Reviews// Rage

Posted 10 Oct 2011 13:35 by
Companies:
Games: Rage
Rage is id Software?s long-awaited return to the genre it made famous back in the 1990s. Seven years after the company?s previous game, Doom 3, id has teamed with publisher Bethesda to bring us an FPS set in the barren wastelands of a future Earth where mankind struggles to survive and mutants lurk in the darker corners of the world. No, it?s not Fallout 4, it?s Rage!

The game?s opening shows a decent chunk of the apparently doomed Earth?s population getting put into cryogenic suspension and then launched into the depths of the planet where they will hopefully survive the incoming cataclysmic meteor strike.

When you wake up, however, you find the rest of your group have slowly died in their pods, leaving you as the only survivor. On making your way outside you?re rescued from your first meeting with hostile locals.

The game quickly pours all of the exposition you?re going to need for the rest of the game on you ? the few human survivors live in small communities throughout the Wasteland, freakish mutants roam the wilderness, oppressive government rules all, and so on.

Storytelling isn?t exactly Rage?s strong point, after throwing all this at you the story grinds to a halt for a long time, opting instead to follow you while you establish yourself as a hero to the local towns, mostly for killing bandits and mutants by the dozen.

Rage?s graphics are nothing short of amazing. Your first look at the futuristic barren world is breathtaking, with incredible detail and distance. Harsh lighting and washed-out colours give the environment a cold, sterile look that perfectly suits the setting. Rage is undoubtedly the most beautiful post-apocalyptic wasteland I?ve ever seen.

Design-wise Rage is very reminiscent of Borderlands, but it trades in the stylized cartoon aspects for much greater realism and grit. Despite all the wear and tear though, Rage?s environments always retain some colour, helping to maintain its (Wild) Western feel rather than opting for a completely straight science-fictionesque world of tomorrow.

Once you get far enough off the beaten track, however, you will start to discover some much more inhospitable environments. The appropriately-named and mutant-infested Dead City in particular is disgustingly slime-coated and unsettling and a far cry from the fairly warm and welcoming human settlements.

The characters you?ll encounter are very well designed and realised, though they tend to fall into somewhat unoriginal archetypes. There?s a fat, moustached and monocled mayor, a sullen world-weary sheriff, a pasty, bloated TV executive, a reclusive and creepy mad scientist.

However, like the environments, the characters are all incredible looking, highly detailed and full of personality. The solid voice acting and expressive animations really bring every character to life. Eventually you?ll start to notice some reused models wandering around town, but for the most part every character you interact with will come off as full of personality.

But all that?s just window dressing. Obviously where Rage would either be made or broken is when the bullets start flying. Fortunately, combat here can be as intense and challenging as you?d hope.

A lot of it?s down to the variety of enemies and their impressive AI. Agile, melee weapon-wielding enemies move unpredictably, jumping over cover and dodging back and forth to quickly close distance on you. Perhaps the most noticeable element of Rage is how well enemies react to bullets.

Hitting them in the arms or legs will noticeably affect their movement and slow down a charging foe, but even the weakest enemies won?t go down easily unless you put some lead into vital areas like their face or chest. Gun-toting enemies are less aggressive, but no less intelligent. They?ll keep their distance, stay in cover, and when the fight really isn?t going their way they?ll even retreat to the next room to regroup with the enemies waiting there.

The arsenal of weapons at your disposal doesn?t seem very creative at first, odd coming from the people who brought us the original B.F.G. There?s the usual line-up of pistols, machine guns, shotguns and sniper rifles, but they?re enhanced by the different ammo you can choose from.

The shotgun and crossbow benefit the most from this, with the former packing explosive grenades and EMP blasts and the latter having the unique mind-control bolts, which allow you to take control of an enemy for a short time before they explode.

The number of ways you can kill people is increased further by the range of interesting secondary weapons you can acquire. There are the standard but always useful explosive grenades, automatic turrets that will shoot at anything in range, bladed boomerangs that can be thrown at enemies and will return to you, and explosive-packed remote-controlled cars that you can drive into a crowd of unsuspecting enemies before detonating it, no doubt with a slightly mad cackle.
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Companies:
Games: Rage

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