Over the last year, we’re had the opportunity to see Red Faction: Armageddon grow up before our eyes. From an early E3 2010 teaser, to hands on time at PAX East, THQ has developed the latest in the series to fit blockbuster, AAA levels.
In the first of our Hype Trains we take a look at everything that the game has to offer, from modes to storyline to development, and our previews along the way.
RF:A is a much more linear game when compared to the open-world original. Gone are the countless (and often repetitive) side missions and traversal from one end of the map to the other. The game now plays more like Dead Space, except underground. The environments are all new, and visual fidelity and lighting effects have been improved, as has the audio. The characters are much more detailed as well, thanks to emphasis on motion capture within the studio.
When speaking to Volition, developers of the game, they wanted to make it feel like “Indiana Jones in Space” in that the narrative is much more complete from start to finish, and you’re never left wondering about the plot’s direction. The story centers around lead character Darius Mason’s actions that brought about an alien insurgence in the now-populated underground of Mars. It’s much more personal than Guerrilla’s relatively loose story bridge, and should provide a reason to enjoy more than just the building destruction.
Destruction is an aspect of Guerrilla that has returned and in Armageddon it’s been improved, thanks to the inclusion of a few more weapons. The Magnet Gun allows for the pinning of two points on objects, bringing them together to the center of the blast. It can make buildings implode, or combine slabs to clear out pathways. Watching the effect take place is a lot like the first time a portal appears in the game Portal; it hasn’t been executed in a game before, and certainly not this well. The flying debris becomes shrapnel, taking out large groups of enemies at once. The Nanoforge Gun now helps to rebuild objects and walls, and combined with the destructive weapons can actually use the resulting debris to create barriers against fire. Also joining the game are the Nanorifle from Guerrilla, and a Singularity Cannon.
The alternative modes found in Red Faction: Guerrilla added to the post-single player experience, with short timed minigames exploring the destruction of structures. In Armageddon, the new modes include Ruin Mode, which is a sort of free-for-all destruction mode with leaderboards, and Infestation, which is a “horde”-like multiplayer mode. Ruin Mode especially piqued our interest, as it played a lot like the side missions of Guerrilla, only expanded.
If you’re looking for more Red Faction before the game arrives, THQ released a vehicle combat game loosely-based on the series, called Red Faction: Battlegrounds. Or, you can read up about why we felt that Red Faction: Guerrilla was one of the most under-appreciated games of 2009, earning our Game of the Year nod.
Red Faction: Armageddon releases June 7th from THQ