Developer: iD Software
Publisher: Bethseda Softworks
North American Release Date: 4th October 2011
European Release Date: 7th October 2011
Trophies: 1 2 10 38
If you ask any older gamers, their opinion on the games that innovated the shooter genre would be based around the likes of Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, all coincidentally created by the developers of RAGE, iD software. But innovation is something truly lacking from RAGE.
To sum up the gameplay of RAGE can be a tricky situation at times, from one side you have a great shooter that does the job more than well enough, with some unique twists. But from the other angle, you see a game desperate to not fall into the cliche of being another trigger happy shooter, and it tries to develop some RPG elements, but there simply isn't enough of them. I was discussing this with a friend who also bought the game on release and we were both buying this game as 'the next borderlands' as it's being called by some. It is not the next borderlands. Like I said, the shooter elements to the game feel great, nothing ground breaking but they're good at what they do. A few unique twists to the natural shooter are through the nano system running through the blood of the player. The nano system allows the player to regain health slowly, but the player may also wish to use bandages to regain full health instantly, making the player question if they should hold back and save supplies, or stay forward and make use of their bandages. But my what could be my favorite gameplay addition to RAGE would be the defibrillator system. The player has two defib charges to use if they run out of health. Once the player loses health they black out in a way and the nano system comes in, the player enters on-screen prompted button presses and the nano system uses a charge to bring the player back to life. Ofcourse, you can't keep relying on these as they take a set amount of time to recharge, but the nano system brings in a unique edge to the game.
The gun mechanics feel good, you can properly tell the differences in power where it's suitable and the different bullet types are a nice addition and add a fun element to the game. The enemy AI is nothing ground breaking but it's good enough, they react fairly differently each time. They seem to acknowledge when you're trying to flank them and react to this sufficiently. One of the best parts about the enemies is that their spawning adds depth to the levels, rather than just charging in, there will be different waves to an extent. They open up parts of the levels when they join the battle, they enter through doors and it adds to the realism. Towards the end of the battle you'll be wondering where you need to go, the final enemies will come through and open up the level for you to progress The driving mechanics are reminiscent of those of the likes of motorstorm, in that they're aggressive with a sense of realism in there, the focus is on violent driving with the help of ramming eachother and firing machine guns and rockets etc. There's nothing truly wrong in any sense with the driving, but for it to carry a certain massive component of the game (I'll get into that later) seems bizarre. My biggest problem with RAGE is that nothing truly feels alive or moving. Every object seems to be glued down (Which feels lazy) and the only really moving objects are quite clearly scripted to sway back and forth. Off the top of my head, if ever I shot say a can, it wouldnt start rolling, if you shoot a really fragile looking object nothing happens. The only real destructibility that I've saw is that certain crates that you use for cover can break. For me, in this age of gaming, that's barely acceptable.
The game may look beautiful, but this mutant certainly isn't!
iD software are famous for the likes of Quake and Doom, both fairly linear shooters with no real focus on storyline and giving the player freedom. Nearly 20 years after the release of Doom, and they haven't changed a bit. You start out watching a stunning cinematic in the not too distant future watching an asteroid hit Earth, sending shattered pieces of our home planet into space. The asteroid does infact have some risk of hitting Earth in real life. Good start, but it all felt downhill from here. You wake up after being frozen underground for an unknown reason, the location where you've been frozen looks trashed, you aren't given the story why. You exit the location only to be dazzled by the sun in another great looking sequence, only to be attacked by what can only be described as bandits, you aren't given a reason why. A local (Hagar) steps out to help you and you'll complete a series of quests for him, you aren't given a reason why. I could go on but I don't want to ruin much, but the theme is recurrent throughout the story.
I went through the story playing missions that felt that monotonous (Travel to X point, enter gunfight, exit with X item) and more like filler missions. Countless times I'd complete a mission and earn a trophy and feel baffled at why this happened. I had no idea that this simple mission was suppose to be a key part of the story. I felt no connection to any character, or even the guy I was playing at. The odd little attempts at making this feel a little like an RPG would work if the game was backed by a fairly lengthy engrossing story. But instead you're left with a 6 or so hour long story mode, with only cardgames, empty wastelands and repetitive races to keep you company. I know that shooters for the most part aren't made to represent a gripping story that has the player feeling every emotion known to man. But when you don't even recognize missions as being an intergral part of the story, it kind of says a lot. If I could sum the singleplayer up in one word it would be linear. Everything about it feels linear. But then the game tries to represent itself as fairly free, but how can a game be free when you can't even continue to free-roam when you complete it?
The actual levels are fairly well laid out, but at times I was fairly dumbstruck at where to go or what to do. The enemies open up the next section of the level, but if you don't witness this happening sometimes you'll completely miss where to go. The game features a fairly simple inventory system, the items you pick up can be used to create weapons, bandages, ammo types etc. You'll go through the game picking up all of these items, but there's no real depth to it, most of it feels useless and if ever you really need to create an item, especially to help progress through a level, these items will be conveniently placed right underneath your nose. There's a fairly broad range of weapons that you'll start collecting, but the most fun I had was when you start collecting the new ammo types. Having a shotgun firing rockets put a smile on my face despite the other problems, as did the attention to trying to create different factions of thugs, even if it could be hard to notice or get attached to them. My final problem is the save system in RAGE. Auto save has been around for a long time now, yet they still find the need to not include it. RAGE features no autosave, and no true checkpoint system. The only checkpoint you receive is when you enter a new area, meaning you could be at the very end of a section, manage to die and lose all progress in that area. You can manually save and reload, but it really shouldn't be the case in this day and age. Not including autosave or checkpoints doesn't help anything, just causes a nuisance.
