Rage Review (PC-Steam)

Posted by Jim Cook, Oct 10, 2011 15:13

Rage serves two purposes, as it is both a game and a functional advertisement for the capabilities of id Software’s "id Tech 5" engine. One need only look at screenshots, videos, or watch Rage in action to see just how impressive the engine is, allowing for what appear to be very large outdoor environments with a lot of graphical detail. And this isn’t just eye candy; it can also handle a mix of creative weapons, vehicles, and general first person shooter play working alongside inventory management, allowing guns to load multiple ammunition types, and so on. This is perhaps Rage’s best asset and biggest problem, as it tries to show that the engine can be used for all sorts of things, but the game implements them to varying degrees of success. The result is a post-apocalyptic first person shooter with a lot of solid combat to enjoy, but also a lot of other things that just get in the way.

RageWhile there are a lot of different things to do, Rage is primarily a first person shooter set in a near-future world similar to those of Fallout, Borderlands, or even more remote worlds in TV shows like Firefly. Your character survived a near-apocalyptic event by resting in a special ’Ark’, but has emerged to find a world that is very patchwork. Society has mostly broken down into small communities that protect themselves against bandits and feral mutants, and it’s your job to survive while making a difference in the wasteland. Truth be told, the plot is an excuse to go driving around and shooting enemies in return for increasingly better equipment from whatever character sent you out on a mission, but this is fine.

When you’re not talking to people and gathering supplies, Rage is a lot of fun. The shooting segments are a mix of old and new mechanics, as you’re given plenty of ammo and are fairly accurate when shooting while moving. On the other hand, you have to reload regularly and use the modern ’regenerating health’ mechanic that ensures you can’t just stand there taking hits; players have to make quick, decisive attacks and then move to cover to avoid retaliation from any surviving enemies. Most areas offer enough cover for a mobile shootout, and the majority of your weapons are satisfying. Even the lowly pistol is viable for about half the game, and packs enough punch to be enjoyable! While the weapons mostly read off as a generic FPS checklist (pistol, assault rifle, shotgun, rocket launcher, etc.), there are a few creative ones such as the Wingstick; a bladed boomerang with limited homing capabilities. Your enemies are a mix of humans with guns and various wild enemies that rush up close to hit you, so you’ll have to stay alert. Though iron sight aiming is featured, you can usually get by without it and Rage isn’t a ’high realism’ shooter even if it does offer some small nods to that sort of thing. Aside from a few areas where the enemy have entrenched positions and heavy firepower, you can play it as a ’run and gun’ matter more often than not.

Vehicle combat and racing is the other major draw to Rage, though where the on-foot shooting was very fun these parts are simply decent. Rage isn’t a hardcore racing sim, so the controls are simple and the upgrades you can buy for your vehicles are very straightforward; this part is better than that one but costs more, and so on. While racing is mostly optional aside from a few specific missions, the vehicles themselves aren’t. You’ll need them to drive from place to place, as the world is very large and going on foot would take forever. Those expecting Grand Theft Auto-esque trips through large, open worlds will be in for an unfortunate surprise, as Rage’s world is very linear despite its size; the countryside and ’overworld’ mostly serve as filler with the occasional enemy vehicle to fight. It’s not bad at all, but isn’t as good as the first person shooter segments.

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Our Rating for Rage Review (PC-Steam)
5.5 Replay
While largely linear, there are some secrets to be found. Enjoying them will be essential to getting the most out of a game that is otherwise a bit short for its cost.
9.0 Graphics
Only a few visual glitches mar what is otherwise one of the most visually impressive games to date, though results do seem to vary by hardware. Even large outdoor areas show impressive detail, and things look just as good up close.
8.0 Sound
The soundtrack is simply decent, but it is joined by consistently talented voice acting and some of the most satisfying weapon effects to date.
7.0 Gameplay
Well made levels that support a variety of weapons and combat styles keep the first person shooting segments very fun. The only problem is that Rage loves to distract you from them by keeping you busy with plenty of other nonsense such as fetch-quests and long drives for little real pay-off.
6.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Online co-op for some specially made levels is offered, as is a basic vehicular deathmatch mode. While not breathtaking, both are decent for what they are.
7.0 Overall
As an exhibition for id Software’s new engine, Rage is absolutely incredible. As a game, it is an enjoyable shooter but has some significant flaws in pacing and length.

Rating: 2.9, votes: 7

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