Id Software’s new first person shooter ‘Rage’ brought with it a major hype in its time of release back in 2011. There were a lot of things we believed would make Rage the perfect game after three years in production, and this was by no means accidental. If there is one thing worth shouting out, then it is the sincere beauty of the game. Id’s software’s id tech 5 engine makes Rage look ridiculously good on the home consoles, sharp, brilliant and yet fluid it was something that definitely made my pupils widen. Exclusively, with milestone games ‘Quake’ and ‘Doom’, id software is a classic master in the shooting genre; again with Rage they prove themselves worthy of the title. But this said, Rage meant a pronounced disappointment for many players. A dull, superficial, and insignificant story and repetitive and confined gameplay had players scramble their motivation together to continue playing. Is Rage an agreeable adventure after all or is it worth the raging for?
Let’s start by facing the facts. Rage was developed as a shooting game and gives minor attention to the surrounding story. Indeed, I wasn’t very impressed with what the story had to say. Much like Fallout and Borderlands Rage takes place in a post-apocalyptic world; a wasteland squatted with mutants, bandits and gangs. Everything takes place in the near future, following the impact of the asteroid 99942 Apophis on Earth. In a world reduced to rubble and dust, the human race is struggling to stay standing. We wake up as one of the survivors of the impact, inside an Ark (part of a worldwide movement which buried VIPs underground in cryo-pods in order to rebuild Earth). Immediately after a short and unclear introduction as to whom you are, the player is forced a weapon in his hands and the mindless shooting starts with a hurtful little bit of explanation. We hereby understand that this is the enemy, and we have no choice but to follow orders and destroy them. The game leads you immediately to the first settlement in the game, a friendly nearby camp and the first set of missions start. You then understand that as one of the few ark survivors the authority is in search for you and it is unsafe to stay behind in their settlement. As a matter of fact, this dystopian world is an anarchy, led by one corrupted overpower, the big brother: the government. This leads us to Wellspring where we directly chain up with new missions and quests. There is never really clear evidence why the authority is looking for you, only that it is dangerous. I’m not saying the story is bad, but there is a quite a bit of storytelling that has gone missing. Playing through in one go is then far from evident, as there is no pull from the story’s side.
The characters in Rage aren’t very interesting either. My lack of interest for them came from a rather distant relationship to them. They don’t seem to have any emotional bond with the main character, no facial expression and only exist for the story’s sake. I couldn’t engage in an interesting dialogue with them, I could only press the speech button hurriedly and impatiently to get my designated missions given.
The ending of the game looked at all points rushed, not because the environment lacked in detail but merely because I was expecting a big finale to make up for the rather leveled climax. Instead the finale was swift, uninteresting and boring, and the big weapons offered to go heads-on with the authority never came fully to their rights. The game ended abruptly and even though there were some signs of an enemy I expected to face an actual big tyrant, ruler of the authority. This is rather disappointing, because whilst most areas were incredibly detailed and well built, this one completely lacked in creativity.
But bashing Rage is not my main intention, for I think Rage still delivers well on everything else. The graphics and visuals make Rage one of the most stunning and artistic games of today. I was seriously blown away by its many powerful, lively and detailed environments. The mix between realism and cartoony style make Rage look like a painting. Take metro city for example: this city is indulged with lights, signs and garbage everywhere and the local bar can be found inside a stationed train. I greatly appreciate the amount of artistic detail pumped into this place. Additionally, Rage does not lack in locations either, with for example an authority prison, a power plant, jackal canyon and an arena called Mutant bash TV.
Playing Rage is extremely fun when it comes to shooting, bashing heads and fighting hordes of enemies. You are given a various amount of weapons, each one along with different sorts of ammo. It is fun to create turrets, spider-robots and detonating RC cars to use against your enemies. Talking of enemies, the Ai is something that is extremely well done in the game. I have never seen a first person shooter where your enemies jump, run along walls and avoid your weapon fire like in Rage. Their way of getting round your back and attacking you calls for anxiety and a feeling of never being safe.
Inspired by Burnout and Motorstorm, the creators developed a great driving mechanism to get you around the vast wasteland. The game offers you races where you gain tickets to upgrade your cars which you need to fight off bandit vehicles which try to destroy you. This is a fun alternative to the otherwise fun shooting and bashing gameplay.
To be fair and square, Rage is not the greatest production and is not strong enough to be put next the big blockbusters. But it doesn’t have to be; Rage still deserves the merit and recognition for its unique and beautiful prowess of a presentation and its fun and diverse gameplay; this was enough for me to be satisfied.