Written by Chris Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com
Introduction and Synopsis
Conceived as a prequel for the next game in the Red Faction series -- Red Faction: Armageddon -- Battlegrounds will be available exclusively as DLC via Microsoft Live and the Play Station Network Store. The events in Battlegrounds take place shortly before those of Armageddon -- which takes place roughly 45-years after those of Red Faction: Guerrilla.
In Armageddon the Terraform Engine that provided the red planet with a breathable atmosphere has been destroyed along with much of the surface settlements as a result of a massive meteor strike, forcing the human colonists into the very mines that they had come to Mars to dig. After converting many of the older mines into habitable settlements, and connecting the different underground cities together by boring new tunnels, the central focus of the plot for Armageddon surrounds a mysterious race of evil creatures who have been inadvertently released when miners are tricked into reopening an ancient mine shaft beneath the surface, reawakening the long-dormant creatures.
In Battleground the player takes control of a variety of heavily-armed vehicles and can play both in cooperative and PvP modes. The game features up to 4-players on the same screen, with confirmed split-screen play, and up to 8-players via online play. In addition to vehicle battles the game includes a series of objective-based missions and the ability to discover new salvage points -- the latter aspect perhaps related to the recent confirmation by developers that Battlegrounds would contain unlock-able items for Armageddon, which will likely add to its attraction for fans of the series.
Designed to appeal to the established fans of the Red Faction series, developers admitted at E3 that it likely would have limited appeal for new players who are not already familiar with the underlying themes and strategy in the game.
Battleground breaks away from the established First-Person / Third-Person Shooter style of previous games of the series, presenting as a top-down RTS title that is focused upon the vehicles rather than the player characters, allowing the player to use the big guns mounted on their vehicle to wreak havoc all over the planet surface.
While no official position has been offered by Volition to explain the deviation, the fact that Battlegrounds is an RTS-like design rather than an FPS or TPS title has prompted speculation within the online gaming community -- and particularly the Red Faction online social networks -- that Volition is following the trail that was blazed by Microsoft Game Studios with its Halo Series.
In particular comparisons to Halo: Wars, the rather short but popular RTS-based game created by Ensemble Entertainment and positioned between the releases of Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, has been held up as an explanation, with fans arguing that Volition appears to be tapping into that market example with Battlegrounds.
If that is genuinely the case, Volition has demonstrated its ability to learn from the mistakes of others, considering that it is releasing Battlegrounds as DLC rather than as a boxed game, which was how Halo: Wars was released and was a source of considerable criticism at the time.
A direct tie-in to the Red Faction: Armageddon in the form of unlock-able in-game items may make all the difference for this title, which is expected to be available via XBox Live and PSN by Christmas 2010.
Street Date: Winter 2010/Spring 2011
Platforms: XBox 360 / PS3
Official Content Ratings: ESRB Rating: T BBFC: 15
Posted: 3rd Nov 2010
Tags: Red Faction: Battlegrounds,