Review by Tricked Out Horo
An average offering from an above average development team. What went wrong?
If you're an FPS fan today, you have to know who John Carmack is. As the director of iD Software, he has brought us genre classics such as Doom and Wolfenstein, and pretty much gave us the basis for the games we know and love today. With as much experience as John and his team have had at developing FPS titles over the years, you'd expect something really good out of Rage, right? Unfortunately, that isn't the result. With this review I aim to analyze what went wrong.
We're going to start off with the most noticeable good quality, which is the graphics. The game looks quite beautiful from a distance, and when you're standing still, but problems begin to arise when the game is in motion, and that's why this isn't a perfect 10. Objects pop-in frequently and textures are no better. They become muddy and PS1-era once you turn your back on them, which results in the game looking like it's aging backwards every time you turn and look at a new surface. Character animations are decent, and the acrobatic maneuvers enemies pull off are impressive the first couple times, and feel more like a combat gimmick the fifth or sixth time you see enemies pulling off the same somersault or dip. They really could have used more variety.
None of the tracks in the game won me over, and none of them stood out. Guns sound just fine, as do the explosions and other such sound effects. They're decent, but won't be winning any awards. The high note of the audio was the voice acting, which featured some well known actors such as John Goodman. John Goodman's performance of Dan Hager gives you a good first impression, and can really sell a player on the game since you meet him so early, but unfortunately it's just a tease at what could have been. Other characters are over the top and fit many of the standard genre tropes, but are well done.
This is primarily where the disappointment starts to set in. RAGE is a first person shooter first and foremost, with a tiny bit of exploration, and quite a bit of driving. The shooting works, but that's about all it does. None of your shot's feel like they connect, and you don't get a sense of immersion at any point in the game. The guns in the game (which are standard fare such as pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and so on) have multiple ammo types, which is a nice addition, but offer little in the way of variety. When you die you can revive through the use of a defibrillator built into your character, but it's on a charger so it can only be used once or twice in succession. This makes the game feel too easy I felt, especially considering that when you revive a jolt of electricity flies from your body, usually killing anything in your general area. The world is linear for the most part outside of a few side rooms to gather up some junk to craft your own ammo/gadgets, and the overworlds themselves are barren roads with NO reason at all to explore, since you won't find a damn thing, aside from a few bandits in some dune buggies which leads us to our next topic. The driving. It's pretty fun, and probably the most enjoyment I got out of the game. You get a variety of vehicles through the game which you can upgrade and add armor/guns/parts to using racing certificates, which are earned through winning races in one of the games 2 hub towns. There's about 30 racing events you can join, and offer a pretty good distraction from the main game. In addition to the races, the hubs offer a handful of minigames like a card game, five finger fillet, and so on. Nothing special outside of a way to get a little extra spending money. There's a pretty barebones online multiplayer consisting of racing and 9 co-op missions, but I can't really recommend it.
Plot: 2/10 My first thought when I thought out what I wanted to say about the plot was, "Wait, there was a plot?" and I don't doubt many others feel the same. You play as an unnamed guy who's been buried underneath the earth in an Ark, a futuristic building designed to preserve humans with exceptional skills in areas needed to rebuild humanity after an asteroid hits the planet. Your ark rises up too early, and you find yourself thrust into a world of bandits and mutants. Your journey eventually reaches the resistance, and you join them and fight against The Authority. I couldn't tell you why the resistance are fighting the authority, or why they give a damn about you, and by that time I had lost any notion that there was a plot in this game, and every storyline quest felt like a fetch side mission. Of note is the ending, which is by far the worst I have ever seen this generation.
In the end, Rage doesn't offer much of anything. This long of a development time should produce a far better game than what was delivered. Back when it was first announced, if it had came out right then and there, it could have been innovative, but now years later after we've played through Bioshock and Metro 2033 and so on, it just feels stale.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Rage (US, 10/04/11)
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