You won’t like me when I’m angry…and when I’ve got a tri-bladed boomerang
Y’know what, we seriously needed a game like Rage. Thanks to pessimistic titles as Fallout 3, the stark reality of a world hit by cataclysmic disaster isn’t one with any hope. Thankfully Rage adds a little light to any incoming apocalypse by offering up a plethora of weapons and a cavalcade of dastardly creations that can tip fire-fights in your favour to battle your way through the wastelands. It doesn’t quite capture the grim reality of drinking out of toilets, but its gory optimism in the face of major disaster makes for a damn fun ride. With the threat of an asteroid striking the planet looming on the horizon, the government seal away Earth’s brightest in ‘Arks’ to bury humanities last hopes to safety. Originally, you were meant to wake up from cryogenic freezing with your fellow geniuses and start anew. Unfortunately, the plan hasn’t exactly undergone much forethought, and awakening in the near future provides a dust coated wasteland where anything that moves wants to kill you. Cue ravished mutants, a looming authority who’ve put a price on your head and a deadly road trip across the desolate wastelands. Waking up to the new Earth the asteroid has carved out for you, everything seems rather alien. The Wasteland is a sun baked array of canyons that stretch out as far as the eye can see, and soon evolves into a land infused with darkness where the sun struggles to shine through the clouds. Rage looks astonishing when you’re out in the open, and when battling it out in more closed world environments it’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into the design of such ravished battlefields as you traverse building to building through cracked walls and imaginatively gritty civilisations created from subway tunnels. Very rarely do you find a title that crafts destruction and armageddon with imagination, yet this one completely achieves it. You won’t have a lot of time to glimpse upon the attention to detail in the demolished landscapes due to the varieties of blood hungry assailants after your head. The first batch of bandits to face off against proved to be a wriggly bunch of buggers, charging forth rapidly to slice my face off whilst dodging bullets thanks to them clamouring around the entire environment skilfully. The armies you face up to all have brains, and are almost deadlier with them than they are with their guns. Once one enemy catches a glimpse of you, they’ll quickly point out precisely where you are, flank you should you not be aware of your surroundings, and run away to fight another day behind stronger cover should you punch them too close to death. I really struggled at times to keep the dastardly foes in my sights, and could never rely on the fiends becoming predictable bullet sponges.
Very rarely do you find a title that crafts destruction and armageddon with imagination, yet this one completely achieves it.
The enemies do well in making each encounter very intense, and are always finding sneaky ways to adapt in order to kill you. However, even if you are having troubles with swarms of enemies, hiding out usually manages to pump you back to fighting fit thanks to health regeneration. Even if you don’t manage to sit yourself back to life, you’re immediately given a ‘Get out of death’ free card with a ‘Defibrillator’ mini-game. Hit the right commands and you’ll come back to life whilst electrocuting everyone raiding your “corpse”. This glorious perk does take a while to recharge after use, but as long as you tread carefully, progression is a doddle. After a few levels I had to punch the difficulty setting up to the highest setting to truly get a challenge out of it, yet it’s still an enjoyable ride should you pick normal, no matter how big the massacre you create. There’s a load of firearms to gather to help you out in your survival across the wasteland, but there are many a gadget to build to improve the odds. ‘Wingsticks’ have become something of an icon for the title, and it’s easy to see why. Should you get sick of pumping bullets into protagonist be-headers , you could chuck one of these tri-bladed frisbees in the hopes it will return along with a severed head. If there’s a group of vicious schemers in an awkward place, you could build a remote control car with some dynamite strapped to it. Gathering up junk around the levels allows you to build up these recipes for disaster and the battalion of gadgets on offer manage to give the fun yet relatively safe shooter an ecstatically gory edge. It’s easier to enjoy the open roads of the wastelands when you’re driving along in your own vehicle. The open-world environments are surprisingly contained with clear paths to objectives, yet are still a joy to drive and drift around whilst fending off bandits. Though primarily an FPS at heart, Rage handles driving mechanics very well and allows for fun intervals whilst toing and froing from quest to quest. With its dabbling in other genres, Rage endangers itself by taking on too much, but manages to juggle it all surprisingly well. The competitive can take part in races ranging from simple buggy races to duels with rockets. The racing isn’t exactly incredibly addictive, yet are fun segments to take part in to improve your vehicles, and taking on bandits in their own vehicles in the open world is pretty enjoyable once you get used to outrunning and demolishing foes. There are certain aspects from recent Western RPG’s with salvaging items and raking in cash to improve your weapons, but it’s been streamlined so well that it trims any time chomping grinding and adding whistles and bells rather than creating entirely new gameplay mechanics to ensure Rage remains a terrifically well paced shooter at heart. There may be an open world to explore in order to uncover quests, yet its well designed layout means you’re never too far from a mutant heavy stand-off. Although Rage is an absolute blast to play and holds you in its grasp with it’s fun gameplay, the plot that accompanies it doesn’t exactly truly take off. The moments which are meant to uncover the reason for the world’s downfall are just stated as basic dialogue rather than built up over time, and so you never feel you’re in it for the story. It’s a shame because some impressive bases for an ambitious story have been set down. The main cast each have their own quirks, the characters have possibly the best in-game animations I have seen in a long while and although the plot starts to hit some deeper meanings behind a conspiracy starts rolling, it never really gains momentum. Rage is a game that knows it’s a tremendous barrel of fun from the get go. It’s a strong FPS with dastardly enemies and plenty of weapons to play about with, and though its RPG elements are very slight, they merge perfectly well to eliminate the more annoyingly time consuming elements of the genre to deliver hit after hit of mutant blasting joy. The plot doesn’t feel entirely fresh, and some insights to the lore of the land would’ve been great, but when you’re having so much fun in the valleys of death, you
won’t mind putting that narrative on the back burner for a much deserved sequel.
The Bad: Doesn’t stretch into the lore of the land too often, Struggles to challenge thanks to quick health regeneration and Defibrillator revival kit