If Red Faction: Armageddon was going to take home any awards from this year’s E3, it’d possibly take home the award for the shortest presentation ever. Clocking in at around 7 minutes and 32 seconds – with 1 minute and 13 seconds taken up by the E3 trailer – it’s very difficult to ascertain the potential, or even the direction, of the end product on this showing – in fact, our Red Faction: Armageddon interview which we’re publishing next week was pretty much twice as long. It did however give us a brief insight into next year’s sequel and gave us a sneak peak at the sort of action we’re going to get our teeth stuck into. Clue: it involves magnets and restoration.
Red Faction: Armageddon follows the antics of Darius Mason, Alec Mason’s grandson, who like the rest of the human race has been forced underground after a series of apocalyptic events. In the presentation, we pick up with Mason as he’s escorting a convoy through the windy underground tunnels of Mars, on the lookout for survivors. The icy tunnels are dark as they are desolate; especially when the lights cut out and Mason is sent into investigate. It’s early on in the pre infestation that Mason gets the blame for – tiny creatures, crawling around in their numbers and act as the game’s cannon fodder.
“In the last two generations since Red Faction: Guerrilla, new technologies have emerged. New weapons. New tools to help you on your fight,” said Jason Scott, Studio Design Director at Volition as he whips out the game’s new Magnet Gun. Mason’s aim in this next section is to clear the infested mining area by bringing down a few of the buildings that surround its edges, and this is where the new Magnet Gun comes in.
“The Magnet Gun turns your entire world into a weapon. It takes your first target and sends it flying into your second target,” continues Scott as we proceed to watch Chad Green, the game’s Art Director, use the gun to rip apart the area by attaching debris to the buildings and watching them fly straight into them. This isn’t just some cool way to bring down buildings either, and can easily be used to attach objects to enemies, enemies to objects and then objects to objects using a kind of slingshot effect to act as a huge battering ram against the on-screen foes.
Despite the funky Magnet Gun though, it was the improved Nanoforge technology – especially the repair function – that was definitely the highlight of the presentation, as it shows great potential as a new toy in the Red Faction universe. Not only can it be used to resurrect cover that’s been destroyed, but you can blow a hole in a shipping container, get inside and then use the repair function to build it back up, thus using it to your tactical advantage on the battlefield. It now means that not only can you shape the world for offense, but for defence now as well. Simply put, it’s awesome-personified.
It wouldn’t be a complete Red Faction presentation either if the team didn’t show some crazy mech action and right on cue, Green moves Mason into a nearby multifunctional mech. Not only does the mech charge through the buildings in an attempt to bring them down around him, but he punches his way through the infestation that overruns the mining area, uses the beam laser to fry them, as well as completely decimating them with some sort of plasma blasts. In short, it’s pretty manic and it doesn’t take Mason in his mech suit long to clear the area and destroy the buildings so that the convoy can pass.
While the implications of taking the open-world Guerrilla and making it an underground open-world Armageddon are yet to be seen, but Volition have proved that they still have what it takes from an imagination perspective to create gadgets that make and shape their games. The Magnet Gun can not only result in comical consequences, but it’s also a devastating weapon. The Nanoforge’s repair ability though definitely takes the prize for the most interesting and game-changing weapon they showed – restoring a wall behind you that you blew up to pass through? Excuse me, but... woah! In essence though, they are two additions that scream innovation and potential, but unfortunately that’s all we were really able to take away from the presentation. In fact, I bet it probably took you longer to read our preview than it did for us to check out the game at this year’s E3. I can’t say I’ve ever said that before.
Red Faction: Armageddon is scheduled for a March 2011 release.