Game Review: Red Faction - Armageddon

Published on Jul 15, 2011 Games Review « Prev Next »

Red Faction: Armageddon
Red Faction: Armageddon

I played Red Faction back in 2001 when it first came out and enjoyed the heck out of it.   It was the very first game to come out with the Geo-Mod game engine which allowed for massive destruction of the game models and levels.   The game itself was otherwise unremarkable, but the fact that you could destroy everything made it awesome.

I find it funny that one little thing like that can make or break a game entirely, and the massively destructable nature of the Red Faction games entirely “makes” these titles.

Red Faction II was one of those games that came out only a year or so later but it managed to skip my notice and the series sorta fell off my radar.

The other day I picked up the latest in the franchise; Red Faction: Armageddon.   And I’m glad to say that it’s up to the original games standards in all ways .. to include the shortcomings..

Let me start by saying that by all standards it’s a good game all things considered, and I did enjoy it.  But there are some cons:

This game is of course plagued by one of my common complaints with all games these days;  The game is too short.. by a long shot..  That’s typical of all games though so I think the industry as a whole is trying to bring our game length expectations down fraction by fraction until we get a 3 hour tour for the same $60.  Oh well.. This game is longer than some, and I realize that for every minute of gameplay it likely takes them months.. but still..  This game clocks in at about 10 hours.

And it also suffers from another common issue with games these days;  Its too easy..   My theory as to why this happens lately is because most of the modern games are first made for consoles, and then ported to PC.. as such the controls on a PC are much easier to use, so the situations you’re in are suddenly that much easier?  This is a wild guess, but it will likely seem logical to anyone who has tried (and failed horribly) to play a game on a console using those crap controllers..  I can see how any game would be difficult if you handicap someone with one of those damn things..

Most games have at least 4 difficulty settings; Easy, Normal, Hard and Expert.. Or some myriad of names that equate to the same thing..  And in just about every game out there, I know that I should start playing it on “Hard” because anything easier would be pointless.   I can’t imagine how simplistic and juvenile “Easy” must be on these games because “Hard” is anything but..  This game suffers badly in this area because even on “Hard” I didn’t find it remotely challenging.  ”Hard” should be difficult.  Make it a challenge so that I will want to play through again..

I think its likely that game makers are afraid of making their games actually difficult because then people might get frustrated and stop playing.. However, I’m of the opinion that making a game like this too easy even when set on “hard” in order to keep the game “fun” is akin to handing the little league losers a trophy for participation..   Reward me for doing well, not for just showing up.  If I set the game to “hard” I believe it’s reasonable to expect the game to actually be difficult.

And finally my major complaint about the game is the weapons they give you.    Within the first minute or two of gameplay they give you the ONLY WEAPON YOU WILL EVER NEED; the gravity gun.   Now, I don’t want to complain about the gravity gun.. there is nothing more fun that hurling a whole building of destructive debris at an enemy.. and you generally have a reasonable expectation of doing fairly well when you use the same gun to hurl an enemy at a far wall only to watch him gib.     But, why do I need the other guns?

They give you a whole slew of other wizbang cool guns and more ammo than you can shake a stick at just lying around but I can honestly say I didn’t even start using ANY of them until near the very end of the game.  Up to that point I just used the gravity gun to do everything..   Either tossing the mobs around or throwing entire structures at them..  The other guns seemed pointless mostly.. and the ludicrous amounts of ammo lying around, doubly so.

This game is also extremely linear, so much so if you get out of the “area” you’re supposed to be in a countdown to your doom will appear.. better boogy back to where you’re supposed to be pronto..  I don’t really want to hold this up as a complaint though, this isn’t a sandbox game and like the original was never meant to be..   Still I can see how some might be put off by the count down thing..

All in all though I enjoyed the game.   There is still something very appealing about being about appease your darker side by waging wanton destruction on the carefully designed levels..  And if you’re not giddily giggling like a school girl over being about to toss mobs around like rag dolls to their ultimate doom, then you don’t know how to have a good time..  it was fun.  Though it’s replayability is pretty much zero.

I give this game 3.5 out of 5. (That’s a good score from me.)