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Red Faction: Armageddon preview

With Red Faction: Guerilla, THQ/Volition took the franchise in a radically different direction, abandoning its FPS roots for a 3rd person sandbox. While the dramatic change caused some gamers to lift an eyebrow, the fact was that Guerilla made a much better 3rd person game than the previous entries did as FPSes. Red Faction: Armageddon looks like it’ll be continuing the trend of bucking expectations as it’s radically shifted its tone and altered its sandbox gameplay in favor of a more intense, story driven game.

Those looking for a direct sequel to Guerrilla may be surprised by Armageddon’s new direction. Much like the huge shift that Guerrilla brought the table, Armageddon does the same, retaining the third person perspective but, from the look of the demo we saw, heavily downplaying the sandbox aspect in favor of more linear gameplay. While Guerilla fans may cry foul, this shift helps put a much heavier focus on the story and helps build Armageddon’s darker, Horror-like mood. Jameson Durall, Armageddon’s Lead Level Designer, took the reins and showed us one of the levels in progress.

Durall quickly introduced us to the game’s new protagonist Darius Mason (son of Guerrilla's Alec Mason), who was making his way through a dark cave attempting to clear the way for an emergency convoy behind him. A quick cutscene shows Darius noticing an Infestation Point, a large tunnel coated with organic goop, as a clear sign that the enemy alien creatures are in the area. Not soon after, he’s attacked by a group of small insectoid creatures named Creepers; they rush at him in numbers but prove to be only a minor threat, as Durall quickly guns them down with Darius's assault rifle.

Durall explains to us that the alien creatures are called “The Plague” and they’re running amok in the underground caverns of Mars, forcing the Red Faction to join forces with their rivals the Marauders, and reclaim their underground home. Once the last of the Creepers are sorted, Durall points out an infested building in the next area; the structure is covered in the same organic looking purple ooze from the Infestation Point. The ooze apparently gives The Plague strength by breaking down the building and eating its component materials; destroying these buildings will be key to reclaiming areas infested with The Plague and will help fight back the infestation. This system of beating back The Plague’s spread has replaced Guerrilla's much grumbled about Morale system, though it’s unclear to what extent. Of course the Plague aren’t going to just sit down and let you stomp them like some overgrown roaches.

No sooner had Darius approached the structure than a group of larger, nastier looking aliens, (Ravagers, Durall told us), appeared spitting some sort of acidic projectile at him. It was clear that with the projectiles coming in left and right, Durall was going to need some cover, and after hiding behind a crumbling wall Durall proceeded to show off the Magnet Gun by shooting a piece of his own cover instead of the enemies. The glowing round from the gun stuck to the concrete, at which point Durall fired another round at an unfortunate Ravager. The first round yanked a chunk of the wall out as it sped towards the other round attached to the Ravager, resulting in a satisfying squish/crunch sound, and one less enemy to worry about. 

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10 comments

  • pakk99 - October 11, 2010 5:52 p.m.

    Third-person shooters just don't cut it in my book. They all suffer from wonky camera motion up close. Besides, who the hell wants screen real estate wasted with a view of your back? IMO, tthis series was better as a FPS. Too bad Volition doesn't agree. BTW ... I thought Guerilla sucked. I'm all in favor of non-linear, open-world story progression, but Guerilla felt a little pointless and aimless sometimes. Not a good combo in my book.
  • Gameguy94 - July 21, 2010 5:55 p.m.

    Aliens on Mars...that's totally original.
  • Ultima - July 21, 2010 2:32 p.m.

    @Godz_Mercenary its still in third person, not an FPS so you wouldnt really have to choose between those games. I absoloutely loved Red Faction Guerilla so Im a bit gutted it wont be the same style but oh well I will certainly give it a chance
  • NanoElite666 - July 21, 2010 5:36 a.m.

    I thought Darious is supposed to be Alec's GRANDson, since I think this game takes place 50 years or so after the last one.
  • crumbdunky - July 20, 2010 9:36 p.m.

    @Sleepy-they only said MORE linear here and never said it wasn't stll sandbox. Indeed IIRC they said it still will be a couple of places(though, natch, I could be wrong or it might change)I've read includng here. If it IS the case that it's just a reduced amount of sandbox with a more heavily linear story I think it's a GREAT thing as I sometimes felt Guerilla(which we all liked here at our gaff)tended to drift a bit with the way you took the story in bits when you felt like it with way too little disposition or cutscenes to fill in the blanks. Also agree with GR about knocking the buildings down-it lost it's fun element and lost it's meaning after a while and left a lot of samey side missions where it felt the physics engine was shoehorned in to game play because they'd spent a lot on it rather than giving us better variety. A mix of Dead Space and a more focussed GTA set on Mars sounds even better to me than the last effort in a pretty up and down series.
  • Godz_Mercenary - July 20, 2010 9:24 p.m.

    Should have stuck to open world but made a deeper story. Now I know it's more a linear shooter I'm not bothered about getting it considering Medal of Honour is on its way and Call of Duty.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - July 20, 2010 6:30 p.m.

    If RF:Armageddon isn't open world and you can't wreck the shit out of buildings I think I will wait for the price to go down.
  • Bloodstorm - July 20, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    Wasn't a big fan of Guerrilla. After the initial quirk of destruction, you just realized how little the game actually had to offer. No cohesion or reasoning to keep going. The world was 10% destructible buildings and 90% bland nothingness. Vehicles constantly went wonky and drove like bucking broncos, but that was at least entertaining causing unexpected chaos as you vehicle stopped responding properly to the directional input. This might sell me on buying it. A more story driven game and more linear progression allows them to use the limited amount of buildings they can put in in a more direct manor instead of occasional clusters of buildings in vast nothingness.
  • Vitoruss1 - July 20, 2010 5:24 p.m.

    What a coincidence that I just started replaying Guerrilla the other day! This looks good, I've gotten every other Red Faction game in the series and I'll probably keep the pattern going with this one. Re-Captcha: Narnia Scientists
  • thor0997 - July 20, 2010 5:08 p.m.

    "appeared spitting some sort of acidic projectile at him" "Magnet Gun... glowing round" Crackdown 2? Anyways... sounds fun, but holy crap! Decide on what style of game this series is going to be already!

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