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Red Faction: Armageddon "Ruin Mode" Hands-On

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: 3rd Person: Action

This past week, I had an opportunity to check out Red Faction: Armageddon’s Ruin mode and Infestation mode at an event in San Francisco. I was looking forward to the game as fellow staffer Kirby Y had a chance to check out the game at a THQ event in New York earlier this year and he was particularly optimistic about the latest game in the Red Faction series. Before I get into detail about Red Faction: Armageddon’s Infestation mode, I will just provide you with some of my experiences with Red Faction: Armageddon’s Ruin mode.

In a nutshell, Ruin mode for Red Faction: Armageddon is a fast paced game filled with large scale destruction. Blowing up as much stuff as possible within a short time limit is the name of the game. Several media and community folks had a chance to play one of Ruin mode maps. This level was filled with tall water tower-like structures, exploding barrels, giant exploding silos, futuristic cement buildings, a broken bridge and lot of other items and buildings that are seen in single player portion of the game. Visually, it is a stunning looking map and needless to say there is plenty to fire at with the many weapons available in your arsenal.

Just before you start a game, which lasts only 60 seconds in duration unless you are awarded bonus time, you get to select your weapon load-out. There are 4-weapons you can include from. In the game you can select any of the four weapons by simply pressing on your D-pad; however, if you are looking obtain a good score you won’t want to change up your weapons too much as you should have a weapon in mind and stick with it for the duration of the game as 60 seconds if not enough time to fart around looking for the best weapon to take down the maps many structures. My preference was the Rocket Launcher and Plasma Cannon. The Plasma Cannon seemed to be a favorite for the other folks playing the game as well. As the name would imply, the Plasma Cannon is heavier weapon and to say that it packs a punch is an understatement. By simply pulling the right trigger, holding it down for a couple of seconds, and then releasing it, sends off a powerful burst of plasma destruction which penetrates structures and blasts right on through them. The results are devastating and a well placed shot will have you taking down several structures all at once. Taking them down all at once earns you big points. The more stuff you take down with one shot the higher your score as the combo modifier kicks in and you are racking up big time points. Pull off killer multipliers and you awarded some valuable bonus time. It only amounted to 15 seconds but those 15 seconds are critical when attempting to obtain a high score. As you would guess, there is quite a bit of strategy involved in obtaining a high score.

Towards the end of the hands-on time with Red Faction: Armageddon, the developers had us all competing with one another in to see who could get the highest score in Ruin mode. At stake was merely bragging rights but man I wanted to at least crack the top 10. Unfortunately, I don’t think I even cracked the top 15. The highest score of the day exceeded 21,000,000. Getting a score over 20,000,000 involves a bit of luck and sharp ability to aim, fire and hit your targets in quick and accurate manner. Obviously, aiming your weapon and firing at certain vulnerable points of the various structures is the key to taking down multiple targets. For most structures, I found aiming low and near one of those exploding barrels resulted in higher scores. Chain together devastating explosive combinations and you can earn some of that valuable bonus time. The results can be extremely satisfying and made for some highly competitive moments as players re-started the game after poor starts. I must have played over 20-games on Ruin mode just to try and beat the high score. The closest I ever came was 20,000,100. Not a bad score but did not even crack the top ten with this group.

Red Faction: Armageddon’s Ruin mode also features some "game to web" integration as your score can be compared with others on Xbox LIVE via Leaderboards. This aspect should be addicting for many. Get a group and try to battle it out for the highest score could be hoot, not to mention being able to earn youself some bragging rights. We only had a chance to play one of the modes maps but I am sure there will be many at launch. Unfortunately, I am not aware how many maps will be available.

Overall, the Ruin mode is a blast and is nice little add-on to a game which at this points looks like it has plenty to offer. With a deep, rich, and engaging single player mode, and a slick 4-player co-op mode (which I get into more detail in my Infestation mode hands-on preview), Ruin mode will surely be enjoyable for those who pick up the game. Granted players likely won’t invest nearly the same amount of time in Ruin mode as they will in the single or multiplayer aspects of the game; yet, Ruin mode is perfect filler for those looking to mix up their Red Faction: Armageddon experience.


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