Review: Red Faction Armageddon – ‘Path To War’ DLC
NOTE: This review of the ‘Path To War’ DLC for Red Faction Armageddon deals exclusively with this new add-on content. Since I presume that you have already played through the core game, or at least have an idea of the main gameplay mechanics, I will not be discussing these in detail.
While I do have both Red Faction and its sequel sitting on my shelf, I never got around to playing through them. Guerrilla (2009) was my first proper entry into the series and for the most part what I found was very enjoyable. Sure while there was a lot of driving vast distances, the respawning enemies could become tiresome, and of course lets not forget the difficulty spike on the last level, the core gameplay was fantastic! Having at it with a sledgehammer and watching buildings crumble was a new experience for many with destructibility in an open world. While there wasn’t any terrain deformation like the original two titles in the series, the large open mars landscape made up for it.
After a two year break, Armageddon (2011) appeared on the shelves, and for a lot of people….there were some problems. Gone was the open world, the side quests and the exploration, a sorry sight indeed, but what did we get in return? A tighter and more focused adventure through the caves of mars, playing to the strengths of this more linear third person shooter.
While Armageddon didn’t do so well at retail, and with THQ stating that they were not going to continue the series in a meaningful way, at least not for the time being, now is the perfect time to pick this title up with its low price.
The ‘Path To War’ Downloadable content pack has been sitting on Xbox Live, PSN and Steam for a while now, and appeared without much fanfare. At only 560 Microsoft points or £4.49/$6.99, what you get in return is a worth it…for the most part!
First of all, as all DLC should do, your abilities and progress carry over. This means that all those upgrades to your nano forge abilities (impact, shell, beserk) are present as you blast through this concentrated playground of destruction.
Variety is the key in this downloadable pack. Jumping through the timeline of the game, both before the attack on the Terraformer and during the main quest, these missions pick some of the best aspects of the core game, and with some added weapons, make for a short but sweet adventure.
Starting off in one of the aerial vehicles (similar to the level featured in the core game, although above ground), you play as the enemy blasting up some Red Faction camps, which just so happen to be full of large explosive silos, before switching sides and being placed in a tank, attempting to protect the Terraformer seen at the begging of the core game. After that you’re on foot with some new additions to the arsenal both above and below ground, and then…it ends, very abruptly.
If anything, the weakest aspect of ‘Path To War’ is the story. While the initial levels offer some context since they take place before the main campaign of the core game, the later levels feel a little lost. The levels themselves are a blast, but I didn’t feel a sense of progression or closure at the end of them, and the credits appear seemingly out of nowhere.
As mentioned earlier, you have some new friends to play with, namely the Shard Cannon and the Sharpshooter. The Shard Cannon offers up some interesting mechanics with its rather unique firing style. Instead of shooting a projectile, you fire bits of the environment, Holding the trigger forms a singularity of sorts, pulling all the loose debris from around you, then allows you to fire this off at an enemy. The Sharpshooter on the other hand takes a hint from the F.E.A.R series, firing huge spikes at high speeds, offering one shot kills for the most part and pins enemies to whatever they hit on their way. Unfortunately these weapons appear only in this extra content, and cannot be taken into the core game.
The levels themselves are a good length, but there aren’t very many of them, and you’ll most likely hit the end in less than an hour and half. The achievements/trophies are thrown at you at regular intervals, and apart from a few specific ones revolving around accumulating a certain number of kills with the new weapons, they are hard to miss.
Overall, I feel that this pack is definitely worth it if you enjoyed the core game. The short length may put some off, but the vehicle levels are a lot of fun and are the definite highlights, though the new weapons do add some variety to the on foot action. As mentioned earlier, the levels do seem a little sporadically placed, but as you take the magnet gun in hand, you’ll remember how much fun destruction can be!