RAGE is the brand new semi-open world, first person shooter title from id Software and Bethesda. Since its announcement back in 2007, RAGE has had quite a following from gamers, due to its setting and unique mix of shooting and driving. With it being another game with a post-apocalyptic wasteland theme, will the game become a must have or will it just waste away?
Let’s find out and kick off the HOTs and NOTs.
RAGE mixes both slow and fast paced gameplay and for change the varying pace works well. Firefights are occasionally huge, with the player taking on a colossal enemy but normally they are kept small. This being said, every fire fight has an intense feeling to it, while flowing from one event seamlessly to the next. The dune buggy sections are just as entertaining as the shooting parts. With players able to hop in a buggy and zoom across the wasteland, as well as participate in races, the game would be fun even if players were stuck in the vehicles. The gameplay is one of the best parts of RAGE, it is not only well polished but most importantly it’s both fun and enjoyable.
The weapons in RAGE all have their own unique feel and attributes. Players will quickly find their favourite couple of guns to use through-out the game, for when on foot and against standard enemies. While RAGE doesn’t have the biggest collection of weapons, it still doesn’t seem lacking on the gun front. The game does however offer a large variety in types of weapons and even more interestingly bullet types.
Weapons range from rocket launchers and crossbows to assault rifles and pistols, but it is the bullets that add the true variety. Bullets range from Killbursts, which are most simply described as bullets within bullets, to Dynamite Bolts: while they are more common in video games, being explosive rounds, they are still great fun to use. Weapons don’t end with just guns; RAGE also has a unique boomerang style weapon called Wingsticks, which are devastating to opponents.
As soon as RAGE has loaded up, players will instantly notice the extremely high graphical levels, as well as the sheer size of the game. The setting is nothing original but unlike other games, RAGE has managed to bring some bright and colourful environments, in between the baron rolling landscapes. The visuals help emphasize that RAGE is not just another game on the shelves but one that wants to impress on all accounts.
In conjunction with the environments there are other aspects which look equally as amazing. From the buggies to the explosions that they cause, RAGE has some fascinating visual elements – for players to experience. In fact, the explosions look so good, players will find they use guns and on vehicle weapons, which make bigger explosions just to see them.
The visuals are well and truly matched by incredible in-game sounds. The eerie unnerving noises that enemies make before spring around corners, the sounds of the gunshots and vehicles racing across the wasteland and even the music which adds tension when you hoped the onslaught was over; they all add together to make an entertaining and engrossing title.
The story follows the only survivor, from what’s known as an Eden Project Ark, after an asteroid hits the Earth’s surface. The people that were sealed off in the Ark were almost certainly chosen, especially as now you are out the new government wants you dead. The storyline by no means starts strong. For the first hour of the game, it’s seemingly a rough basis to give the players numerous errands, to build up their knowledge of the controls. Fortunately, it picks up soon after with an interesting and intriguing plot.
As back stories form around characters and the story unfolds, players will find it increasingly harder to stop playing. During the game, players will find that the storyline develops without telling the player exactly what will happen. An example, which gives little away, is when it is mentioned getting a defibrillator upgrade will be hard work. The explanation is left unsaid, allowing players to find out exactly why by themselves. This is a nice touch because it allows players to be surprised in both a good and a bad way.
RAGE offers a number of interesting and rather unique takes on typical multiplayer game modes. The game modes are Carnage, a buggy related free for all mode, Chain Rally, collect as many consecutive rally positions for points, Meteor Rally, a race to collect the most meteors and return them to a location and finally Triad Rally, where players attempt to capture three rally points before anyone else. Out of the lot, I found Carnage and Chain Rally the most entertaining, yet other players may enjoy the other modes more, as it honestly depends on which you are best at.
RAGE also has a decent amount of online or split screen co-op content, which comes in the form of legends. These legends are just levels which range from, reclaiming Wellspring to stealing RC car plans: the overarching theme is however allowing you and a friend to kill a lot of bandits and mutants.
While usually driving the buggies around the wasteland is astounding, the game occasionally has a problem with spacing about objects. The issue isn’t game breaking by any means but it doesn’t draw from the appearance. With the game looking and sounding as good as it does, it’s odd to see the player crashing into seemingly nothing; where from the visuals there is nothing there yet the buggy still hits something.
The graphics and the textures in RAGE are amazing, except in the split second when they haven’t finished rendering. While the fast paced action scenes play out, the effects of the slow rendering go unnoticed, as the player is only focused on the enemies. However, when the game enters a slower paced portion the player has more time to enjoy the surroundings, which is when the texture popping is constantly visible. The extent of the texture popping is sporadically appalling. After watching a car texture pop once, I turned a full 360 degrees only to be confronted with it popping again.
Overall, RAGE is an entertaining game, with plenty of guns to be fired, enemies to down and fun to be had. While the game does generally look and sound amazing, the texture popping which is noticeable when the action subsides draws from the atmosphere and the absorption of the game. RAGE has plenty of hours to be enjoyed on both the storymode and the multiplayer elements, so if you’re looking for a title that’s satisfying in almost every aspect, look no further than RAGE.
[Editor’s Note: RAGE was reviewed on the PlayStation 3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]