sore thumbs

July 14, 2011 |
by Matthew Scott Hunter


'Red Faction: Armageddon'

Enjoy the sheer joy of destruction

(M) ***1/2


Xbox 360


Few games capture the sheer joy of wanton destruction quite like "Red Faction." With its elaborate structures and meticulously detailed physics, this series is basically a house of cards begging to be knocked down. Like its predecessors, "Armageddon" arms you with ridiculously overpowered weapons and gives you plenty of vaguely futuristic buildings to destroy on the red planet. A first for the series is a new tool that allows you to rebuild destroyed environments. While this initially seems contrary to the spirit of the game, you soon find that it comes in handy when you need to re-establish a route you just destroyed or rebuild cover that is being shot down around you in a firefight. It turns out that fixing things can be almost as fun as destroying them. Almost.

Bringing aliens into the equation, the plot of "Armageddon" winds up being far more linear and derivative than previous stories in the series, but the extra-terrestrial conflict provides plenty of subterranean set-pieces to destroy. And the new magnet gun is an ingenious toy, allowing for creative carnage. Fire a first shot at one object and a second shot at another, and then watch gleefully as the lighter of your two targets is sucked into a collision with the other. It's a nice way to crash an adversary into the ceiling or collapse a building on top of a big boss. The possibilities are endless. CV