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Red Faction: Armageddon (Xbox 360) artwork

Red Faction: Armageddon (Xbox 360) review


"Of course, even though the Red Faction seems better suited to handle this Armageddon, Darius, being the main character, is able to single-handedly take out legions of these beings, by himself, throughout the game. So you're basically going to do the same thing over and over and... See where I'm heading?"



Countless tunnels, numerous shades of brown, and ruined shacks, these are the locations that make up most of Red Faction: Armageddon, and you can thank Darius Mason for that; not only did he unknowingly allow a crazed cult leader escape, who then made the surface of Mars uninhabitable, but also let the nut job dupe him into unleashing monsters into the caverns... The same caverns the citizens currently reside in. Martian of the Year, folks. Of course, even though the Red Faction seems better suited to handle this Armageddon, Darius, being the main character, is able to single-handedly take out legions of these beings, by himself, throughout the game. So you're basically going to do the same thing over and over and...

See where I'm heading?

That's right, this... this game actually rocks. I'm not kidding.

I know what I just described sounded repetitive, but it's so in a good way, bland environments be damned. What really makes the game click as an action title is its varied weapon set, the destructive environments, and the fun and silly ways you can abuse both to your delight. You need to be creative to appreciate how Armageddon works, because if you go in and stubbornly stick to a simple attack pattern, things are going to get stale, quick.

Approached with an open mind, one possible scenario could turn out as followed: after running through a brief corridor, you enter into a wider spot. An area consisting of empty shacks and some objects on fire, you're not left pondering the status of the "missing", as a few bloodied, battered bodies are scattered about. Before you can even get a chance to investigate, you spy a bunch of red dots appearing in your overhead compass, spotting the nasty creatures flipping out from various spots. They're fast, they're flexible, traveling both ground and walls, and when you least expect it, you can find one or two of those bastards behind you, ala Jason Vorhees. Suffice to say, staying in one position is not recommended.

You CAN run to a different spot while looking like an idiot, but, under assumption, having a badass frame of mind, you bring down the horde in style. With four to five Creepers making a crawling frontal attack, you strike first with Shockwave, an ability that stuns close enemies while lifting them into the air. You manage to grab three, but the other two dodge and take refuge on the walls. You push yourself forward, doing so while picking off the two wall clingers with an assault rifle, and taking hits with differing projectiles from various angles in the process. Distracted, you easily forget more giant bugs are nearby on the ground, so you break out the reliable shotgun for quick kills. Only about two minutes has elapsed, but you've already killed off a dozen or so creatures. And you're not even close to a break.

As the fight continues and the buildings slowly crumble due to the constant barrage of damage inflicted by the ensuing chaos, you realize the creatures just keep popping up! Then it dawns on you that they're spawning from pods. With ammunition running low, you make a dash through the never-ending horde of uglies. Of course, they wouldn't make this easy, so as you near the pods, a humongous "thing" drills out of the ground, surrounded by a green glow. Bad news: this object makes the enemies stronger. Even worse news: a Berserker, a hulking, powerful beast, also appears. Your health is draining like a mofo as the drama unfolds, so the only logical thing left to do is form a temporary bubble shield. You regain health, switch to your rocket launcher, and run towards the glowy green monstrosity, firing rocket after rocket at it. Eventually, it explodes, and you have enough rockets for the pods. Just in time, too, as the Berserker is charging towards your position.

At this point, you finally equip it, the Magnet Gun. This magnificent bastard of raw destructive power does a ton of damage if used correctly. With little time left, you shoot a specific area of a two-story house, fire your next shot at the monster, then watch as a huge chunk of the structure fling itself at the beast. It falls to the ground... but gets right back up. Trying to sever the close distance, you quickly jog up a set of stairs and destroy them. Coincidentally, you also notice a large, explosive container and toss it, with the help of that useful Magnet Gun, at the Berserker, ending its rampage in a fiery fashion. Afterwards, you pick off the remaining bugs, repair structures you need to advance on with the aid of your handy Nano Forge, and go on your merry way, knowing full well there's going to be a million more, similar battles in both the story and horde modes.

If that was it, I would've been content with Armageddon, but the developers stepped it up by offering a few "vehicle" segments that's pretty gleeful to play through. A ton of stuff goes boom in these parts, channeling your inner child with all these things that explode in an impressive mess.

This is the opposite of Red Faction: Guerrilla. That's a good thing, because I didn't like that title. When I read about the game, I thought it was going to deliver as a fun action title with lots of explosions. Well, it had the action and explosions, but there was something about Guerrilla that made the game empty. It was like, they had a good idea, but the execution wasn't quite right. You never had complete satisfaction when you cleared an area or ripped down structures with explosive charges, because when you return later, the structures were rebuilt and such. Do you know how much it burned having putting so much effort into destroying that GIANT bridge, only to come back and see it there again? Red Faction: Armageddon does it right, thrusting players in crazy, destructive situations, and giving them a sense of accomplishment after entering an area, wreaking havoc, and knowing everything is going to stay dead and ruined.

Rating: 8/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (June 19, 2011)

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Suskie posted June 19, 2011:

You know, after you made such a big deal about Portal 2 not having any replay value, I'm pretty surprised you never mentioned how much Armageddon has. I rented the game and it was overdue by the time I completed it (mainly because I was still finishing up L.A. Noire when I first got it), and I still kept it for another day to beat it on Insane (and cap the achievements, which I've never done with a rental before).

Anyway, good review! I did spot a couple of typos, but I didn't make note of them and I'm too lazy to reread the review, so I guess I'm kinda useless. Armageddon wasn't received especially well by critics, so I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who enjoyed it.
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pickhut posted June 19, 2011:

I figured the fact that I had so much fun fighting off the same hordes repeatedly with different tactics would've done the trick with the replay value, but I guess I could have been clearer. Thanks for reading, too!

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