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By Hanleigh Daniels 11 July 2011

0
Destructible environments + innovative weapons = :-)
8.0    Gameplay
7.5    Story
8.0    Presentation
7.0    Lasting appeal
3.5

Picking up where THQ’s Red Faction: Guerrilla left off, Red Faction: Armageddon drops the open-world mechanics of its predecessor in lieu of some very linear, but explosive fun. The game’s destructible environments plus its assortment of innovative weapons equates to a very entertaining third-person shooter experience.

Story

The story takes place half a century after the events of the last game, which saw the Red Faction resistance and their Marauder allies freeing Mars from the brutal Earth Defense Force.  As with most sequels, the new game’s call to arms is a result of the peaceful harmony once again coming under threat. A huge Terraformer, supplying the red planet with its Earth-like climate, is destroyed, meaning the citizenry now have to contend with a spot of bad weather the likes of super-tornadoes and lightning storms. In order to survive, the Colonists escape the hazardous surface of the planet to the safe confines of a network of habitable caves constructed in the planet’s underground mines.

Skip forward five years and you assume the role of Darius Mason, grandson of the Martian Revolution heroes from the last game - Alec Mason and Samanya. He is in no hurry to emulate the heroic feats of his grandparents, rather opting to operate his own business doing mining, scavenging, and mercenary work.
 

Some people are born great whilst other have greatness thrust upon them, which is certainly the case with Darius. He is tricked into reopening a mysterious shaft in an ancient Marauder temple, which unfortunately doesn’t lead to Ashton Kutcher jumping out from behind a pillar shouting you’ve been punk’d.

Instead he awakens a slumbering evil Alien race, who are pretty upset about having been awoken from their beauty sleep, and consequently takes revenge upon the nearby human settlements. This provides Darius with the opportunity to fill the heroic-sized boots of his grandparents and save the people - all presented via dramatic and well animated cut scenes (video posted below).

Innovative weaponry

Complementing the usual suspects of pistols, plasma beams, plasma cannons and rocket launchers are a bunch of innovative weapons. These include the Nano rifle, which shoots bursts of nanites (nanobots suffering from a bad case of the munchies), and the singularity canon. The latter basically fires a blackhole (although it’s more purple than black), that sucks in your foes and then explodes.  

Also included amongst these weapons is our personal favourite, the Magnet Gun. It shoots a magnet into an enemy and then a second into almost any structure, object or enemy. Then you simply watch as the magnetic force pulls the two together, causing them to collide and explode.

You get to unload the fury of this creative arsenal against a variety of foes ranging from run-of-the-mill cultist warriors through to countless hordes of their alien counterparts (known as creepers). Fighting will take place on a variety of places such as the open planes of Mars’ surface and within the claustrophobia-inducing cave system of the underground mines. Besides the weaponry, you must also utilise your skills and abilities to make your way through the game. Collecting salvage, the game’s currency, will allow you to upgrade Darius’ skills and abilities. For instance you can purchase an upgraded dodge ability which makes it harder for enemies to target you whilst you are dodging.
 
 
Destructible mayhem

Adding to the destructive mayhem of the weapons and abilities is the destructible environments brought about by developer Volition’s Geo-Mod 2.0 engine. As in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, you can allow that little boy inside you to give in to his destructive tendencies. This environmental element can be employed as an advantage, as you are able to blow up explosive barrels to take out multiple enemy targets at once or employ the magnet gun to send a wall or pillar flying their way.

Leading you on your journey is a sensually-voiced virtual companion by the name of SAM (Situational Awareness Module). This GPS/enemy radar/angel on your shoulder will provide you with info and tips throughout the game such as where to go, what to do and how to get it done. ‘She’ will also inform you as to when certain abilities become available to you. This includes impact, a strong kinetic force that assist you in destroying structures that block your way forward, and nano forge. The latter enables you to make repairs to- and rebuild damaged structures the likes of barrels that serve as protection from enemy fire.

As in many games that utilise destructible environments, you can destroy a bridge filled with scampering enemy soldiers. But unlike those other games, you can employ nano forge within Red Faction: Armageddon to rebuild that very structure and use it to make your way to the next area, before destroying it again just because you can.
 

Final word

Red Faction: Armageddon features some innovative weapons, captivating (even if it isn’t really as creative as some of the weapon choices) story and plenty of entertainment via its destructible environments. If you are looking for an enjoyable story-driven game, or just want to blow stuff up, this might be just up your alley. The game is available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 as well as the PC. The PS3 version goes for a recommended retail price of R599.

Pro:

Variety of awesome weapons and destructible environments.  

Con:

Not open world like the first game, same-old same-old in terms of storyline.
 
PROS
Variety of awesome weapons and destructible environments.
CONS
Not open world like the first game, same-old same-old in terms of storyline.
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