By Craig Blumenthal
So here I was about to play a game completely out of genre for me, to say I am comfortable with shooters is about the same as saying ice-cubes are comfortable with bonfires, but wow was I surprised. I’m going to ruin the suspense of the review right in the first paragraph: Red Faction Armageddon is an awesome game.
In RFA you play as Darius Mason, the grandson of the former heroes Alec Mason and Samanya. As Darius you find yourself being a part of the Red Faction army during a War with the Marauders. After things go horribly awry Darius finds himself working as a mercenary-cum-scavenging handy-man doing all the difficult work around the underground human settlement of Bastion. Darius is tricked during one of these jobs and sets loose a long dormant evil, unleashing Armageddon (clever hey?) upon the citizens of Mars Marauder and Colonist alike and so begins our story…
Being my first experience of a Red Faction game (shameful I know, and I’ll get to rectifying this situation immediately), I approached RFA with the open mind of a young child exploring the world for the first time (and finding a lot of things that go boom along with screaming, blood, guts, and gore). My only negative in the first 10 or so hours of playing is that the initial loading time is fairly long, aside from that small glitch this game is smooth enough to ice-skate uphill.
The learning curve in RFA isn’t steep at all and while a novice such as me might find that incredibly refreshing, I could imagine that the more hardcore shooter fans may find this a bit disappointing. Of notable relief was the L1 quick aim button which essentially locks on to your nearest target allowing you to unleash proverbial hell!
Probably the shining feature of RFA is your method of unleashing said hell. The array of guns and weaponry in the game is simply fantastic! Never have I seen such a wide and interesting armoury in a shooter with the shining beacons being the very fun magnet gun and the high end singularity cannon.
The magnet gun is easily the most versatile weapon in the game and I found it indispensable on my adventures. The subtlety of it is its inherent beauty. The magnet gun opens up a crazy range of options from easily tearing down buildings (ammo free) to throwing aliens around or into each other to fetching that out of reach salvage without the need to a long walk, this gun is just out of this world. The singularity cannon is simply a beacon of bloodthirsty joy. This fun little toy fires out what essentially amounts to a small black hole which sucks in and destroys any matter around it; tremendously destructive and fantastically fun.
Of course along the way there are many, many (did I mention many) fun toys to play with from the plasma cannon and beam, to various handguns, shotguns and charge launchers. Around the midpoint of the game however a lot of the new toys become rather repetitive ways of doing the same thing and you find yourself sticking to the weapons you are most comfortable with since you can only carry 4 at any given time.
Armageddon has been nearly universally derided for its third person antics, but I found it lends itself far greater towards character and story development in my opinion than a first person perspective would have.