What was that guys name again?
The multiplayer segment for rage is somewhat odd, you'd be expecting with this kind of shooter with rare RPG elements to have full 4-player co-op and a possible competitive "Cod style" gun heavy online mode, right? RAGE has neither. I must say that I was gutted about the lack of proper co-op, sure we get a few co-op missions but it doesn't feel like enough. The co-op mode is named "Wasteland Legends" and its a great idea behind it, but it'd be an even better addition to allowing the player to go through the entire game with some friends. The game felt empty enough and co-op would've saved it for me. But the legends mode is all we have. It shows you a part of the story (The first mission tells the tale of how a character obtained a sniper rifle) that you dont see through the singleplayer, which like I said is a good idea on paper. But after the story was so un-enjoyable and filled with characters and events I didn't feel connected to, giving us more of the same but with a partner was never going to be a big hit was it. The defib system here works more than ever. Once you get downed you have the option of waiting to be revived or using the defib, which relates in a way to the bandage system. You can get straight back up for the cost of one defib, or risk your entire progress on one moment. Whilst it's not too bad, the recurring theme has stayed, it's alright, but there's not really enough there.
Roadrage (The competitive vehicle based online mode) is the bread and butter of the multiplayer segment, but it still feels rather hit and miss. The matchmaking was a breeze which is always vital to enjoying competitive multiplayer. It feels quite fun at first, but every game is capped at four players. Again, that's such a dated idea to have the very maximum so low. If these online maps were bustling with 8 or more players creating carnarge I'm sure the multiplayer would be attracting a lot more attention, but it just feels lackluster. The game is split across four game modes, meteor rally, chain rally, triad rally and carnage. The first three are based on the player driving over rally points, one has the next rally point optimized for the player who collected the last, one makes the player need to collect three rally points before gaining points for it and the other has you collecting rally points before returning to a master rally points. They all sound remarkably similar, right? Carnage is your basic free-for-all, and although it took me a little to get to grips with exactly what it was I needed to do with the other three, carnage would've been my least favorite. One refreshing thing was that winning the game is much, much easier if you're collecting the rally points etc. And in a time full of online shooters rewarding selfish players playing team games, its nice to see. Roadrage is chaotic at times in a good way, but the romance soon wears off, and all we're left with is a shooter with an impressive foundation built on gameplay, left with co-op side missions and a vehicle based competitive mode. Not what you'd expect from the innovators of the shooter, and it doesn't pay off.
The multiplayer gets hectic and can be fun
RAGE in general looks stunning. The opening sequence which involves Earth being hit by an asteroid looks scarily realistic, and the shattered pieces of Earth flying into space left my jaw dropped viciously against the floor. From there you see another one of the games graphical highlights when your character wakes up and exits the storage facility, you become blinded by the sunlight (Your body has been stored indoors for an unknown amount of years) and its your first view of this futuristic Earth, everything looks simply beautiful. But this feel is ruined massively by one issue, massive problems with texture loading times. You'll enter a new area and for a good 10 seconds or so everything is a blur.
You'd think that you'll never see these issues again in this area now its loaded, but I've even saw cases of if I was to travel past a certain distance, the game would be loading the newer textures and the same problems would be occurring. I managed to suffice with this problem, but I know this will be a pain for many others. Whilst its not a rare problem to see this in games, from memory this is one of the worst I've ever saw. And combining the worst texture problems with one of the best sets of graphics I've saw, makes you wonder if the game was trying to push the limits a little too much. I've researched the problem, and the game was developed to look this stunning throughout, but for it to run sufficiently on modern consoles, massive compression techniques have occurred. And it really is a shame for this beautiful game to be let down by this. Character voices sound hostile (And a little Helghast esque which I absolutely loved) and the guns sound fierce.
The platinum for RAGE isn't a long one, and should be quite easy in terms of difficulty. Nightmare difficulty will certainly not be a nightmare by any stretch of the imagination. Getting 100% completion in the singleplayer shouldn't take too long, and you can thank the games lack of depth for that.
It's pretty and then it's not, it runs smoothly but you don't feel connected, and the online is fun but not enough. Everything felt a little hit and miss throughout my time with RAGE, it's certainly not something you'd expect from such an experienced developer.
As a shooter, there's very little wrong with the game. Some more RPG elements would've been nice, as the game is caught between FPS and Role Playing Shooter
Repetitive missions, next to no attachment to any characters or plot, but it doesn't stop the fun moments from shining even if they can be hard to come by.
The co-op mode didn't have enough going for it with only two players. And whilst the online racing can be fun, it's not really what I wanted to see from iD after all this time.
The game should, and would be a perfect 10 in this aspect if it wasn't for these horrible textures issues
Overall: 6.5/10 Tolerable
I honestly was not able to finish RAGE at the time I wrote this. For good reason too, its ultimately a boring game. While many people in the industry fawn over Carmack and id Software, this is a great example of a problem they have had for the better part of a decade: Their design choices focus on the ancillary in gaming. That is what RAGE is about.
RAGE just feels like a "Me Too!" title, large portions of the gameplay and presentation feel ripped right from the grasps of Borderlands and then painted to look like an original creation. As the saying goes: Steal from the best and make it your own, RAGE never quite gets that last part. The gameplay and singleplayer are completely un-inspired, and the multiplayer is completely derivative.
The one thing id was supposed to have going for it was this id Tech 5 engine, unfortunately they once again showcased why nobody likes the id Tech engines anymore... RAGE's graphics are slow, and texture pop-in is the worst I've ever seen, worse than Prototype. The game looks great as long as you aren't moving. Ultimately RAGE is worth a rent, nothing more.