Rage Review-Awesome Fast-Paced Action Redeems Lackluster Story
Rage. The name explains it all for id’s new first-person shooter/racing title. From the dangerous, chaotic world to the intense gunplay, Rage delivers a chaotic ride through the post apocalypse, but could have delivered just a little bit more.
The game begins 106 years after the real-life, near earth asteroid, Apophis, collides with the earth. You awaken inside a large stasis pod called an Ark. After finding out you’re the only survivor in your Ark, you’re thrust into the wasteland. You soon find yourself battling roving gangs of bandits, blood thirsty mutants and a tyrannical, big brother government called the Authority. Another group called the Resistance is looking to take down the authority by employing your help.
While the story has potential id only gives it so much depth. I found myself forgetting about it up until the end, when the plot seems to build, only to have it cut short. It left me with a feeling of disappointment rather than one of accomplishment. The game could have paced itself a lot more. The game moves too quickly. You can tell merely by the speed in which you gain new upgrades and weapons. Many RPGs or games with RPG elements have you complete several missions before gaining such prizes. If Rage had this mindset the game’s story would have a more even pace.
The game world on the other hand fairs slightly better. The scale is massive, showing the destruction that the asteroid has done to the Earth. Massive highways are broken, the rust red landscape gleams in the sunlight and the ground has been raised by the massive impact. The id Tech 5 engine renders these landscapes beautifully as you look off into the horizon. Character animations are smooth and fluid. NPC’s are actively moving around town, mutants crawl out of the ground and enemies charge toward you bounding off walls with a grace that almost seems real. Sadly, some appearances can be decieving.
While the landscape appears explorer friendly, you accomplish all of your exploration by completing the missions. Some may enjoy the streamlined feel, but this game was marketed as an open world. I wanted to be able to take a break from the missions and fool around. I didn’t in the end, not because I didn’t feel like, but because I had explored every inch of the area as I accomplished missions.
But what it lacks in an open world and story it makes up for in fantastic gameplay. Gunfights are fast paced and brutal. Every enemy offers a well balanced challenge to the player. Mutants will rush you, on coming bandits will bob and weave your shots, while the Authority use decisive military tactics to hunt you down. But you’ve got an arsenal to match. It comes with a typical line up of a pistol, shotgun, assault rifle and a rocket launcher. The addition of a crossbow brings in some stealth to break up the over the top action. Upgrades can made to most of these weapons be it better accuracy, quicker reloads or a different ammo types.
The simple crafting system allows you to create an array of useful tools and weapons to help you out in a fight. Being able to set-up a mobile turret to take down enemies behind cover creates a sense strategy in gunfights even if they do just offer distraction to those foes. But if there is one crafted weapon that you’ll come to love the most it’s the wingstick. The wingstick saved my ass more times than I care to count . There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an enemy’s head lopped off after a successful throw.
The driving portion is mostly ignorable. I only ever raced to earn a better car to drive in and that’s just all I could stand for. However, the car combat is some of the smoothest in an action game. A simple push of a button allows you to whip your car around to make another run. Granted, it isn’t always well executed, with occasional difficulty in aiming, but you’ll still find some intense car combat here.
While the game seem like its about to show you everything you ever wanted to see, it ends becoming nothing more than a tease. The over-world certainly has a sense of scale, but it only looks “open”. The story had huge potential, but it fell short by cutting it short. All things aside though, the action and gameplay is brilliant. I wouldn’t expect anything less from id and a game called Rage.