Review by Sgt_Foley
"APATHY would be a more fitting title."
id really is a strange developer.
Every time they announce a game, it generally looks really good in previews, but when it's actually released, they tend to feel more like a glorified tech demo than anything else. Doom 3 is by far the worst offender in this category, as it tried to take the formula from the first two Doom games (Shoot everything in sight), and apply a System Shock-esque horror formula to it, with rather negative results. Doom 3 was only unnerving at best until you got your hands on the Shotgun, after which all attempts at horror (Repetitive jump scares that telegraph themselves too much to even qualify as "startling") became laughable. This is doubly sad, because despite having good graphics for the time and playing up those graphics significantly (As nearly every id game that wasn't the first two Doom games did), the actual gameplay suffered. Compared to the first two Doom games and other games released near the same time (Halo, Half-Life 2, etc), it felt very bland and soulless.
It surprises me that people defend id and call them a "pure FPS" developer, and I think it's simply people hanging on to that bit of nostalgia that the original Doom/Quake/etc gave them back in the good old days when id was actually relevant and a good developer. There's no excuse for how bland it feels; Painkiller is a far better throwback to the pure FPS days, and Serious Sam is a series that also does great at emulating that same feeling, while still EVOLVING.
Back in the previous version of this review, I said I would update when I completed the game. However, this ended up being a case of me being way too optimistic, as the game bored me so much that I had no drive or desire to complete it, so with that in mind, here's my dissection of the game. If you are a fan of Rage, or id in general, I would recommend not reading any further as I am about to say some not very nice things about either of them. I've kept some of the text from my original "in progress" review in, since the points still apply, but there will be plenty of new, slightly less forgiving text in the review now.
Graphics - 7/10
Even after abandoning this game out of boredom, I still feel that the graphics are still the strongest aspect of the game. Of course, why wouldn't they be? id only ever really concentrates on graphical fidelity, at the cost of everything else. And when you consider that, the graphics look merely "Quite good", the 22gb install is absurd. There is nothing particularly stellar in the graphical aspect, and despite the smooth 60 fps, the game just feels really unoptimized. There are a surprising amount of muddy textures, the draw distance is curiously small, and the little details (Railings looking pixelated (I thought you said you could FIX that, Carmack!), lack of dynamic lighting/shadows) add up to form a big mess. id doesn't seem to understand that graphical fidelity should not come at the cost of content. Those 22 gb could have been better spent adding some more content and giving the player more incentive to play. But of course, they lack in this area, and "id"iot fanboys will defend them for making a "pure fps" (Which, as I outlined above, Rage is not.) It's just kind of confusing and a little stupid.
Sound - 4/10
No idea why I was so forgiving of the sound earlier. After listening a little more closely, it all just sounds kind of flat. Character voice acting is acceptable, but I'm not here to say good things about the game right now, so it's faint praise at best. The gun sounds are really weird, and with exception to the pistol, none of them really seem to fit the guns they belong to. The music is probably the only real saving grace, but it's so inconsequential and quiet that I can't give the game credit for its usage.
Story - 2/10
Once again, not really much to say here. It's an id game. Anyone who plays id's games for the story is playing them for the wrong reason. While I've rated the story low, I'm not really counting it against the game, as it was never the developer's intent to create an epic, complicated web of a plot in the manner of Deus Ex. I give it a low score because it's not a good plot, but it won't factor into my final score. The set-up does its job well enough (I won't go into it due to how non-essential it is) and that's all that matters.
I still feel this way about the story even though I abandoned the game. The story really doesn't matter, since this is id after all. Was Doom 2's story a masterpiece? No. It wasn't. Was it passable enough to not get in the way of the awesome gameplay? Absolutely. So I can give id a free pass in this regard, but some evolution in the future would be preferable.
Gameplay - 5/10
Now we're getting to the important part of any id game (Other than their annoying tendency to play up their engine and graphics), the gameplay. To its credit Rage plays very well. The main gameplay is FPS, as that's id's specialty (They more or less codified the genre with Wolfenstein 3d, after all), with a surprisingly good racing aspect that really deserves to be expanded on in the inevitable Rage 2. The gunplay is solid, if mostly unremarkable, and the buttery smooth 60 frames per second really helps in a game like this, where unlike a game like Battlefield 3 (that has to fit in destruction, a huge amount of players and vehicles while still maintaining sexy graphics), not too much is going on at once, allowing for a higher framerate and thus, smoother combat. id shows their prowess with the shooter gameplay yet again, so I won't really touch on it much more. If you've played their other games, you know how the gameplay is.
What does deserve to be touched on more is the racing aspect of the game, a surprisingly solid aspect that honestly could be expanded on, or even made into its own game. The vehicles (Mostly dune buggies or variations of) handle nicely, have a good degree of customization, and are overall a blast to drive. It's especially fun when you finally get weapons on your vehicle and get to engage in car combat, which is extremely fun and tense.
Less fun is the fact that the actual RACES in the game tend to be plagued with some nasty rubberbanding issues from the A.I., and it really kills the fun these races have. Hopefully, whenever Rage 2 comes out, they fix this annoying issue by giving the A.I. better programming rather than relying on artificially increasing the difficulty.
Once again, pretty much the same thing here. Gameplay itself is actually alright.
Overall - 3/10 (Not an average)
I have no idea why I initially was forgiving to this game. After Doom 3, I figured I'd have learned my lesson. But nope, it took me another $60 to remind myself of why I disliked modern id in the first place. I guess I really just wanted to give the game and id a chance, but I guess time makes fools of us all. Either way, I regret purchasing this game, and I will probably never give id another chance.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 10/07/11, Updated 10/20/11
Game Release: Rage (Anarchy Edition) (US, 10/04/11)
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