Rage Review: Another Great Romp In The Wasteland

Posted: October 8, 2011 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
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Pros:
Amazing looking graphics
Fantastic enemy AI makes for a challenging experience

Cons:
Multiplayer is nothing special
22GB install on Xbox 360 HDD

It’s time to once again return to the wasteland with Rage. Wait a minute. Is it me or does this recurring theme happen once before. The wasteland. Fallout 3, Borderlands, Mad Max. I feel like I’ve been here before. The truth is I have and each time it’s been fun. Now with Rage, I get to wander around the deadlands, kill some ugly mutants, and help save humanity from it’s latest problem. By the way, this game is a hell of a lot of fun as well. Then again this is id and their track record speaks for itself. Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake. Do I need to say more?

So here’s the scoop. In the year 2029, the asteroid Apophis is on a collision course for Earth. In the real world NASA has kept an eye on this particular asteroid and it has little threat to Earth in 2029 and in 2036 which makes it great for viewing with your telescope if your still alive because it will be very close to the Earth, but in the videogame world we all love doom and gloom here so let’s bring on the apocalypse shall we. Arks have been made to support humanity and your one of the lucky ones chosen to survive. You wake up over 100 years later after the impact with all of the crew in your Ark dead. As you come out of the Ark you notice that humanity has lived on, but the world is in shambles. Mutants, The Authority. They all want you dead or alive and it’s worth quite a bit of dough to them. Luckily, your hide is saved, but what you do next is all up to you.

Now let me get a few things straight before I go on with this review. For a while, people have been considering Rage as a cross between Fallout 3 and Borderlands. One thing it does have in common is it’s open world. However, that’s where all the similarities end. Rage is a first-person shooter. However, it is not an RPG. It also doesn’t have the the long running time like most RPGs have. You can finish the game in around 12-15 hours. For those of you who want to explore more, do sidequests (a good tip: talk to all the NPCs), find hidden goodies, and whore up achievements then the game will take a little longer. In the end it all comes down to how committed you are. Let me tell you that the majority of the missions are of the go fetch variety which kind of makes me wonder why your character woke up from the Ark in the first place, because it looks like in Rage you’ve become the latest version of “man’s best friend.”

So let’s talk a little bit about the whole commitment angle. Besides the storyline and sidequests, the graphical detail and framerate make up the other end of the spectrum. As a whole, Rage looks absolutely amazing. The graphical detail is second to none the best I’ve seen on the Xbox 360 to date. Sure it has the typical wasteland colors (aka a lot of shades of brown), the the level of detail found in this game will blow you away. There is a catch. This would be the disc install. To have Rage run at it’s best, id Software had recommended Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 players to install the game on thier hard drives. Playstation 3 owners need only 8GB of space. Xbox 360 owners need 22GB of free space for the three disc download. Holy shit that’s a ton of room for just one game. Good thing I have my 250GB HDD.

I also want to commend id Software on the enemy AI. Back in the early days of id with games like Wofenstein, the enemy AI was a little weak. Most of the enemies would just stand in place waiting for them to shoot you. Doom and Quake were much better and the AI put up more of a fight. Now with Rage the enemy AI can almost read your mind on how your going to kill them. OK, reading your mind is a little much, but see for yourself. Enemies will duck under cover, avoid shots by jumping out of the way, climb ceilings, and so much more. I love the fact that this AI, even on normal difficulty, will give you a challenge. One recommendation for everyone out there is when it comes to the use of weapons, use them all. I even suggest comboing with them for some cool death moments. The enemy AI will react to how you shoot them so you don’t have to always go for the head. Hell, I shot a mutant in the nuts and it was hilarious to watch them die no longer having any testicles attatched.

Multiplayer also plays a role here in Rage where you and some friends can play in some local splitscreen or against everyone else online. If your a fan of the Mad Max movies then you’ll find Rage’s ultiplayer interesting because it moslty broken up into races. That’s right wasteland survivors, there is no typical deathmatch style gunplay here. Shocking much? One of the game modes is basically a racing game while the other might fancy those who love Twisted Metal. It’s been awhile since we had some good vehicular combat and Rage will fill that spot. Players can use their vehicles and literally “rage” against other players in a demolition derby type of combat. This mode is a lot of fun to play while the racing portion was a pass for me. In my opinion that’s what racing games are for. Overall, multiplayer is nothing too special especially when there’s so many other titles out there.

Overall, I found Rage a great experience. Sure I’ve been to the wasteland about as many times as a World War II or zombie game, but each experience at times is fresh and unique. The most fun your going to get out of Rage will be how much you put into the game, and whether you want to do the disc install as well. id Software has always been known to take their time in making an epic game and Rage is a fantastic example to that moniker. Rage is clearly a buy so get it right now, or at least before the world ends in an asteroid collision. OK, that won’t happen in our lifetime, but I still suggest you buy the game.

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