|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Release: June 7, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
There's also a magnet gun—the first magnet you fire attaches to an object, and the second pulls the first toward it. I'm inclined to complain that it gets old quickly, and that the developers completely missed a golden opportunity to design puzzles around it. But if you play Armageddon as a summer blockbuster, the fact that you can use this gun to throw the game's plentiful explosive barrels around is more than enough to make you fall in love with it.
In the second half of the game, things open up a bit. The plot takes you above ground briefly, down into Mars's molten core, and then back to the surface for a tense finale. The more diverse set of environments fits the game well, and there are some terrific vehicle sections. In addition to a mech and a huge crawling spider, you get to pilot a small ship Descent-style, complete with six degrees of freedom. The controls here really shine on a console controller; they're basically just standard FPS controls, with face buttons used to ascend and descend. (Given that Halo: Reach included a section clearly inspired by Freespace, perhaps space shooters from the '90s will live on within the FPS genre?)
The one thing that's missing from the summer blockbuster shooter formula is competitive multiplayer. Given how fun deathmatch could be with destructible environments, that's a shame. Instead, we're limited to two variations on Horde mode. In one, you simply survive as wave after wave of enemies attack, and in the other, you have to defend a point on the map against the enemies.
An additional single-player mode, Ruin, is something like Burnout's Crash mode: you just do as much damage as you can, and if you score highly enough, you unlock a new map. Like the multiplayer modes, this is fun, but hardly indispensable. And in a somewhat annoying move, THQ made Ruin mode inaccessible without a code, so it won't be included for renters and used game buyers. (The download is too small to contain much of anything, so I suspect the code merely unlocks material that's already on your game disc.)
If you were one of the people who bought Red Faction: Guerrilla and loved it, this game will disappoint you. Two of Guerrilla's most impressive features (the story and the open world) are gone, and a third (the sledgehammer) isn't as fun this time around. But if you look at the game this way, you're missing the point. Armageddon is about taking the tried-and-true formula of a cinematic third-person shooter, adding destructible environments and a few gimmicks, and watching the money roll in. If you want to mow down some high-definition aliens and can't wait until Gears of War 3 comes out, this is the game for you.
CCC Contributing Writer