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GC 10: Red Faction: Armageddon hands-off preview

7:10 PM on 08.18.2010 // Ian Roberts

Many years have passed on the planet Mars since the events of Red Faction: Guerilla, and things are not well for colonists of the red planet.  

Attempts to terraform the planet for human habitation have created an ecological disaster that has resulted in the habitants being driven underground for safety. To make matters worse, an ancient evil species of aliens has been awoken and is wiping out all who remain.

In comes Darius Mason -- a descendant of Red Faction:Guerilla's protagonist, Alec Mason --  who is out to fight off the intergalactic menace, and restore peace to the planet once again. To do that, he will use some seriously crazy weapons, tons of falling buildings, and one big robot.  

The demo we were showed at gamecom this week opened in the cavernous underground that is now colonial humanities home. It's a dark, cavernous place that is worlds apart from Guerilla's open Martian vistas. The darkness, however, is soon disturbed by the burning carcass of a buggy, violently rolling by. Darius’s communicator springs to life with word that your alien nemesis is causing havoc nearby.

Arriving on the scene, it becomes apparent that the extra-terrestrial menace has set up shop, with buildings covered in a bizarre-looking substance. Almost immediately, Mercer is besieged by some lowly dog-like creatures that are easily dispersed with an assault riffle and a few handy head stomps. This, however, is only the first obstacle to surmount.

At this point we are introduced to the newest addition to Red Faction's arsenal of weapons, the Magnagun -- a simple, yet deadly weapon that opens up some incredible possibilities for carnage. With your first shot you magnetize the object you are targeting, and with another shot it is pulled towards a second target. In the example we were showed, a crane was targeted before a nearby building; the resulting chaos looked impressive, as the crane's top is drawn into the building, utterly destroying it.

A large group of heavier enemies turn up, and the Magnagun's potential in more intense combat is revealed; foes are taken out by large chunks of metal, even debris slamming into them. More enemies turn up, and Guerilla's Nano Rifle returns, this time with the power to repair things, a power with incredible benefits, it turns out. The amount of attacking enemies becomes overwhelming, so Darius retreats to a destroyed container and uses the Nano Rifle to repair its damaged exterior, sealing himself inside in order to recover from the brutal assault.

After this brief reprieve, we are returned into combat and Darius heads straight for a large Mech suit. Unlike the slow, lumbering industrial machines of Red Faction: Guerrilla, this is a fast, lithe exo-skeleton with machine guns and rocket launchers. The aliens are knocked aside with ease, as the Mech shoulder-barges its way through groups,  with ease killing those that remain with rockets and bullets.

It was a brief showing but it gave the impression that developer Volition has taken various criticisms that were aimed at the previous Red Faction to heart. It's tweaked or wholesale removed them, leaving only a satisfying destructive romp in its wake.

Red Faction: Armageddon is out next March for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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