Excavating the dusty rocks on Mars, Red Faction: Armageddon switches up their sandbox formula for a more narrative driven tale. Filled with alien creepy-crawlers, a new generation of Mason's get to unleash their god-like powers on the malevolent bugs; so much for peace-keeping.

The battle for Mars continues in Red Faction: Armageddon. Although this time developer Violation steps away for their sandbox of success for a more conventional “narrative driven” tale. Oddly refocused, the new hero of Armageddon, grandson to Alec, Darius Mason has the daunting task of making us care about his character and this new Red Faction. Thankfully for Darius, Red Faction: Armageddon (RFA) is mindful to incorporate the core elements that made Red Faction a hit from the start; destructible environments.

The Simple Joy of Destruction
For those who have played a Red Faction title in the past, you all know the joy of simply blowing stuff up and watching it fall apart. While the sandbox idea has been shoved aside, the terraforming level of destruction is still present, and in tip top shape thanks to Geo-Mod 2.0. Most of the interest in Armageddon is because of a distinguishing new weapon (I'll get to that later) and a strong emphasis on pacing, Armageddon keeps you involved and moving forward. While things aren't perfect, even with all the destruction (the buildings still feels like they are made out of Styrofoam,) the unpredictable nature of the Havok physics engine really keeps each encounter feeling fresh. Not so much from the diversity in the enemies or outstanding tactics, mainly just the simple joy of causing massive chaos.

Rebuild, Destroy, Rebuild
Continuing the evolution of terraforming is the ability to rebuild structures, before or after you reduce them to a crumbling mess. Thanks to your nano-forge sci-fi armband, Mason is almost turned into a “god-like” super soldier. You will use the nano-forge in battle to rebuild cover or to advance through objectives. Just make sure you don't build yourself into the cover... I did this a few times (dolt.) The forge also doubles as a weapon allowing you to project impact waves that like most things in Red Faction, abolishes everything in its path. It's easy to get wrapped up in RFA feeling of power, which is the game greatest asset, and likely the one that will keep you playing.

Blissful Magnetization
Armageddon's other assortment of weapons continue creatively to encourage destruction, which is lead by the ingeniously designed Magnet Gun. This gun allows you to attach an anchor and attractor to object and pull them together. As long it can be attached, you are good to go. This creates some of those “oh yea” moments you have been waiting for. These unscripted occurrences respectably make the Magnet Gun the star of the show, and likely the only weapon you will use. Once I had this baby in my arms, the additional weapons like the Machine Gun, remote Charge Launcher, Shotgun, Plasma Cannon, and even the impressive multi-rocket Mech-suit seemed like second hat to the pulverizing Magnet Gun.

Save Your Scrap
Upgrades are also purchasable with scrap currency at selectively placed salvage stations. Upgrading can add some fine perks to RFA, although ultimately a little unnecessary, you can get a bonus to your health, have enemy health indicators to point out your foes vital signs, reduce the enemy accuracy while your dodging, etc.. It's all standard upgrade stuff, though it's not available readily, so be a little picky when choosing each upgrade.

By the Books
Aside from the destruction, Armageddon is just another vanilla 3rd person sci-fi action game. It's not for the lack of trying, something captivating is underneath this formula somewhere, its just not brought to life and becomes a stagnant as the games darkly lit corridors. The audio contribution doesn't help either with bland voice work and an uninspiring soundtrack. There are moments, but they usually only come when things blow up. This one is really by the books, so it's a good thing that Armageddon has all the tricks turned on, making the most of this underground slaughterhouse.

Extra Extermination
Diverting some attention away from the alien invasion in the single player campaign is a “Horde” mode labelled “Extermination” and “Ruin Mode,” a timed free-form destruction mode (Needs to be unlocked via a code when purchased.) While the 'Ruin Mode' is obvious in its joys, the Extermination mode is a surprise hit. Supporting four players online, via system link or offline, the co-op level of destruction can only offer fun times; a rare, but good quality that a “serious” type of shooter can get so many laughs with buddies.

Depending on your evaluation of the Red Faction: Guerrilla, Armageddon is set up to disappoint. However, the loss of free-roam freedom and vehicle rampaging is replaced with a tighter knit focused game that does its best to bring out the destruction in a more enclosed environment. With a lot of help from the Magnet Gun, Red Faction: Armageddon has enough of that “summer blockbuster” feel to make you forget about Violations last outing. While it might not be the Red Faction we expected, it still packs a punch and is worth a look.

  • I am a god, thanks Nano Forge
  • Simple pleasures - it's fun to destroy!
  • Magnet Gun, I love you
  • Few alternative modes to keep you busy
  • Additional modes are fun
  • Without the destruction, the 3rd person action is vanilla
  • Stagnate audio, design and characterization
  • Fans wanting an open-world will be disappointed
Quote: "With a lot of help from the Magnet Gun, Red Faction: Armageddon has enough of that “summer blockbuster” feel to make you forget about Violations last outing."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 06.20.11

Similar Games: Red Faction: Battlegrounds (6.4) | Red Faction: Guerrilla (8.2)


Red Faction




US Release
June 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1
Co-op 2-4
Online MP 1-4
HD 720-1080p
5.1 surround
D/L Content