With Red Faction Armageddon finished, I’ve now completed all of the games in the series. It’s been quite the undertaking, spending so much time with a franchise -- it’s 13 months since the very first entry of the Red Faction Diaries went live. 30 hours of gameplay and an equal number of these write-ups later, I’ve only got one job left before moving on to another franchise (because Deus Ex: Invisible War still doesn’t work on Windows 10…).
Armageddon was quite unlike the other games in the series, requiring much less thinking before doing. I can't think of a “horde style” game I've played before this, so the constant barrage of enemies wasn't as engaging as past titles. Even the GeoMod engine wasn't utilised as well as it was in Guerilla and the original game, and that’s arguably Red Faction’s main selling point.
It isn’t helped by the plot being pretty inconsistent, and lacking in certain information. For instance, Hale claims that the Mason’s have been a thorn in his family’s side for generations -- but that’s never expanded upon. A movie came out between Guerrilla and Armageddon (Red Faction Origins), but the game itself never even mentions events from it.
Nothing in the movie or the game explains why Mason didn’t repair the Terraformer in the months after everyone moved underground. As soon as S.A.M. mentioned that it could drive away the bugs, Mason instantly says “The Nano-Forge could [repair it]!” - the thing he’s had strapped to his arm since the start of the game. The start of the game where the Terraformer was blown up, and was safe enough to check for Hale’s body due to suspecting that he died in the blast…
But then I suppose we wouldn’t have had a game if they didn’t conveniently forget that the Nano-Forge could repair things. That’s literally it's one purpose throughout the game, but just forget that.
Each of the Red Faction titles focussed on some kind of minor force overcoming a much larger one. The miner uprising, enhanced supersoldiers overthrowing the government, the people of Mars wanting quality of life, and surviving against millions of inhuman beasts. It's not always been about rebellion but about survival, and rather than a soldier just being a one-man army it’s only Red Faction II that sees you as an actual soldier. Darius Mason is part of the militia, but only as part of the engineering corps, with Parker and Alec Mason literally just being miners thrown into an untenable situation.
Each title was also modelled after the current “big thing”; Half-Life, Halo, Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War. It's left me wondering what Red Faction 5 would be modelled after, if it were in development right now. Secret development, of course, because as far as anyone can tell the franchise has no plans for resurrection. Looking at recent trends, it wouldn’t be too unbelievable to see a MOBA, survival or action RPG -- maybe even a return to first-person shooter in some Titanfall/Call of Duty-esque storyline, and a heavy emphasis on multiplayer.
If you’re looking for a series to play through, there is a lot of fun to be had in Red Faction. Much the opposite of Star Trek movies, the even numbered ones are the dodgy ones, but even so you can still have fun blowing up walls. Pretty much any time there’s a sale on, you can pick up the Red Faction Collection for a price well worth 30 hours of your time -- more if you play multiplayer and the DLCs. The multiplayer in Guerilla is still regularly updated, so definitely worth checking out.
"You call this a guerrilla war? Get with the program, son! You gotta shout 'Red Faction' like you mean it. RED...FACTION!"