Life on Mars has to be pretty hard. As Darius Mason you want to be left alone to live your own life, however, Adam Hale has other plans for you. After a series of events the surface of Mars becomes uninhabitable and you find yourself underground fighting against an enemy you never knew existed. That is the premise for Volition’s latest title, Red Faction Armageddon. Humanity is on the verge of being wiped out and you need to prevent that from happening. Along the way you will find these audio diaries that will give you a picture of how life used to be on Mars as well as some that will update you on the current situation. With Red Faction Armageddon the development team focused much more on a story than in previous iterations. What I mean by that is that Armageddon is a much more linear campaign which allowed the developers to concentrate on creating an action packed story. Fans of some of the other Red Faction titles might be disappointed to hear that the open world aspect was taken out for Armageddon however I think it worked out well. I enjoyed the story as I progressed through the campaign and there was definitely a lot of chaotic action. Since you spend a good part of the game underground the spaces are a lot more enclosed at times which makes the action a lot more chaotic. The environments vary from an underground city, ice caves, magma chambers and more.
As you progress through the campaign you will acquire Salvage, valuable scrap metal that serves as currency on Mars. You can use this to upgrade your character as well as the Nano Forge itself. The upgrades available include gaining more health for Darius, reloading your weapons quicker, reducing the recoil on your gun so you are more accurate and things of that nature. The Nano Forge, among other things, allows you to repair the environment if you so choose. If you have completely decimated a building then you can use the Nano Forge to kind of “rebuild it” and restore it to its condition before you arrived. The Nano Forge also has some other powers that you will find very useful such as the Shockwave, Impact, Berserk and Shell. Shockwave will suspend an enemy in an area effectively stunning them and damaging them over time. Impact will project a wave of force in front of you taking out (or at least damaging) any enemy in its path. Utilizing the Berserk power will greatly increase the damage you cause and Shell will project a force field that will stop incoming projectiles.
If you are the type of person that prefers multiplayer action then Infestation mode is for you. Infestation mode is similar to horde mode so if you have ever played that you know basically what to expect here. The thing that is different about Infestation mode is that you are forced to work as a team if you want to survive. A lot of titles make that claim however it is actually true in this instance. You can play this mode with up to three other friends with one of them being a smuggler, Red Faction soldier, Marauder or Frank Winters, also of Red Faction. Everyone will have their Nano Forge abilities and their various weapons. A co op scenario that I witnessed while playing was that one of my teammates hit a group of enemies with Shockwave, which briefly put the enemies in stasis. While the enemy was temporarily stunned and couldn’t do anything I would run over quickly and eliminate them before they could cause any more damage. You are also able to revive fallen allies and in the games I played everyone rushed over to help a fallen comrade as quick as they could. It seemed like we immediately gelled as a team and everyone held up their end of the bargain, so to speak. There weren’t any “lone wolves” in the group which made our group that much stronger and helped us to wipe out wave after wave of enemies. I’m sure there will be times when people try to go off by themselves but they won’t last very long and, hopefully, they will learn that it is better to stay with the team. There are thirty waves in Infestation Mode and all of the salvage points that you earn in multiplayer will transfer to your single player campaign and vice versa. If you have already beaten the campaign and have an upgraded character there are upgrade tiers in Infestation to level the playing field. It should also be noted that this is really the only true multiplayer in the game. There is no deathmatch or competitive multiplayer in general. There are definitely going to be some people that are disappointed with that, however, the package that Volition has put together works really well.
Another mode in the game is “Ruin” mode. This is the mode where you get to create as much havoc as you want. Within Ruin mode there is a “Challenge” mode and “Free Play”. Ruin mode features five different maps with “Junction,” “Desolation,” “Eviction,” “Abandoned” and “Frontier” respectively. When you first start up this mode you will only have access to the “Junction” map. To unlock the “Desolation” map you need to fulfill some objectives in “Junction”. Once you do that then “Desolation” will be unlocked and you do the same thing to unlock the other maps. You have to complete these objectives in Challenge mode which basically makes you reach a certain score within a 60 second time limit. The more destruction that you cause will result in you getting more points. If you can keep the destruction going continuously and chain it all together you will rack up some big points as well as combos and unlock the next map without any problems. If you just stand there and randomly shoot things you won’t get very far. The kind of weapon that you use will definitely play a factor as well. This mode is also where where Volition can really show off their GeoMod 2.0 technology. This is what allows you to destroy the environment and then rebuild it as you see fit…only to destroy it again. There is a pretty big selection of weapons that will help you get the job done from a plasma cannon, magnet gun, singularity cannon and more. The magnet gun was one of the more interesting weapons for me because of its destructive possibilities. The way the magnet gun works is that you shoot one object with a magnet and then you shoot another object with a secondary magnet. The first magnet will then go over to the second magnet destroying whatever is in its path. So, for example, I would shoot an enemy with the first magnet and then the ceiling of the cave with the second. What that did is slam the enemy into the roof of the cave and kill him in the process. I would also do that for buildings where I would attach the first magnet to an explosive object and then ram it into a water tower, effectively destroying the water tower and then just stand back and watch everything crumble. It’s a pretty fun weapon to use and it can have some really clever uses once you get the hang of it.
I enjoyed my time with Red Faction Armageddon. There will be some people disappointed with some of the changes that were made, however, in my opinion, it made for a really fun experience. I enjoyed going through the campaign and experimenting with all of the different weapons and destroying anything I wanted. I also enjoyed the strategic aspect because your enemy could destroy anything you can. You could be standing on a walkway and the enemy destroys it causing you to fall through. It adds another layer of complexity that most shooters don’t have. If you are a Red Faction fan than I definitely recommend that you try out this latest title. If you are new to the series than you should check out this title as well and experience how much fun it is blow stuff up…only to rebuild it and blow it up again! I would love to see this level of destructibility in other titles. Overall, Volition has made a fun and entertaining shooter and you can’t really ask for more than that.