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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Action / Shooter

 

Publisher

THQ

 

Developer

Volition

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

June 7, 2011

 

 

- High quality graphics
- Ruin and Infestation Modes are a blast
- Great art style

 

 

- Middling single player gameplay
- Atrocious writing
- Uninspiring voicework and music

 

 

Review: Red Faction: Armageddon (360)

Review: Duke Nukem Forever (360)

Review: Homefront (PS3)

 

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Red Faction: Armageddon

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

red faction armageddon          red faction armageddon

 

As a reviewer, one comes across games that are uniformly good or uniformly bad. Sometimes, we're stuck with a game that plays badly right up until a crucial moment which seems to throw a switch, making for a transcendent gaming experience. And sometimes, we play a game which goes along great, then cold bloodedly betrays us (as players), destroying all the goodwill and pleasure we've built up in a single moment of searing outrage. It is in this lattermost category that I

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must consign Red Faction: Armageddon. There's a lot to enjoy about the game, to be sure. And gamers who are interested predominantly in multiplayer will have plenty to keep them busy. But the single player campaign destroyed my ability to enjoy it, and it did so with a single stupid careless act.

 

There's very little to complain about from the visual perspective. RF:A

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looks very nicely polished, easily up there with Gears of War, and on a PC with a good video card it all shines brightly. There was little to no clipping that I could discern. Texture cracking was non-existent. The art team should be commended for their special effects work. This is an excellent looking game, literally. I particularly enjoyed the art style, from the rough industrial look of the Red Faction itself to the insectoid style favored by the Marauders and the enemy cultists. The mech designs had a lot of heft to them visually speaking and did a lot to help sell the sense of being in a future society not based on Earth. Even the silly stuff like Mr. Toots, the shiny farting unicorn weapon and alternate game modes like Ruin, looks good.

 

In terms of gameplay, RF:A is a serviceable Gears of War clone. From a third person perspective, you play as Darius Mason, the latest scion from a long line of Martian heroes, initially an engineer with the Red Faction who fails to protect the terraforming station giving Mars a wholly breathable atmosphere. Disgraced and kicked out of the service, we catch up with him working freelance jobs as a surveyor and salvager. The crazed cultist Adam Hale, who wrecked the terraforming station, uses Mason to unleash an alien swarm on the tunnels and caverns of Mars, threatening the human population with extinction. Like any good hero, heís going to take the threat on single-handedly, and with an impressive array of firepower. From assault rifles to matched pistols to building wreckers like plasma beams and the rather interesting magnet gun, youíve got plenty of tools at your disposal for blowing big holes in the enemy. Youíre limited to four weapons at any one time, so generally a good mix of small arms with on e heavy weapon will keep you alive.

 

red faction armageddon          red faction armageddon

 

The buildings are destructible and several segments in the game require you to level structures as a mission objective. Other objectives may require you to repair or rebuild a structure, hence the characterís constant tool, the nano forge. With it, you can rebuild walls, barriers for cover, weapon stations, upgrade stations, bridges, just about anything thatís broken. Except, of course, the glaring plot hole in the storyline.

 

Normally, I donít include spoilers in my reviews, but this is a special occasion. This is one time where it doesnít matter whether you spoil it or not, the game is fundamentally wasted because of the plot hole. When the game starts, you have the nano forge. Youíre given a repair objective mostly to demonstrate how it works. However, at the end of the first chapter, when the cultists blow up the terraforming station, thatís the end of the chapter. From there, you skip ahead to a year or two in the future. At the time, I kinda wondered why you didnít just use the nano forge to repair what had been destroyed. Instead, Iím running through the Martian underground, blasting bugs left and right, until itís revealed that the only thing which will permanently destroy the bugs isÖan Earth-like atmosphere. The sort of atmosphere which is generated through a terraforming station. The sort of terraforming station you could have repaired years ago and pre-empted the whole goddamned fiasco! In that moment, the b asic hollowness of this game finally broke through. All the time spent up to that point rendered essentially meaningless. I had a revelation of how cool this game really could have been, the myriad ways that it might have become a serious contender for Game of The Year, and how the developers pissed away that potential. There could have been elements of strategy, maps and missions broken up into zones of control where you as the player could have had the power to choose which faction to help in order to secure control. There could have been elements of RPGs, each faction offering you unique powers and equipment. You could have been the savior of Mars or the destroyer of mankind. This could have been a seriously awesome game. Instead, we get a clone that blows its own legs off with a clichťd storyline that ignores the internal logic of itís own world. However much fun you have trashing buildings in Ruin Mode (and it is a lot of fun, donít get me wrong), however much tension and nerve-wracking gunplay y ou endure in the Infestation survival mode, none of that can make up for the atrocity of the single player campaign.

 

Good developers can make bad games. They might have the best of intentions, they might have only the highest aspirations, but once itís in the world, those intentions and aspirations are meaningless if the game appears to bungle itís purpose. The hell of it is that I was enjoying Red Faction: Armageddon right up to that one spot. I canít think of a game in recent memory that so thoroughly screws up, so profoundly ruins the experience, in such a short time after such a long effort.

 

- Axel Cushing

(July 15, 2011)

 

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