If you’re familiar with the Red Faction series, then you know Mars as a dangerous place where the regimes are oppressive and the building codes are lax. In Red Faction: Armageddon, alien infestation replaces armed uprising as the series takes on a new tone. This third-person shooter may tell an unremarkable tale and lack the freedom of its open-world predecessor, Red Faction: Guerrilla, but Armageddon serves up a fresh new batch of creative mayhem with extensive destructibility and a devastating array of weapons and powers. Blasting your way through hordes of aliens and wreaking merry havoc on the overrun human infrastructure is an entertaining endeavor, but it’s the ingenious and versatile magnet gun that takes the thrills of destruction to new heights. Whether you’re soldiering solo in the single-player campaign or staving off an enemy onslaught with friends online, Red Faction: Armageddon provides a lot of great ways to indulge your destructive desires.
The events of Red Faction: Armageddon take place two generations after those of Red Faction: Guerrilla, so while fans can spot connections between the two games, they are little more than historical references. The most pertinent fact is that you play as Darius Mason, grandson of Guerrilla’s protagonist, Alec Mason, and like his ancestor, Darius is a man of action, not words. After a brief prologue, he gets caught up in a deadly alien outbreak that threatens every human on Mars, and his quest to save the day drives the rest of the campaign. The cutscenes that chronicle the alien outbreak may look nice, but they tell an uninspired story full of action-movie cliches. The profanity-laden dialogue might make you smirk from time to time, but don’t expect to get much out of the boilerplate plot.
Instead, expect to get caught up in the thrill of destruction. Right out of the gate you get a taste of the power at your fingertips with a plasma cannon that blows a three-story hole in a building and topples a guard tower in a single blast. The familiar sledgehammer from Red Faction: Guerrilla returns, but the combination of your powerful melee attack and expansive arsenal makes it likely that this implement will take a backseat to more potent weaponry. A charge launcher that lets you fire and then remote-detonate explosives, a laser that dissolves walls and enemies with equal vigor, and a gun that shoots miniature black holes are just some of the enticing weapons you pick up along the way. Almost every man-made structure in Red Faction: Armageddon can be destroyed, and it’s very satisfying to take out a sniper by detonating the walkway under his feet, or to splatter a group of advancing aliens with a few well-placed charges.