Red Faction: Guerilla, you suspect, was an open world game purely as a result of the design limitations of destruction. It's difficult to create a more focused, story driven experience when you're only a single misdirected rocket away from destroying a crucial part of the level design. Yeah... that bridge you blew up when you got a little excited - you sorta needed to drive over that, not eviscerate it. For Red Faction: Armageddon, however, Volition has come up with a functional solution that's as simple as it is seamless.
If you destroy something, you can rebuild it.
Because Armageddon allows you to reverse destruction. It allows you to gleefully fire a rocket carelessly in the direction of that bridge, then use your magic/tech powers to quickly reverse the damage done - instantly, with the wave of your hand, and a quick push of the analogue stick.
In fact not only does Red Faction: Armageddon allow you to reverse the results of destruction, the design demands it. Progress in the game is dependent upon players using this new feature intelligently. Enemy AI will deliberately blast stairs to smithereens in order to protect their position, they will blast the ground under your feet. In some ways, the ability to rebuild the carnage wrought in combat situations is far more important than your ability to dole out destruction. In the more closed-in, tight universe of Armageddon, the ability to pick and chose when you destroy and when you rebuild is the key to success, and this results in a more satisfying, cerebral game experience.
But that's not to say you're being denied that raw pleasure of shooting the ever-living shit out of stuff and watching it crumble. Batman's man-butler Alfred once stated that some men just want to watch the world burn - and Red Faction allows you to set its universe on fire in a number of insane creative ways.
Our favourite is undoubtedly the magnet gun. Like all great ideas you wonder why you didn't think of such a thing yourself - fire at one point, then shoot at another, then watch as the two things you just shot are dragged together in a mad symphony of explody destuction. We look forward to the endless bout of youtube clips featuring this bad boy.
Red Faction: Armageddon, ultimately, is a game smart enough to restrict itself in order to push forward. Some may lament the fact that it's no longer set in an open world, but we welcome the move. Armageddon goes two steps forward, but takes one step back - and the magnet gun brings things together, because opposites attract.
And that ain't fiction - it's a natural fact.