From the depths of US developer id Software comes RAGE. A post-apocalyptic game similar to that of Bethesda’s and Gearbox’s Borderlands. Amassing many ‘Game of the Show’ awards at E3 ’10 and ’11 RAGE has a lot to live up to. Powered by id Tech 5, RAGE combines wonderful graphics, a deep and engrossing world and deep, rich story environment. Add to that fantastic gameplay and lots of mission variety and RAGE has all the makings of a cult hit.
RAGE takes place in the year 2038. An asteroid comes crashing down to earth leaving few survivors and a wasteland. Now it’s up to those survivors to create a whole new civilisation, defending their territory from the scum of bandits and mutants. You play a person who was preserved in an underground shelter called the arc. The arc consists of several underground shelters where humans who possess special abilities were sanctioned to cryogenic slumber until being called upon to repopulate the world with their unique kind. The story has an enigmatic feel to it. You’ll find yourself asking questions about the character, who is he? What’s his name? Where did he come from? When playing RAGE, these thoughts implore you to find out as much as you can.
As RAGE is an FPS there are many elements that will be familiar. Much like many other RPG’s, you’re given missions by various other characters that eventually help you advance through the game, some of these missions don’t have much bearing on the overall story but all have very important strings attached to them in the overall plot. Another familiar aspect is how your character starts out. As you assume the role of your character, you will find that his skills are very basic in nature as you only have the selection of one primary weapon, although rather than having only a secondary weapon you’re allowed to equip up to four guns, all assigned to the direction of the right analog stick when the weapon selector is pressed. Not only does this make for peace of mind as enemy numbers can become large at times, but it also helps RAGE stand out, meaning it’s not just another RPG clone.
Combat is certainly a highlight of RAGE, for example, when shooting enemies you can play the strategy game and shoot their limbs to disable them from the fight and make them crawl to safety. This is especially gratifying in a firefight and can make for some great combat scenes as you kill the enemy. Should the enemy get the better of you, id Software have instilled a unique twist by implementing a defibrillator to keep you alive when all medi- packs are finished. When dealt the final blow by an enemy you’re engaged into a mini-game where you guide the right and left analog sticks in a certain direction and press the shoulder buttons to regain health. This is a useful mechanic and can be the difference between seeing a loading screen and getting to the end of the level. However this can only be used once before needing to be recharged, which is done automatically.
Weapons in RAGE go from your typical AK-47 to your standard issue pump action shotgun, with all weapons having realistic elements such as aim and recoil. Player progression through weapons is also paced, meaning that while some weapons can be bought, others are given to the player at a time the game thinks is suitable. This can create an incredibly well thought out experience that doesn’t give too much power to the player while they’re still learning the ropes.
Another important element to RAGE is the Vehicle combat, which offers an experience similar to Borderlands, while also taking it a step further. Once you have a buggy you can do all sorts of things to it. Customisable options here are immense; you have a wealth of weapon attachments and guns to put on your buggy to defend it against the purge of the wasteland, however that’s not all. RAGE makes use of actual vehicle customisations such as suspension and tyres and surprisingly these options make for great fun and give you something to work toward when building the ultimate driving machine. Finally in terms of vehicles, the game also does a good job of not letting you get lost, with dynamic GPS arrows guiding you to your objective around the game world, which is a great tool seeing how big and expansive it is.
So what of the various missions within the game? Well for one, they certainly make use of a lot of variety. For example, some missions have you cross the wasteland in aid of medicine, while others have you trapped in a tv show defeating enemies, with the ultimate aim of getting sponsorship for races. All of the missions in RAGE provide something different and will never feel the same, while pacing of the missions is also taken into account, with the game easing you into more challenging quests from time to time.
Visually, RAGE possess some of the best graphics seen this gen. The wasteland is vibrant and alive, while mountains gaze down on you in the distance, making for some highly detailed and gorgeous sights. Nothing captures the game world quite like the introduction to it, as when the player captures his first glance of the outside world after a spell underground, it’s quite amazing. At the start you’re enclosed in a small space with no view of the wasteland and before you know it, the door opens and the game’s graphics slap you in the face, leaving you to stare with visual amazement. It’s quite a scene and sets the world in high regard for when you go to explore it.
RAGE, from what we have experienced, will provide players with a whole lot of depth, as well as hours of entertainment. At this moment, the game is showing signs of great graphics and superb gameplay, as well a deep and investigative story, RAGE has all the makings of a great title, so make sure you keep a close eye on this one.
RAGE is slated for release on October 7th, 2011. You can pre-order here (360), here (PS3) and here (PC).