Review by skratchmasta

Reviewed: 10/20/11

Lush visuals and solid shooter elements stand out in what is ultimately a shallow experience.

Lush visuals and solid shooter elements stand out in what is ultimately a shallow experience.

There’s a certain expectation, or standard, when buying a product from id Software. We’ve come to expect a high quality of visuals and a flawless application of shooting mechanics. This is simply the focal point of every game released by id, to astound the eye with appearances and entertain the mind with gameplay. Truth be told, this glosses over a few negatives as constant in id’s games as the positives. Rarely will these be the epics that engross you with story development, or make you generally take an interest in the characters. In fact, id Software gaming could be the ultimate realization of a first-person shooter, where everything happens in front of the character with little regard to what’s behind the view. Rage, does nothing to change these assumptions.

The story of Rage revolves around the main character being a survivor of an asteroid collision on Earth. Spirited away and locked in a state of suspended animation, the character is meant to be a part of a group that will continue the survival of humanity. The game begins with awakening from the sleeping pod and being thrust out into a wasteland full of bandits, mutants, and the mysterious Authority. It starts with high promise, rejoining a world that has continued on while you slept, figuring out your purpose, and ultimately making an impact in your rediscovered world. Unfortunately, the story falls flat about 3 hours in when you realize that the game’s concept of advancing the storyline revolves around you helping everyone around with the most basic of tasks. Rage almost makes you wonder how exactly the people in these towns survived without you, as it seems that you are the only friendly person in the Wasteland with driving and shooting skills. The game also features a weird sort of gating initially which is a massive roadblock to the idea that this is an open world sandbox. You’ll be required to complete certain missions to gain supposedly necessary weapons or vehicle to continue. It’s a disjointing and jarring experience to say the least. Worse still, once the player gets the necessary equipment to continue they’ll find that outside the main quest there’s really no use exploring. Not to say there aren’t other things to do, there’s tons of sidequests and a whole racing circuit to go through. Unfortunately, these both continue to make the world seem small by instantly taking you to the location of the mission or the race respectively. Nothing diminishes the size and grandeur of a fictional world more succinctly than a “go to mission start” selection.

The strength of Rage’s shooting is not something to be taken lightly. Characters you’ll fight serpentine, somersault, and sprint through dimly lit corridors to attack you. Armed with some truly meaty weapons, you’ll drive back hundred of these assaults with no two times feeling the same. Guns featuring ammos with varying effects coupled with grenades, deployable turrets, and bladed boomerangs keep the action lively. Enemy reactions to bullets are realistic and thrilling; a couple shots to the legs and an enemy will literally fall to the ground and shoot from a seated position. Detailed touches like this will hopefully make Rage a standard for which enemy AI and simple shooting mechanics are judged.

Obviously the visuals in Rage are incredible. The textures rendered are beautiful and make every inch of the Wasteland look like a technical marvel. Rage also particularly impressed me with the in-character sequences. Early in the game you’ll fall into a trap and become immobilized, most games would show this in a cutscene, but Rage instead flips the world upside down through the player’s eyes and shows what’s happening in your line of vision. It’s a great moment and makes you feel as though you’re a part of the action. The animation detail to the faces of the characters you meet is also stunning. Rage seems to find the perfect line between smooth framerates and incredible visuals. It’s hard to not go on about the quality of the graphics in Rage. To summarize it, it’s a typical id Software achievement.

The online play for Rage is almost shamefully simple. Mostly consisting of racing elements from the single-player campaign, the player can partake in a few modes of vehicular combat. While this can be fun for a time, most players who have finished the regular campaign will probably have grown bored with the vehicle moments of Rage. Also, the Legends of the Wasteland mode is a chance for players to cooperatively take on quests similar to the side missions from the regular game. There’s a point system that makes it somewhat entertaining, but again, most players who have finished the game are probably burnt out on the simplicity and general mindlessness of these tasks.

Ultimately, Rage is a beautiful game with quality shooting gameplay. That’s it. The story dissipates quickly, the characters aren’t memorable, the background is cliché, and the online components are tacked on. Simply, Rage is a good game that culminates in being one simple thing.

Final Review

-Definite rental, take it for a few days , finish it, and save yourself the buyer’s remorse

Reviews by Sean Phagan

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Rage (US, 10/04/11)

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