id Software has been around for decades. They popularized the First Person Shooter genre with Doom and Quake. They built the basis for all FPS games past, present, and future.
Seven years after their last game, id Software has pulled out the big guns with a new monosyllabic IP, Rage. They developed a brand new engine, idTech 5 and have been working on Rage for the better half of a decade. Does id Software have another hit on their hands? Read on to find out.
In the not too distant future, a giant asteroid slams into earth’s surface with enough force to wipe out all life on the tiny blue planet. The government has a failsafe to protect human life. They hand pick certain people to repopulate the earth after the fallout of this asteroid is over. By developing Arcs, cryogenic pods that burrow deep into the surface, they are able to hold out for 100 years for the world to come back to equilibrium. You play as one of these special Arc survivors.
This is as much story as you’re going to get out of Rage. The greatest part is I didn’t care so much. I love games with a story, the longer the better. But with Rage, something different happened. I was more invested in the gameplay and graphical fidelity than anything else.
There are quests, but they act more like Borderlands’ Job Board, just pinging an objective on your map that you run to and fetch something for a person. Each NPC in the world is fully voiced and animated to perfection. There is so much life in the way a character moves that you instantly understand their plight.
Of course, talking can only get you so far. Sometimes you have to pull out the guns and speak with actions, more than words. id Software has always been at the forefront of solid gameplay in a shooter. Rage has a wide range of weapons and each one has a distinct feel. Within each weapon type they have different ammo, giving even more variety to the game. For instance, the revolver has an ammo type called Big Boys, which have a bigger impact than regular bullets.
Never have I been more pleased with a game’s weapons than I have been with Rage. Constantly changing weapons and ammo types to fit a certain situation I found myself in, Rage does a great job in giving you all the toys you want, especially my best friend the Wingstick. This boomerang weapon has a smart chip that hones in on a target, most of the time loping their head off in the process. Be sure to stock up on these bad boys as they certainly come in handy.
Each quest will take you to an instanced area that plays like a modern FPS level. Cover is everywhere and you are going to need it because these enemies don’t mess around. The mutants will leap and flip around you, dodging out of your reticule and making you constantly be on your toes. In firefights if you place your iron sights on an enemy they are more likely to blind fire at you than poke their heads out. The AI in Rage is some of the best I’ve seen in this generation.
This wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t talk about how great it looks. The wide, arid landscape gives off an apocalyptic western vibe with different shades of reds and oranges popping out in this dreary, lifeless world. The guns look fantastic and lifelike up close, registering detail on even the smallest of screws.
Yes, there is a small bit of pop in to the textures as you spin around, but you grow accustomed to it quickly. The pop in is less noticeable if you are running on PC, or have the game installed on your Xbox 360. Rage is constantly running at 60 frames per second. In my 12 hours of playtime I never once dropped a frame. And I was playing on my Xbox 360.
The “open-world” is more of just a fun way to get from point A to point B, breaking up the monotony of shooting. The driving has an arcade feel. You never really feel in danger when out on the open road. In each of the two city hubs, you can partake in races to pay for upgrades for your vehicle. Some of the races even have car combat like in Mario Kart.
Rage is one of those games that no one really knew what to think about when it was first revealed. There were comparisons to Fallout and Borderlands, when really the only thing they share is the post-apocalyptic setting. However, Rage can stand on its own against most other First Person Shooters out there. It isn’t the best of its genre, but it certainly is one of the most fun to play.
The Good: Solid gameplay. Fantastic visuals. 60 FPS. Weapon variety.
The Bad: Story? What story? Load times can be a little on the lengthy side.
The Ugly: The ending is like if Lord of the Rings ended with Frodo walking into Mordor.
Score: 9 out of 10
Second Opinion by Evan Tognotti
Rage distills the joys of video games to its purest form. You won’t find a layered story, complex characters, or massive open world, but you will find some of the most enjoyable, fast-paced gunplay since Painkiller. The game is beautiful, too, and runs at a constant 60 frames per second; especially impressive for a console game. It’s unfortunate that the story is so lacking, and, looking back, many of the missions did have a conspicuous “been there, done that” feel. But what Rage lacks in ambition it more than makes up for in thrilling, simple fun.