The Red Faction series has always been a bit of a mixed bag. After Factions Volition decided to take a different tack with the man crushes all on Mars formula by transforming it from an open-world game into a story-driven corridor shooter and the result was good, but not brilliant. Existing fans of the series complained about linearity, but new fans enjoyed what was actually a very decent plot with Darius Mason, descendent of previous games protagonists, neutralising a monster invasion and taking down the Cultists who brought it all about.
All the loose ends were tied together succinctly, with literally hundreds of explosions set off and buildings collapsed along the way. There was no need for any supplemental story content, yet that’s exactly what Path to War brings to the table.
The sixty minute long content places gamers on both sides of the war to determine Mars’ future, with sections involving Mallus; Cultist Hale’s second in command, Darius Mason and a brief spell as a soldier named Gomez.
A large part of the experience involves taking control of a tank and the cultist’s Apache-like flying machinary. When at the helm of these vehicles it’s simply a case of following a pre-determined path and blowing the frag out of enemies, buildings and vehicles in your way. It’s fun to see insignificant foes get propelled into the air following volleys of missiles, but it’s all a bit brainless.
The timeline sways all over the place with players first tasked with taking down the Terraformer which caused all of Marskind to go underground in Armageddon, but then there’s a section post insect/alien outbreak, with a brief cutscene to mark the shift. It just feels weird as rather than offer up a different experience, Volition has seemingly just slapped together all the sequences that didn’t make the cut in Armageddon.
None of the content feels like it shouldn’t belong in the campaign, or worse yet isn’t good enough to be there, instead it’s more likely that Volition didn’t have the time to get these five sections in.
The highlights are undoubtedly the on-foot sections where players once again assume the role of Darius Mason, this time enhanced by two new weapons; the Shard Cannon and Sharpshooter. The Shard Cannon is a bit like the Gravity Gun from Half Life where you can propel all the surrounding debris towards the direction of an enemy, often taking out handful of foes at a time, and the stake-firing Sharpshooter which can kill and attach an enemy to nearby walls and scenery. Only the Shard Cannon can really hold a candle to Armageddon’s real star, the Magnet Gun, nevertheless these are nifty additions to this title’s attractive arsenal.
The rest of the gameplay is exactly the sort you’ll find in the regular campaign, with bugs to squish, generators to rebuild and Cultists to propel head-first into rocks above. So much so, that Path to War would function as a pretty good demo for Armageddon, it’s just a shame that it isn’t standalone. Perhaps that’s why this slice of the campaign can be snapped up for a rather cheap rate, priced at less than £5, as it doesn’t really add anything special or unique to the latest Red Faction which isn’t in the spirit of what DLC is all about.
Path of War is a fun slice of Red Faction Armageddon with the addition of a couple of new weapons and an underwhelming tank. If you’re looking for a reason to go back to Armageddon after finishing the campaign, it provides a good enough reason to jump back in, but it isn’t anyway near an essential purchase.
Tags: Red Faction Armageddon
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