Red Faction: Armageddon Review (PS3)
We had the fear about Red Faction: Armageddon from the very first time we were told it would abandon the sandbox principles of the previous entry to the series, Guerrilla. Having played it at numerous preview events, we were always convinced to hold back our cynicism – you could blow things up! Power suits! Hammers! It was enough to make us think that maybe our instincts were wrong here. We truly wish they had been.
Armageddon misses the point. It’s as if Volition took notes on what made people enjoy Guerrilla, understood every element of 2009’s appeal and then, for some bizarre reason, surgically excised the vast majority of these very things that made people want to play the game so much in the first place.
Relentlessness is one thing – the exhilaration of a seemingly endless, pitched battle on Dead Space 2 hits the nail on the head and is something you dread for all the right reasons just as much as you look forward to it. Armageddon’s endless run-and-gunning against hundreds – thousands – of enemies is just plain boring. It’s routine. There’s no thrill to it and very little necessity for tactics or any real thinking. You don’t even have to aim very much, thanks to an overzealous auto-targeting system.
But let’s bring some maths into play here: it took us seven hours and 14 minutes to finish our first playthrough of Armageddon. In that time we killed 2651 enemies. That’s around 6.1 kills a minute, which is about one kill every ten seconds. Take into account this doesn’t include time spent conversing with SAM, Mason’s on-wrist computer, or backtracking, or aimlessly wandering, or spending some time remembering why you’re so disappointed with Armageddon (commonly known as ‘blowing up buildings’). That is a lot of things to be killing, and it’s a lot of things that absolutely never feel threatening at all to be killing. A bit more maths: no challenge + relentless waves of enemies = a very boring experience.