Is Red Faction Armageddon good summer fun? (Review)

Red Faction has always been a slightly under the radar franchise and coming out during the E3 Expo in Los Angeles didn’t help with this, the latest THQ offering.  For those that haven’t yet played a Red Faction game, to summarize the franchise, it’s all about blowing stuff up with really cool weapons.   In each of the games until, 2009’s Guerrilla the Red Faction formula has come in the standard linear shooter formula.  Guerrilla broke the mold and was generally a sandbox affair, this lead to criticism that the game had no real narrative or compelling plot.

Armageddon is a return to the standard Red Faction experience.  This new game feels an awful lot like Red Faction 2 minus the crazy multiplayer deathmatch.  A deathmatch mode with destructible environments and all of the amazing weapons would have done a lot to make this game a serious contender in the Halo and Call of Duty dominated multiplayer market.  Unfortunately, that will be the real killer to the staying power of this fun but not essential game.  It is however worth mentioning, there are item and perk incentives for replaying the game.

Red Faction Armageddon picks up two generations after Guerrilla, where you play the perpetual screw-up grandson of the heroic Alec Mason.  Without giving too much of the plot away, the single player mission consists of almost destroying Mars to trying to save it.  The premise is hokey and the story doesn’t do anything but continue the inevitable plot line.  Armageddon does execute what it’s given fairly well.  The voice acting is believable, the graphics while not ultra-realistic are pretty good and the weapons are a lot of fun.

Where the game fails are the environments which are too similar and the too few enemy types.  Most of the game is spent underground and unfortunately, it almost all looks the same.  There are also only about ten enemy types.  While plot-wise all of this may be plausible considering the setting, it doesn’t make for an amazing game.  Luckily, the game isn’t long enough to make these flaws a deal breaker.  This game is a lot like a Die Hard movie, in that it’s campy, predictable, makes a lot of noise, certainly not going to win any awards but a fun way to kill a few hours over the summer.

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