Past Blast: Red Faction Armageddon

This week I have decided to take a look back in anger at a game that split many gamers 50/50; Red Faction Armageddon.

But first, some admissions on my part; I have played this game before. Put bluntly, I disliked it. I never finished it and didn’t think twice before I got rid of it. Why then did I find myself picking this up on the cheap when the opportunity came along? Was it guilt? Curiosity maybe? No, it’s neither of these.

For the third time in my life, I’ll admit that I was wrong. Yes, that is a man admitting he was wrong. As much as it pains me to type these words, I think I may have drawn a conclusion too quickly about Red Faction. Having had the displeasure of playing some really poor titles this past year it has brought some perspective into my life.

I now find myself playing this again and I must say I’m enjoying it much more than I did before. Now I’m not going to start blowing the sunshine up its rear end, but there are things that the game must be commended for.

By the same token, there are things that the game does badly. Very badly at times, but there’s nothing that will kill the game entirely.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Armageddon was released on the back of huge success after Guerilla proved to be a bigger hit than expected. Offering an open world setting with un-rivalled destruction, the game won over the hearts of sandbox gamers. Sadly, this is where Armageddon falls down as it turns its back on the open world and shoves gamers deep underground.

Despite this though, there are still enjoyable destruction sections whereby buildings must be felled in order to progress and if you enjoyed it so much, you can even rebuild the bugger and bring it down all over again.

The story behind Armageddon is that you, Mason, have brought havoc on Mars by uncovering an ancient alien race which is intent on destroying all human life on the Red planet. Obviously, you want to make amends for this so you travel underground in order to bring back peace to the population despite them turning against you one-by-one.

From this perspective, the game sounds fine and dandy but sadly it’s not all plain sailing. One thing that the game does poorly is its script. The dialogue within the title is simply appalling at times. It is on two accounts; firstly it is so cheesy that it seems like it has been pulled out of an 80’s movie. Secondly, the local AI that travels with you makes remarks out loud which make you want to hit it at times or turn it off.

If you dare stray off the path you have to go down for more than ten seconds, it will shout at you to get back on track. It will do so repeatedly until you eventually oblige, which could be up to five minutes depending on how much exploration you like to do.

I say exploration in the loosest form possible though. This is a corridor-shooter, as opposed to offering you an open world to traverse. This would not be such a bad thing were the game well-known for this but it isn’t. The last title was an open world adventure that was at least a little dynamic compared to this ‘go there, do this right now in this manner’ affair we have here.

The game also seems to go through phases of being far too easy compared with sections of becoming suddenly harder as hundreds of enemy’s surround you whilst your bullets don’t seem to do much more than tickle them until they die of laughter.

After all that you’re probably thinking that it won’t be the game for you but hear me out. Red Faction Armageddon will get you through a “dry spell” so to speak. It will be faithful to you, just don’t expect blockbuster action or scripting as it falls short of the mark on this front.

What do you think?

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