There are times when Red Faction: Armageddon is great: when you're firing rockets at the pillars supporting a bridge and watching the Martians on top get swallowed by rubble, or using the Magnet gun to send an explosive barrel into an alien-infested structure and creating a firework display of bodies and debris. But outside of these isolated instances, Armageddon doesn't have a whole lot to offer.
From the bald-headed tattoo-armed protagonist, to tired enemy design and generic objectives - Armageddon feels like a hodgepodge of everything the third-person shooter genre has done a hundred times before. To be clear, the mechanics underpinning the game are sound; there's little to flaw here in terms of design. But the experience as a whole is uninspired.
Blame Darius Mason. He's the reason you'll fight a seemingly endless horde of bug-like aliens - the root cause of Armageddon on Mars. And even though he was tricked into awakening this long-dormant race of evil Martians by an evil Marauder priest, the guilt of being fooled into doing so spurs him onwards to purge the lot of 'em from the planet. So while the colonists of Mars might think Darius is one of the bad guys (and he has a sharp tongue to match this perception), we know otherwise.
The ten-hour campaign that ensues involves tracking down the fanatical bastard that set the wheels of the Armageddon in motion, and riddling anything that stands in your way with bullets. Lots of things stand in your way. After three or four hours of employing the same tactics to kill the same three or four enemy types, things start to get tiresome. Objectives such as "defend the convoy!" and "collect the power cells!" do very little to mask the repetitive flow of play.
The second half of the game is more interesting. Vehicular interludes break up long stretches of gunplay, with even a dreaded turret shooting gallery offering a welcome change of pace. You'll plod about in mech-suits and pilot mechanical scorpions, each with its own infinite supply of rockets and lasers. In the final hours of the game, there's certainly more variety to the action and the pace ramps up considerably because of it. While vehicles aren't as numerous as they were in Guerrilla, these sections of the game hold up well.
There's certainly no shortage of interesting weaponry. In addition to the usual slew of pistols and shotguns, there are nano-rifles, plasma guns and rocket launchers. As well as being functionally interesting (the nano-rifle disintegrates an enemy on impact), they're brought to life with some impressive aural accompaniment. The shotgun is particularly good, delivering its load with a hearty boom. Sound design on the whole is fantastic, with haunting sci-fi melodies juxtaposing the destruction on screen.