Rage is the newest title from id Software, the makers of games such as Quake, Doom and Wolfenstein. This is the first release from id Software since Doom 3 came out in 2004. With so many impressive titles behind them, everyone is hoping that Rage will deliver in accordance to the huge pool of experience they have at id. Even from the earliest press releases Rage has been appraised, won awards and promised to be a game that would deliver on everything you could desire in a FPS campaign; Hardcore FPS action, neck-breaking vehicle play, in-depth well flowing story and a world large and extensive enough to give you a feel of free play. So does the game deliver on all this?
Rage is built on the extraordinary iTech 5 engine, which delivers some incredible detail and edge in the graphics. Unfortunately for id, Rage had some extensive problems when first released, luckily id reacted fast and efficiently by releasing an update that solved a lot of the issues.
Wasting the wasters of the Wasteland!
The setting is the future, something terrible has occurred and only one person can save the world and mankind – you!
The game starts out with you waking up in a survival pod of a kind, everyone around you is dead and you have no clue what’s gone down or where you are. You leave the pod where you meet Dan Hagar, who saves you from some hostile-minded mutants. Dan lays down the 101 of the situation, ensuring you know enough to understand that no-where is safe and no-one can be trusted. It appears that the survivors from the past were a big project referred to as the Eden project, which consisted of people carefully selected to be sent out in space Arks and start over, securing the survival of mankind. Somewhere this all went horribly wrong, and now the people in charge are out to get any Ark survivors.
Dan takes you back to his own little headquarters, which is a petrol station and a shop. Here he provides you with a pistol and some ammunition, and lends you one of his quad bikes to get around with. The gameplay consists of picking up missions, then heading out to the location and taking down a bunch of meanies, while completing an objective. It’s an open world style, which means you can go wherever you want. The quests are sure to keep you in-line and interested in the story, with plenty of well-made enjoyable cut scenes – for once. While running around killing bad guys, enjoying the setting and the story, all of a sudden you’ve collected an arsenal of weapons and your own buggy! My favorite weapon of the bunch is definitely the wingstick; a sort of 3 winged boomerang, with razor-sharp blades on each wing. Sure to decapitate its target and then return to your palm.
Even though this is a linear game and there is only one way it can be played through, this game is complex, in-depth and well-made that you don’t notice. There is no generic NPC that you have to deal with at every city to get what you need, there might be NPCs that have the same job title, but their personalities and phrases are completely unique. This game holds more quirky personalities than a mental hospital, which really plays a big factor in giving the free play feel to this game. Where in other linear FPS games, the NPCs are bland and just there to ensure the story is played out.
The graphics and sounds work together to provide the right atmosphere for every setting you find in the game. Small things that are so thought through really makes the difference. Things like blood dripping from the ceiling lands on your screen, the drowsy feeling you have when you explode a grenade too close to yourself and not two places are the same. In other FPS games, you often see how they reuse an element to make almost every room, the same arrangement of candles or chairs in several different rooms. You won’t find this in Rage, each area has been designed to the tee. The areas are unique, provide a certain setting for the part of the story you are in at that moment, which really helps bring the story to life.
Not just your everyday FPS!
This game is so much more than just a shooter. Everywhere you go, you can pick up small items – some might be useful, others will be junk. You can even loot dead bodies for ammunition and money. You can even sell the junk to vendors for a bit of a cash in return. You can also make gadgets with some items, so there’s plenty of possibilities! Using engineering schemes you can build things like a lock grinder, remote control bomb car – and I’m not going to lie, I’ve probably used these little cars a bit too much. There is something hugely satisfying about driving a little toy car into the proximity of some bad guys and then exploding it and them. When you clear an area you can be lucky and find a little box holding a card, these are collected for the in-game card game, which you play to earn some extra cash. Then there are the races; basically you race to either get a more awesome set of wheels or for upgrades to your car. Whenever you are out driving in the Wastelands, every bandit kill trades for cash in with the local bar owner, another handy way of making some cash on the side.
The game does have some of the standard FPS game features such as the mandatory boss fights; Boss does one action, then stops and is vulnerable, shoot your biggest bullet at him now. Repeat until dead. The AI seems brilliant at times, and other times it’s like you are fighting a wet cardboard box. The mutants come at you dodging left and right until they can get a jab at your throat. Whereof the soldiers from the enemy settlements sometimes can be like target practice, then at other times they actually seem like they are reacting to what you are doing in an intelligent way. Ammunition is a big deal in this game, you have so many different weapons and ammunition styles to choose from – choosing the right one makes all the difference. You might think the shotgun is the most fun to use, but if you’re up against some enemies standing far away in a pool of water, using the crossbow and its electro bolts, will take them all out in one stealthy shot. Should you get caught by an army of mutants, fear not – if you die you can just revive yourself, and the jolt from your built-in defibrillator will kill all the mutants, handy right?
At the end of the day
None of the things in Rage are new, id have just combined them and stringed it all together with a great story. So maybe that’s the new thing in the game, everything we all know and enjoy from different games combined by a great world and a compelling story?
Whatever it is, it’s working. This game will have you sat on your behind for hours on end. This is the type of game where you sit down and go “I’ll just do a few missions”, ten hours later someone desperately pulls you off the PC before you end up in a comatose. The story, the scene, the characters, the possibilities – everything just compels you. The game captivates you and time flies. So it doesn’t matter that nothing new has been invented for this game, because this unique combination is a homerun, nothing less. This game is a must play if you enjoyed some of id’s past work, you will love this game.
That’s all great, so 10/10 for Rage or?
The bugs there were initially and the fact that the game was initially built for what seems to be PCs that only NASA can afford to buy does subtract from the game’s final score. The biggest negative however, is the ending. I was definitely expecting some epic finish, with a boss fight, some friendly NPCs and teamwork. I thought id would come up with a clever way to make it look it you barely made it in the end to save humanity. But there is no epic boss fight, there is no feeling of “this is it”. All there is, is an oversized gun, providing plenty of overkill for the job and some pretty end-cinematic.