Over the course of a relatively small number of games, the Red Faction series has already been home to a number of diverse gameplay styles: first person shooter, third person shooter, sandbox game. Get ready to add another genre to the list, as the first downloadable Red Faction game is, of all things, an arcade-style multiplayer vehicular combat game.
Set to come to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network during the first week of April, 2011, Red Faction: Battlegrounds features fast-attack vehicles, heavy tanks, and combat walkers squaring off in highly destructible environments.
Eric Barker, studio manager for Red Faction: Armadeggdon developer Volition, says of Battlegrounds:
"If Armageddon is a big meal, Battlegrounds is a quick, little snack. It's fun. You're just going to blow each other up and go crazy. It's a blast."
Drew Holmes, designer for Armageddon, seems to agree:
"It's a great little bite-sized thing to keep people engaged in the universe and still have a lot of fun. It's about leading up and building awareness, to say, hey guys, we're coming out with this awesome game and here's something cool to tide you over until now."
Along with the announcement of the game's release week, a number of new Red Faction: Battlegrounds screens have been released. Take a look:
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The game certainly seems to look good enough, as well it should. The in-game vehicle models are the same as those used in Red Faction: Guerrilla and Red Faction: Armageddon. That said, many of the environments in the screens appear exceedingly small, which may not lend the game a great deal of long term playability. The most intriguing of the screens is the scaled out jungle level which almost resembles a race track. Could racing be a part of Battlegrounds, much as it was in Scrap Metal?
Two things pop to mind as I consider Red Faction: Battlegrounds. The first is that the control had better be inherently engaging, and somewhat unique to each vehicle. Piloting the combat walker should feel significantly different from zipping around in the fast attack vehicle.
The second issue is the price of the game. The developers at Volition seem resolute in their opinion that Battlegrounds is a small, "bite-sized" game. As such, it should come with an equally bite-sized price. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero set something of a precedent for these sorts of companion games with its $5 price tag. Let's hope that Battlegrounds is as much fun, and as affordable.
Ranters, what do you think of downloadable companion games to larger retail titles? Do they expand the experience of the main game, or are they basically advertisements that you're expected to pay for?
Red Faction: Battlegrounds is due out the first week of April, 2011, for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Red Faction: Armageddon is due out May 31, 2011, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.