guerrilla, but issues of possible linearity may hold it back. Assuming the game provides independence and a more sandbox-like approach than that of the demoed mission, this title is right on target to be a big hit come 2011.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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