Red Faction Armageddon was the first game Q&A that i sat down for at the MCM Expo, and I also got the chance to play the game later in the day. Anyway, I took my seat at the Gamespot UK stage, and waited a while until a couple of Gamespot reps came to the front along with one of the game's senior designers, David Abzug, at which point things began.
The first thing that we were told was that this instalment of the series is a third person action game and it's unique selling point is destruction, as David Abzug pointed out:
Anything man-made is destructible.
He also said that this time around the developers were "Big on the boom!". In response to this somebody in the crowd commented that it sounded a bit like Angry Birds, to which Mr. Abzug responded with the following:
Picture Angry Birds with five storey buildings and giant plasma cannons!
This seems like a good point to go over the things that you'll be using to cause widespread destruction in the game; the weapons, the look of most of which were inspired by the alien weapons featured in District 9.
I'll start with the plasma cannon, which I had great fun levelling buildings with. It doesn't just take out one target though, it'll blast through whatever's behind it, followed by whatever's behind that, and so on and so on, basically it'll just go on causing damage for as long as possible. Despite this fact though, there are enemies that'll take a hit or two; I found that I had to pump a good number of shots from the plasma cannon into a fairly large scout walker before it collapsed into a smoking pile of scrap metal.
The magnet gun is the game's signature weapon. The first shot seemingly does nothing, however the second shot pulls whatever you hit first into the second object, or enemy, that you hit (known as the anchor and the attractor). As a result you can fire the fronts of buildings into your unfortunate enemies, or you can knock a fence down using a piece of a wall, there are many MANY combinations to pull off! There's even a gun that suspends enemies in the air and whilst that's good for making yourself a quick human shield, if you're quick enough you'll be able to turn them into ammo using the magnet gun to throw them at their friends!
The singularity gun creates a black hole that sucks in everything around it before finally exploding, which is something I need to see!
Last but not least are the assault rifles littered around your surroundings, which look like they mean business, however I found that the majority of enemies I encountered had to be pumped full of ammo before they dropped down dead.
If you played the previous Red Faction game, you'll probably be pleased to here that sledgehammers make a return to the series, in the form of the Maul, which'll be available right from the start of the game. It brings a nice change to shooting stuff when you finally break it out to bring down a wall, or the supporting legs of a sniper tower. When asked whether there were different shaped hammers this time around, David Abzug smiled and then eventually told us about Mr. Toots! Mr. Toots came about during a conversation the developers had about what sort of shaped hammers to include this time around. After a ridiculous list of possibilities, including a hammer shaped like an alien, was gathered somebody in the team said "Well, why don't we just put in a unicorn that fires rainbows out of its butt!" So, Mr.Toots is a unicorn, about the size of a gun, who's head sits on your shoulder, whilst his butt faces forward and shoots out a rainbow that causes a massive amount of damage to everything in the immediate vicinity!
Luckily, not everything in the game is based around destruction, quite the opposite in fact, thanks to some clever nano technology you'll find you're able to reconstruct anything in the game that can be pulled apart, which leads to some interesting gameplay. For example, if you're taking a lot of enemy fire and you're near a building, you can blast a hole in the building's wall, jump through, and then repair it for a bit of a breather. Or, if you're enemies are standing within a derelict structure, you could rebuild the walls around them and trap them within it! Whilst I was watching people playing the game, I observed somebody building an entire catwalk above their character's head.
Driving's been included as well, with a variety of vehicles present for all your transportation needs, the smallest of which is 14 foot, whereas the biggest is 50 foot tall with six legs!
For those of you who are looking for some story details, Armageddon's set 50 years after Red Faction Guerilla, and takes place in cities buried within caves on Mars. This isn't an open world game, it's fairly linear, which allowed the developers to tell a better story, as well as tightening up the destruction, after all to quote Mr. Abzug again:
We don't want to minimise destruction, we want to maximise it!
If you need a break from the single player campaign, you could always check out ruin mode, which is a single player mode with an online leader board, where your only goal is to cause as much destruction to your surroundings as possible! The more you destroy, the higher your score. Should you need them, David Abzug had three tips for maximising your score in ruin mode:
- Never stop shooting.
- NEVER STOP SHOOTING!
- A lot of weapons cause destruction, but some cause it on a big scale.
Finally, the multiplayer in the game isn't just adversarial, it's cooperative as well. For instance, there's one mode where your team has to protect a building, by repairing it, whilst the opposing team's trying their hardest to level your beloved structure.
I had a blast with the single player, it looks great, especially when you set off an explosive barrel or two and shrapnel starts flying in all directions! However, my only concern is that the story may well be left on the back bench whilst you revel in ripping everything around you to pieces, but I guess only time will tell.
Red Faction Armageddon'll be with us on 10th June for PS3, Xbox, and PC.