A little hyped title from gaming giants Bethesda and id Software has arrived under the radar, but will RAGE be worthy of carrying the well-known names of its publisher and developer?
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What Happened Here: RAGE begins with a story of an earth that was on the verge of destruction after an asteroid struck it. Soon after the impact, the remaining population attempts to rebuild but unfortunately all society has been to reconstruct is a dangerous wasteland with the occasional small settlement dotting the deserts.You step into the shoes of a survivor of that catastrophic event that was hidden away before the asteroid hit the planet in a special "Ark", along with some others. For some reason, the cryogenic chamber in which you were housed opened up and set you loose into the world. Shortly after stepping out of your "Ark" you come across a settlement leader that helps acquaint you with the going-ons of the wasteland. Not long after you will find yourself doing missions for the man and traveling across the wasteland to blow things up, kill bandits or simply search for some tools that the settlement requires. Oddly enough, the storyline does not really play any real part in the game. You learn quickly that the government (which is mysterious but apparently evil, according to the denizens of the wasteland) is chasing after "Ark" survivors but aside from that you rarely see a true progression in the plot. Most of your time spent in the wasteland revolves around doing chores for random people you often meet while...doing tasks for other people. In what feels like it could be a throwback to older, less sophisticated games, RAGE has you moving from place to place picking up assignments from anyone who will talk to you. The story does end up making some kind of sense and going more in-depth over time, but the progression is slow and elements about the story are often stuffed in between doing random missions for settlement folk.
Pop Goes The Weasel: When you really begin to get into the gunplay though, that is where RAGE shines. RAGE's shooting mechanics are very solid through and through from the start. Even when using a simple pistol that does low damage, the gameplay simply feels tight.Not only that, but there are small details that I feel add to the enjoyment of the title. For one, the game is fairly visceral and although you can't necessarily blow the limbs off your enemies, you can cause them some serious damage. One thing I really liked was being able to see the damage that you deal to your foes. Shoot somebody in their leg and they hobble around with a blood stain on their pants or perhaps even a hole in their leg. Aim the gun a little higher and you can visibly see holes in your enemies' abdomen and chest from where you shot them. Pop one of them in the head and they are quickly wearing a crimson mask and anything they are wearing (such as hats or helmets) get flung off their head. As well as that, when you advance a little further into the game you will have the ability to deploy tools to aid you in battle such as a spider-like turret drone that will chase after enemies while attacking them, acting as both a distraction and a troublemaker to your opposition. However, I did not like the fact that this game is very non-interactive. You can pick up various bottles (to sell) in addition to ammo and supplies, but the environment as a whole is basically just a background that cannot be touched. Outside of the occasional destructible pillar or wood barrier, there is little else to do but walk along the path and there is virtually no benefit to exploring. The vast majority of doors cannot be opened, and even something so simple as jumping on top of a 2-foot tall block is impossible in most instances.
Burning Rubber: RAGE also features a multiplayer mode that, while limited, is pretty decent. Unlike what you would expect, RAGE's multiplayer does not have anything to do with first person shooting. The multiplayer revolves around racing actually, and going head to head with other players (either on the same console or online) in races while using modified dune buggies as transport.Added into the mix are car-mounted mini-guns and rocket launchers for weaponry, in addition to powerups on the track (such as a powerup that refills your boost meter).
Visual Beauty: As far as the graphics go, RAGE did impress me. Considering it has been publicized for its massive size and the requirement of 4 separate discs on the Xbox 360, I would expect the game to look great.Although the environment is a bit drab with little color variation other than brown, darker brown, black and red/orange (fire), everything is nicely detailed and some of your surroundings are destructible as well. That also applies to the character models, as everyone looks very lifelike and do not seem to suffer from the "robotic" movement that plagues many other titles.
Rent vs. Buy: The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about RAGE is just how linear it is. I already touched on the lack of interactivity, but there really is little to do outside of the given assignments and despite the look of an open-world environment, it is truly a very restricted game.It looks good and plays well, but so far I have been unimpressed with the amount of things to do aside from the typical "go here, shoot that" formula that RAGE pushes on you from the beginning. The thing about RAGE is that you need to accept it for what it is to fully enjoy this title. It has excellent and intense gameplay, but the extremely linear and overall limited feel of the game can turn off a lot of people who were expecting an open-world title or simply prefer "sandbox" games such as the Fallout series or others like it. If you can cope with the fact that this game, which is fittingly enough made by the creators of Doom and Quake (Bethesda only published the game), plays more like Doom then Fallout 3, then I think you can squeeze some genuine fun out of this one. The online is somewhat lackluster (the multiplayer consisting of only races disappointed me), but the single player campaign, while thin on a storyline, is fun to play through. Early on you will struggle while using weak weapons against swarms of enemies but this title only gets better over time as you discover more powerful (and fun to use) armaments as well as the occasional side mission (such as competing in a game show that pits you against rounds of mutants for cash prizes). Undoubtedly some will feel disappointed that there is little else to do but chase after missions, but as I mentioned, you cannot expect this game to be anything but title that focuses on shooting and little else. RAGE isn't a deep game and it doesn't do much, but what it does it does well. Solid graphics and intense gameplay make up this title, and I could fully recommend a test drive of RAGE and perhaps a purchase, if you have no issue with the lack of interactivity I thought the game got a little more exciting after the first couple hours when you had access to more powerful weapons and uncovered some fun time killing side missions as well.
Undoubtedly some will feel disappointed that there is little else to do but chase after missions, but as I mentioned, you cannot expect this game to be anything but title that focuses on shooting and little else. RAGE isn't a deep game and it doesn't do much, but what it does it does well. Solid graphics and intense gameplay make up this title, and I could fully recommend a test drive of RAGE and perhaps a purchase, if you have no issue with the lack of interactivity
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