"A great presentation and tons of content."
Oversaturation and first person shooter (FPS) are thrown around a lot in the recent decennium. Just like the phrase ‘pc gaming is dead,’ this only alludes to the people that see only negatives in genres. And since id Software is largely responsible for both these worlds being created, one can only think how they could break away from their own stereotype in Rage. It is probably exactly with this mind frame that the developer set out to create some of the most original content to release in a while.
Enter the world of Rage. Bask in the glorious destruction.
Fit into a large, open world filled with crisp visuals and color shading, Rage switches between vibes seamlessly with mutants, westerns and the futuristic apocalypse deal everyone knows. Unfortunately, a noticeable issue in the game is the consistent texture pop-in, which will always occur if moving. It’s disappointing when seeing just how detailed the world is loaded in, to know half the time textures will get faded. Luckily, it’s a mindset adjustment away from enjoying the otherwise pristine vibe in the game. The character models look and feel astounding and make use of excellent physics. But the absolute pinnacle is the great score, which creates the appropriate feel at all times and knows how to considerably enhance tense situations in particular. A mutant lair, complete with dripping puss over the screen, is just that much more claustrophobic with startling strings in the background.
The distinct factor that makes Rage original is that it goes above and beyond when trying to create a face for itself. Most would simply use vehicles as variety, but this FPS fleshes out an entire vehicular combat section, both in races and free roam challenges. Cars are used to drive through the wasteland to mission sections, which are also divided by roaming bandits to blast. Additionally, by winning races, special car currency can be used to upgrade vehicles with more power or weaponry. It’s a unique way to build up, even if there are only 4 cars.
An FPS portion is as traditional as to be expected from the creators of the genre and comes with both good and bad parts. The good is that this developer knows exactly how to make for satisfying shootouts. The weaponry is the most singular varying to be used in a while, with each weapon actually making a difference and all having satisfactory payoffs. Using a cross, 4 weapons can be fast equipped with a set of interchangeable ammo and all blows connect with different force, but even the standard pistol packs a punch. There’s definitely room for switches between an all-purpose assault rifle, the powerful close range shotgun or a futuristic rifle with better scope. Certainly when balancing ammo and accessories such as grenades or the oh-so-fun mechanical spider turrets, there will be different options for different situations. Does any other game use explosive RC cars?
The bad part of tradition is that missions are linear to the point of almost being on-rails. While the world gradually opens up with tons of content, all missions will be plagued by invisible walls and will guide the player to go exactly where needed. It offers a false sense of freedom that is rarely altered, even if there are spare Easter eggs in the form of classic FPS areas, such as the Doom or Wolfenstein room.
Additionally, and this is true for both FPS and racing, the game movement is based on the floating, slippery feel of old. Luckily, it’s nothing that again can’t be adjusted to, especially when considering the racing portion. Each car has a distinct feel, so it definitely pays to get accustomed to a vehicle. Also, the lack of friction gives the shooter aspect a faster pace, beyond the already sizeable action of charging enemies and adaptive artificial intelligence (AI). It can be a little nerving, but at least it will keep the adrenaline flowing; more so than the aggravating panting when the regenerative health system reaches an end.
Additional originality is also used in the multiplayer, where traditional deathmatches are traded for something completely different. Players can either take the race portion to a full-fledged, car combat online competition or team up to play separate missions cooperatively. This also adds up the sum of the campaign, lasting 15 hours on its own, to a grand total; certainly when taking in consideration all other mini-games spread throughout the Wasteland universe.
But for all that glory, the main campaign lacks a punch in one particular area. The lack of story isn’t that bothersome, as there is just enough lore to drive the killing machine. It’s the final challenge that is the true damper on the fun; concluding in a lackluster finish that feels like any standard mission and after introducing a powerful gun only moments before. The final moments of Rage will be spent in disbelief, as so little is done right to properly conclude this otherwise enjoyable masterpiece.
Sick of raging alone? Rage lets you rage with another rageaholic.
Still, for the little qualms here and there, Rage does well to create an original and downright solid experience with a great presentation and tons of content. From a creator of stereotypes, it’s nice to see them create a game that is the furthest away from any of those pitfalls. And while it may not be the first choice of spoon-fed fanatics; only true naysayers can deny the sheer quality that Rage brings to the table in both shooting and racing alike. It’s like playing a game within a game!