One more THQ game to tell you about with Red Faction: Armageddon that we saw for the very first time in Cologne. What to expect of this new episode of the franchise? If you want to find out, you have some more reading to do then.
The story of Red Faction: Armageddon takes place two generations after Guerilla. You are Alec Mason's grand son, the descendant of the hero of the revolution. Contrary to what sequels are usually made of, THQ decided to modify the very structure of the game to offer a more linear but as a result more intense experience. All the free roaming of the previous game is now just gone, Armageddon will not offer a sandbox experience per se. After a short period of peace that followed the revolution, a new war was eventually triggered, forcing the human race to live underground for the surface was no longer hospitable. Unfortunately, people will soon find out that the underground tunnels of Mars are crawling with dangerous creatures that do not particularly appreciate the arrival of new neighbors. Soon enough, humans will face a greater danger than they could have imagined.
If you are the claustrophobic kind, maybe you should just forget about Armageddon. The atmosphere has gotten more oppressive and suffocating because of some scarcely lit tunnels where the smallest shadow becomes incredibly worrying. Of course, the presence of deadly creatures does not help at all. At the beginning of the presentation, Mason was escorting a group of survivors looking for means of communication. Dead bodies impaled on wooden structures, nerve-racking silence, everything feels like a survival horror game. Is Red Faction: Armageddon trying to follow the footsteps of Dead Space? Well, maybe after all.
After a few minutes, Mason reached a larger area that looked a bit like a construction site: metallic structures everywhere, cranes, small prefab sheds etc. No time to look around, a pack of creepers - the weakest and least intelligent creature of the game - arrived from the ceiling and started to attack. Equipped with a weapon called the Shocker, Mason could block his enemies in a sort of levitation field to give him time to shoot them down. We were also shown the Magnet Gun which is actually able to hurl objects (or monsters) together across large distances. You simply have to aim at something, say a propane tank or heavy object, and then select another target and they will be pulled together. A lot like the magnetic grenades in Crackdown 2 in fact. The Singularity Cannon is another example of the power you have in your hands. It shoots a gravity well that sucks up anything around it, like a miniature black hole. Needless to say it can be pretty effective when used wisely.
Vehicles and mecha suits will also be part of your arsenal to destroy anything that is in sight, which means the scenery too obviously. Red Faction would not be Red Faction without the entirely destructible environment so it is of course completely possible to take down entire constructions, whether it's on purpose or by accident. Towards the end of the presentation, Mason got stuck in a small building - for lack of a better word - and found himself trapped with a creeper. In just a second, he destroyed the ceiling, making it fall on to the monster and getting rid of the immediate threat it represented. It also provided him with a way out so he could finish the job with the remaining monsters. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Eventually, the area was secured and Mason could tell the survivors to regroup. Wrong move you might want to say as suddenly, the earth - I know it's on Mars - started to shake until some types of cocoons emerged from the ground. Trouble? Most likely, but the answer will have to wait as it was the end of the presentation.
After this first contact with Red Faction: Armageddon, it is difficult to say if the game will manage to keep the right pace until the end, but the prospect of playing a survival horror combined with the Geo Mod is definitely appealing. Let's just hope that the developers will create the proper atmosphere to make players want to return to Mars. The game obviously has some potential, now it's up to them.