Red Faction: Armageddon
We've all said it once or twice. Sometimes after we spill some coffee or get an overdraft statement from the bank. And sometimes an "oops" moment can be quite a bit bigger than that.
But I doubt very seriously that any of your "oops" moments risked the future of an entire planet.
So be glad you're not Darius Mason. Just like that air traffic controller who fell asleep on the job, Darius made one eensy-weensy mistake: While working for the militant organization Red Faction on the planet Mars, he was kinda sorta tricked into destroying something called a Terraformer. Hey, no biggie, right? Well, actually, the Terraformer was quite big, and it was the only thing keeping the red planet's surface halfway habitable. Once the Terraformer went kablooey, Darius and every other person living there were forced into underground mines where they spend their lives getting paler and grumpier by the day.
But we're all taught not to let one little mistake get us down, right? So Darius, with admirable pluck, moves on. Five years later, he's working as a miner, eking out a reasonable existence in Mars' grand, dark interior. That's when a mysterious someone hires him to poke around an old subterranean temple—particularly a mysterious sealed-off portion of it. Darius digs right through the seal … and is promptly knocked unconscious by a bright blue beam.
When he wakes days later, he learns that an aggressive alien race called The Plague is issuing out of a newly dug tunnel and attacking humanoids by the bushel. Oh, and the tunnel? Yeah, it's the one Darius dug.
Darius clearly has his hands full in Red Faction: Armageddon. It's not just the fact that he has to deal with legions of vicious and spiny aliens that he helped awaken. It's not just the fact that he's gotta contend with the strange cult, led by nefarious and whacked-out evildoer Adam Hale, who wanted them let loose. He also must steer clear of all the innocent citizens of Mars who are really, really miffed that he's nearly destroyed their planet … twice.
Thankfully for Darius, he has plenty of weapons at the ready—in particular the near-magical Nano Forge, which allows him to destroy (and sometimes repair) massive structures with the push of a button or two. It's like a weird combination of a rechargeable drill and Star Wars' Force.
As a consequence, the real draw of this game is to tear down whole sections of the Martian underworld like a toddler would destroy a sand castle. In fact, gaming publication IGN tells us, "Red Faction: Armageddon is good fun for letting out your inner destructive child."
The violence here isn't outrageously heinous by the genre's standards: The body count is high, but many of Darius' targets are dispatched at some distance, and most of them are non-human. Still, we see him covered in blood (both alien and his own). And cutscenes involve beheadings. We observed one character being skewered by an alien tentacle and lifted off the ground.
Sexuality is—again for the genre—reasonably restrained, sequestered to the formfitting clothing worn by a buxom helpmate of Darius'—with whom he gets romantic and shares a kiss.
But while these Martian transplants may be modest in their sexual behavior, they're far less restrained when it comes to language. F- and s-words dot the landscape, along with scads of other curses. God's name is used in vain, sometimes paired with "d‑‑n." And since we can't begin to fathom the sorts of profane words the aliens are using, let's just assume they're horrible.
There's also a certain occult vibe that permeates the game's thin air. Hale leads a group of outcasts that seems able to control demon-like beings. And Darius' own mysterious Nano Forge can feel, at times, darkly magical.
Oh, and one more odd note we must add: At the end of the game, a new weapon called "Mr. Toots" is unlocked. Essentially, it looks like a very tiny horse that shoots a laser beam from its rear.
Clearly you can buy far more egregious M-rated games than Red Faction: Armageddon. But that's a little like saying you can wrestle far more dangerous beasts than a buffalo. While it might be true, it all leads to the same place: bruises, broken bones, a numbed mind and perhaps an unspoken "oops."