Red Faction: Armageddon Eyes-On Impressions: Opposites Attract, With Deadly ForceS

Let's cut to the chase: You're gonna want to see Red Faction: Armageddon's magna-gun in action.

Sure, you're also gonna want to see the game's LEO suit, which provides that tasty, stompy ass-kicking brute force you've come to expect from mechas. But, when it was unveiled about midway through a 10-minute eyes-only demo of the game, the magna gun turned a visually impressive but conventional shooter into something I now want to get my hands on.

The magna gun, despite its name, works on more than just ferrous foes. You aim it at one object, then another, then it connects the dots - in a very violent way. Clearing out a mutant-bug infestation in subterranean Mars, our demonstrator demolished a two story structure in far less time than it would take with the LEO (or so I assume. More on LEO in a minute). He flung wedges of jersey wall into it, slammed it with hunks of an adjacent structure and then, when the bugs came, splattered them on it. Combine that with the game's destructible environments and you can see why this is a compelling weapon.

The only thing I did not see was two foes slamming into each other, so I don't know if that's an available stunt. In the big walls colliding example, it wasn't clear to me what object was the flinger and the flingee, or whether the first object always gets pulled. I was too busy doing hell-yeah fist pumps.

Combined with the trusty Nano Forge, which can reconstruct destroyed features (such as the jersey wall) from thin air, you can have a near-unlimited supply of ammo for big jobs. How good is this gun? Another very well known developer later told me he had the idea for his game a few years ago, but it was scrapped because it was too expensive and complex. So THQ's not messing around here.

Red Faction: Armageddon Eyes-On Impressions: Opposites Attract, With Deadly ForceS

Regarding the Nano Forge, it returns of course, but with its focus on reconstruction Darius can do some unconventional things, like seal himself inside a large container to recover from damage and plan his next move.

As for the LEO suit, we were given a brief showcase of its power after the magna gun. Darius Mason, whom I haven't even introduced as the game's protagonist yet, climbed inside when even bigger bugs jumped his convoy and demolished a gas tanker. The LEO wasn't impervious but it took a lot of heat, packed a strong energy weapon and a finishing melee stomp.

The rest of what we saw spoke of a shooter with some thought behind it. In the story, Darius is the grandson of Alec Mason and Samanya from Red Faction: Guerrilla. The humans have gone underground on Mars with the surface uninhabitable thanks to the failure of terraforming. Darius is said to be blamed for this infestation our demonstrator started clearing out, so we can expect some lone wolf narratives with a focus on redemption. The subterranean society is said to have taken 11 years to built and just a few days to overrun and annihilate. So we're not talking primitive caves and cramped environments, but very tall caverns with a blue hue and the glow of lava sources. Your perspective is in third person, zooming in when you're focusing on smaller enemies (like the bugs) a nice gamer assist.

Lots of shooter sequels get a shoulder shrug, especially if you're picking up midway through its continuity. In Red Faction: Armageddon, THQ's added some necessary new gameplay dynamics to keep folks interested and possibly recruit more to the cause.