It’s time to enter a vast wasteland filled with danger. Rage is a game published by Bethesda and developed by the almighty id Software, and it’s fast-paced, hard hitting FPS shooter. It features first-person shooter action, and third-person vehicular combat, all based in an expansive post-apocalyptic world, powered by id’s new revolutionary Tech 5 game engine; and all I can say is its jaw dropping gorgeous. This is a game that shows the future of graphics and it’s mind-blowing; clearly, it’s been developed by some the the worlds top developers. In addition to the story-driven single-player experience, there are also exclusive co-op modes you can play with friends and an online rally race car combat mode available.
The PC version of Rage suffered something of a bumpy release, with its graphics not re-drawing properly – something that I could not believe id would have in a release version of such a high profile game. One quick patch later, though, the problem was sorted, and with the patch installed and ready to go, I fell in love with this game from the start. I am a huge FPS fan and do enjoy a good storyline, which this game defiantly has, along with some decent shooting action. The story sees an asteroid, called the Apophis, strike the earth on August the 23rd, 2039, and, as a result, the few pockets of survivors scattered around our planet are forced to begin a new civilization.
The story begins as you awaken from a long sleep in deep stasis, 106 years after being put into an underground shelter called an Ark. As soon as you exit your Ark you are attacked by mutants, but you are quickly saved by someone and taken to safety. This is where you begin to learn more about what happened and what exactly lies ahead of you in the fight to build a new civilization. In Rage’s world, a constant fight for survival is going on between the various factions that exist. We have the Resistance, Mutants, The Wasted Clan, The Ghost Clan, The Scorcher Clan, The Shrouded Clan, The JackalClan, The Gearheads and finally The Authority. There are quite a few as you can see and they all have their own stories. Each faction have their strengths and their weaknesses, all of which you slowly get to know and find a way to use their weaknesses against them. The storyline in this game is solid and keeps you going back for more.
This game is not your bog standard FPS though, it is set in an open world where you also have a bit of RPG-style thrown in to the mix. You have the opportunity to talk to the many characters in the game and do lots of side missions to gain new items and weapons. You even get to find recipes that require various parts which you find scattered around the various locations you will visit. Each recipe is for a different item, such as a Lock Grinder that gains you access to locked doors, behind which you will often find lots of ammo. The game will take you hours if you look in every nook and cranny for stuff and do every mission that comes your way. You also have a range of vehicles that you get to drive. These are souped up off-road cars that you get to kit-out with various weapons and armor. These items become available to trade in exchange for racing certificates which are won by competing in races that are like a mini-racing game on their own.
Now don’t let the RPG-style missions, inventory and crafting systems fool you, as Rage’s gameplay is as satisfyingly brutal as we’ve come to expect from an id game. This game is really well thought out and, as we would expect from id software, what we have here is a really enjoyable experience.
The graphics, as I have already said, are fantastic, even on my dual-core system they look great. The run flawlessly with no lag whatsoever, and my system doesn’t even have the anti-aliasing ramped up to the max. There are no bad distortion artifacts to be had here. I would love to see the game with al the effects turned up, as when they are, this has to be one of the best looking games seen in a long time. This is largely because of id Software’s new engine, id Tech 5, which draws the textures dynamically as you play. As a result, therefore you can have huge amounts of detail and this doesn’t affect your game as you play as it adjusts to keep your framerate high.
The sound effects in Rage are immersive and help the various areas you travel across come alive. For example, in one location you can hear the sound of something large coming your way as you battle the weaker mutants, until rubble falls from above you, off buildings and then, suddenly, you gulp as you are faced with a huge mutant with great intent on killing you. The enemies AI in Rage is fantastic, they seek you out, they hide behind objects and as you shoot various limbs they limp or fall to the ground in agony. It’s some of the best AI have seen in recent years.
Rage also includes a multiplayer side too, and it is not bad at all. You can enter races in your buggies; gain access to better buggies as you rank-up by winning races. You can also play Mutant Bash TV from the single player campaign with a mate too, which is much more fun. Mutant Bash TV is basically a game where you progress through various rooms in a circus-style television show, fighting off hordes of various mutants that attack you. In the single player campaign you win money for each event, and as you do more and more shows for the weird looking producer, they get harder but you get more cash at the end. I enjoyed the multiplayer games, although I will say that if you are looking for a game to join when your mates are not available to play, it may be a bit hard. I found it hit-and-miss finding a game at certain times of day.
One last thing I want to mention is this game has hidden easter eggs, which are always fun. Not many games seem to have these nowadays, which is a shame, as it’s always fun trying to find them. I won’t spoil anything, like telling you what they are or how to get them, I will say, however, they involve titles from id’s past like Doom and Wolfenstein, and they are worth doing for a bit of fun.
Rage is not perfect though, it does have its issues. For example, during the game as you progress further into the story the location of your main source of missions you changes at various stages. You start off in a small outpost in the vast wasteland, and end up in larger cities. I did find that you keep returning to these same locations over and over for different missions. This can get a bit tedious, as the game sometimes feels the samewith you just having a different task to do. However, it is mainly a FPS mainly and this is what you would expect. Don’t let this put you off, as each mission has its own rewards.
Their is not much more I can say about Rage. I thoroughly enjoyed it and spent a good number of hours battling my way through it. You may finish it quicker if you only stick to the main storyline, but I would suggest you do all the missions possible as they all are great fun and you will get more for your money. Its great to see a new id title and I can’t wait to see what they release next. There is so much here that I can’t possibly tell you everything, you will need to play it for yourselves.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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