QuakeCon 2011: Rage First Impressions

Amidst the sizzling streets of Dallas, Texas there lies a convention known as QuakeCon. This year I had the unique opportunity to go and play id Software’s first title in six years. It has been a long time coming, but Rage is finally arriving soon.

id Software essentially created the genre of first person shooters with Wolfenstein 3D back in 1992. Since then, id has developed some of the most notable games that push, shape, and mold the genre including Quake and Doom.  Rage is the new game from the Dallas based studio and it looks like id has once again stepped up to the plate, pushing graphical fidelity over the top.

Booting up the game I am treated to a cutscene detailing how the world came to be a barren wasteland, and what role the player has in that world. While a giant asteroid hurdles towards Earth, a lucky few are enrolled into the Ark project. This experiment injects the subjects with Nanotrites and sticks them in a cryogenic pod buried in the earth to save them from the approaching doom.

In good apocalypse story fashion, I wake early and it seems the others Ark candidates may be dead. I am alone in the unknown. Reluctantly, I open the door to take my first look at the new life I will have to live. Similar to Fallout, blinding white light fills the screen as I step forward. A vast expansive wasteland lay before me. Looking around, I see only one path leading towards the strange new world.

Two mutated bandits suddenly jump on me, starving and ready to take a bite from my flesh. I feel a sense of dread wash over. How can I fight with no weapons? Two shots are fired, the mutant on top of me slumps over. Two more, the other is down as well. Looking up I see my savior, Dan Hagar (voiced by John Goodman). I hop inside his vehicle and we ride off, back to his safe haven. Once we’re safe, it seems I owe Dan a favor. I’m told to raid and kill all the bandits in a nearby camp. I hop on a four-wheeler and travel to the bandit encampment.

The combat in Rage is that of your typical FPS. Run, shoot, duck, chunk grenade, etc. Rage’s combat is visceral and satisfying. When you shoot a bandit with a shotgun blast, you feel the impact. One weapon stood out above all the rest: the Wingstick. This boomerang device has a special chip inside that targets an enemy, hits them with extreme impact, and flies back towards you.

Rage looks best on the PC, however the 360 is no slouch either. Running at a solid 60 frames per second, every movement feels natural and fluid. The environments are able to capture such beauty in a world so void of life.

Rage is shaping up to be a great game from id Software. The combat is exciting, fast, and fun. I am definitely looking forward to October 4, 2011 when Rage will be released on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.