Two years ago, many thought they would probably never hear from Red Faction again. It was a truly beautiful concept, but it never really came to fruition and Red Faction II was the last gamers saw of the franchise until last year when Red Faction: Guerilla was released. Needless to say, it completely revitalised the brand. Gone was the first-person perspective and gone was the linearity. In its placed as a third person game, which featured an open world and buildings that were incredibly fun to dismantle thanks to the new physics engine.
However, for all its success, there were faults with Red Faction: Guerilla. The story often felt superfluous and while the open world offered freedom, it also offered a sparse landscape. The good thing is that Volition are really trying hard to rectify those faults with the next installment into the franchise, Red Faction: Armageddon.
The story has taken a small leap into the future and by some strange coincidence, players take control of Darius Mason, the grandson of Alec Mason and Samanya, the main characters in Red Faction: Guerilla. He finds himself in a Mars that's a far cry from what players will remember. The surface is no longer habitable and Darius unwittingly released a dormant race of evil aliens - not a great situation for the colonists who are still managing to survive below the surface.
With the game now primarily taking place underground, Volition have decided to make the story more linear. They felt that it would enable players to grow a much greater attachment to both Darius and the horrible situation he finds himself in. It feels like it will work too, especially considering how harsh the environment looks. It also seems as though there will be much more interaction with NPCs. There will still be elements of exploration, but it will be toned down. The ability to liberate settlements returns in a slightly different format. Players can now reclaim fortifications on the surface and free colonists. They will also be able to hunt for artifacts, like alien weaponry.
It's also worth pointing out that despite the game being underground, there will still be just as much destruction and carnage open to players. Volition have even included a new gun to make it much more fun, the Magnet Gun. This allows the user to literally rip objects/structures apart through the use of its dual-action mechanic. To start off, a magnet is fired at the target object. The destination must then be chosen and once selected, the magnet and whatever is attached to it, will come flying toward it. It means players can literally drop a building on an enemy.
The Magnet Gun was demonstrated to devastating effect during the demo that was witnessed at E3, along with a different mechanic, which allows players to repair buildings. This can be extremely useful, especially in a fire-fight. Players can restore cover, or even enclose themselves inside buildings to recover health. It will add a whole new dimension to the gameplay and will hopefully lead to some fierce and tense fights against the various enemies in the game.
Overall it looks as though Volition have really taken the criticism from Red Faction: Guerilla on board. Red Faction: Armageddon looks to address all the concerns and improve on them significantly. Here's hoping the promise can be delivered on when the game is released March 2011 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.