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Red Faction: Armageddon Preview

by on March 22, 2011
 

On Monday the 7th of March in a swanky 5 star hotel in central London, members of the press were invited to get some hands-on experience with the upcoming Volition & THQ title, Red Faction: Armageddon. The GodisaGeek team was, of course, there and we’re here to give you the lowdown on the single player experience that the title has to offer.

Should you be excited about Red Faction: Armageddon? Should you care? Read on to find out.

The first thing that strikes you upon sitting down to play, is how different Armageddon is to its predecessor, Red Faction Guerrilla. The “open-world” tropes appear to have vanished, with the title shifting it’s focus more toward a story driven standard third-person-shooter, like the Gears of War series.

Armageddon is actually all the better for it. One of the complaints that some people aimed at Guerrilla (despite it being reasonably well received, it did have it’s critics) were that the open-world nature actually took away from the experience as a whole, leaving a game that wasn’t focussed enough and was far to sprawling in its ambition.

The shift toward a story driven game means that even in the short section we got to play, everything felt tighter and more scripted, but in a good way! Opening with a cut-scene that explains the protagonist (Darius Mason) is currently public enemy number one because he took a job on that unleashed aliens upon the residents of the underground mines of Mars (later learning he was set up), we were thrown straight into the action with a variety of weaponry on tap to experiment with.

It’d be silly not to start with the magnet gun, one of the new weapons within Red Faction: Armageddon, which is, quite frankly, an utter joy to play around with. Imagine the weapon from Valve’s Portal, only instead of orange and blue portals, you have 2 magnets. You can fire one at an enemy and the other at a bridge, then once the second magnet hits, the two are drawn together causing death and destruction to anything in its path. The possibilites of this gun are fantastic and were a real blast to experience.

Speaking of “blasts”, the plasma cutter is just pure insanity! Allowing you to fire a lengthy beam of plasma, this literally decimates anything it it’s path! Obviously other more standard weapons are included, assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, everything you’d expect from this type of game.

Another ingenious addition to your inventory is the repair function. A simple tap of the left bumper (Xbox 360 controller) initiates the function, which literally reforms anything you have destroyed. You can also hold the button, which in turn makes Darius hold his hand out, fixing your path as you walk.

The tech on display here is very impressive, you can literally trash everything you can see, then, upon realising you have also destroyed the stairs you need to go up in order to progress, fix it with the repair tool and continue on your adventure.

Another new attack is used on the right bumper, similar to a Star Wars “Force Push”, this ability recharges (pretty quickly) after use and quite literally throws the enemy away from you, with great force.

One downside to the experience though is the enemies themselves. Repetitive and at times feeling like just palette swaps, they are numerous (simply too many at times) and fairly boring to fight! Any boredom though can be fixed with the inclusion of the mech suit, which is just a blast to run around in. Climb into the suit and you feel nearly invincible, charging around and running straight through walls with homing rockets and a machine gun at your disposal. It undoubtedly fun to use, but it can feel slightly claustraphobic at times, especially in tight spaces.

As the story of this small section of the full game plays out, on your way to the elevator you come across the boss. It’s basically a larger version of the enemies you’ve been fighting throughout and is despatched fairly easily, with careful use of the dodge button and heavy grenade launcher abuse! Once you get past the large alien, a cut-scene plays out and our time with the single player came to an end.

So what did we take away from this hour-long section of the single player campaign? Should you be on the look out for this third person shooter?

Graphically, Red Faction: Armageddon looks pretty damn fine, explosions litter the screen, debris and entire building collapse around you at regular intervals with little or no performance drop. The sound effects match the visuals, loud, aggressive, booming explosions and gunfire that sounds just as you’d like.

The repetitive nature of the enemies really do leave a slightly sour taste in the mouth, but the addition of fantastic new weaponry as well as the repair tool make for a very interesting experience. For now, Red Faction: Armageddon is definitely a title you should have on your radar, it all seems fairly promising!

Red Faction: Armageddon is currently set to be released in North America on May 31st and in Europe on June 3rd.

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