The 7th of October 2011 saw the latest release from id software. The FPS specialists had released a first person action game with a few cool additions and twists. It was clear DOOM 3 had missed the target with fans hoping for a revolutionary update, so RAGE was id’s gift to the fans. Realistic weapons, jaw-dropping graphics, life-like characters, immersive towns, gambling and even some mod death racing helped id deliver a game that left DOOM 3 standing in a puddle of its own mess. But with all this effort came the dreaded (an ridiculously early) bargain bins. One thing is for sure…RAGE will go down as one of the most misunderstood FPS games of all time.
RAGE has a reported 2.31 sales under its belt but sadly, a huge majority of this came due to special offer price tags (gamers have been able to buy RAGE new for £10-£12 for quite a while now!). So what the hell pushed RAGE off the top charts and into that wired basket of death? Lets take a closer look:
The Story of RAGE
Simple but effective. You play as the only survivor of an arc that crashed back down to earth, quite a while after an asteroid had almost wiped humanity off the face of it. You’re never really sure how long you were in the arc after it crashed, but the decomposing corpses of your surrounding team mates and the new-age wasteland of survivors, give you the hint that you’ve missed all the finales of every series you’ve ever loved…and there’s no surviving On-Demand service!
Played out through the eyes of the survivor, the story is very simple, brief and in drips and drabs. Is this a bad thing? No. It’s actually more realistic. Your’re simply listening, seeing and piecing together through the perspective of a lost survivor. It won’t all come to you in a Star Wars-like opening. This is as real as it gets. It’s now a case of opening the arc door and seeing what’s outside. It’s not a friendly place…
D4G: It’s simple but realistic. You’ve just crashed back to earth and now it’s a very different, hostile and ‘dog-eat-dog’ place to be. Think Mad Max but with much better cars and guns!
The Graphics of RAGE
RAGE doesn’t use individual textures like other games. Instead, id use one huge and highly detailed texture, that completely covers the landscape. The result is a jaw-dropping adventure through some of the most realistic and detailed looking environments ever seen in an FPS!
D4G: id have finally made up for DDOM 3 and realised that graphics don’t just sell games. RAGE looks and plays superbly and with this combination, we can’t wait to see what’s next for RAGE and DOOM!
The Weapons of RAGE
Some of the best we’ve seen and heard in an FPS! Even the shotgun looks awesome (and you’ll be using that a lot!). DOOM 3 suffered major criticism with its weapon designs and sound effects. RAGE clearly has made up for this and you’ll not only have access to mean looking and sounding hand guns, shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, pulse rifles/chain guns and cross bows, you’ll also get to engineer additional ammo for each of them. Want more of a punch, explosion or spark to your shots? Head to the engineering menu and get creating!
D4G: id have given us the beefy weapons we all crave…and then some! Your arsenal will look and sound amazing but the addition of being able to build more powerful ammo throughout the game, adds to the overall action element of this FPS. Weapons and ammo are just one strategic method for taking down your foes…there’s plenty more strategy and fun to be had in the world of RAGE!
The Characters and Surviving Towns of RAGE
From the moment you step outside your arc, you’re greeted, guided and influenced by the great characters of RAGE. They’ll save your butt and fill you in on what’s gone down since the arc doors shut on you, train and hone your skills, keep you up to date with gossip and of course, sell you everything you need to survive in the relentless wastelands. Character interaction is a very important part of RAGE and was one of the main reasons why we enjoyed the game so much.
D4G: To truly feel part of another world, you’ll need believable and realistic characters that accompany it. id executed this aspect perfectly and did it to the point where you looked forward to heading back to your local town after a brutal mission. Most NPC’s will always have something new to say whether it be gossip or job requests and we loved the realistic touch of only having to approach a character in order to get a reaction/conversation/thank you (instead of having to press a button on them). This, along with shop keepers that stay in full view as you browse their inventory, (enabling you to see them as they explain items or thank you) help create an incredibly detailed and realistic atmosphere around RAGE’s surviving towns.
The Enemies and Gameplay of RAGE
You’ve got the uber weaponry but you still need the bad guys. id sure put effort into enemy design and variety with RAGE. Many games are criticised for having too few enemy types, but RAGE hits you with several new enemy types with every new location! Basic, fast mutants and bandits (that provide a surprising challenge from the start) to gigantic mutant bosses. Tougher Gear-head bandits to the authority Enforcers of the wasteland…the list still goes on! Add to this never having to backtrack through story-driven missions and the ability to engineer toys of death to assist you, and you have an FPS with attitude…and we haven’t even reached the vehicles of RAGE yet!
D4G: The sheer amount of enemies keep the action fresh, but the ability to engineer bot turrets, bomb buggies (similar to those in Modern Warfare games) and even mind control darts (allowing you to temporarily control the enemy in third-person before detonating them) add to the strategy and fun of RAGE. BFG rounds for a plasma gun, will bring back memories of surviving alone on mars and keep an eye-out for a certain space marine figure at the beginning of the game.
The enemy AI and vocal work is also of a very high standard. Instead of simply hiding and waiting their turn to become lead cushions, remaining enemies will opt to quickly fall-back and regroup, forcing you into another outnumbered and outgunned situation. Listening to authority enemies shout to each other “he’s taken out the entire squad” or hearing one of them scream out “oh shit!” as a grenade toss goes horribly wrong, all help add to the realism of intense combat. Oh…and RAGE also lets you save just about anywhere!
We also really appreciated the thought that went into every story-driven location. The player is always given a shortcut back out of a mission location (once completed) so there is never any back tracking. It’s only a few side missions that will have you heading back to familiar territory, but even then the locations will be modified. We salute id for their incredible efforts to keep RAGE’s gameplay fresh.
Additional Gameplay Elements of RAGE
As well as being a solid FPS with great weapons, fresh enemies and offering a host of battle strategies, RAGE also keeps it fresh with some cool gameplay additions. The major element being racing. To earn respect as a surviving outsider, you’ll need to hit fame by winning races. Such races will have you completing simple time trails to then have you progress to actual races. Once you prove yourself worthy of racing competition, RAGE throws in a bit of ‘Death Race’ rules. You can drop mines, fire heat-seeking missiles and put up temporary shields to help you win that all important lap or checkpoint race.
Once you start winning races, you’ll be awarded certificates which can be used to upgrade your car. There are 4 vehicles to earn and each can be modified with weapons and defensive systems with your racing certificates. But as you explore the towns with certificates in-hand, you’ll notice bars and town games. RAGE also offers gambling to not only add additional gameplay elements, but to help you earn vital cash for ammo and upgrades. The hologram mutant v human game is fun to bet on, but the one you’ll be coming back to is the card game. Scattered throughout the wasteland are collector cards. These work like The Eye of Judgement as they each represent friend or foe in the world of RAGE (with damage, health and special abilities symbolised on their card). Simply build a good deck and take them to the nearest bar to battle for cash. Useful and very addictive once you acquire some good cards.
D4G: The additional games just add to RAGE’s playability. Races can be played in online multiplayer and the gambling additions are fun and also very useful for upgrading weapons, armour and purchasing vital ammunition. You’ll also need cash for engineering schematics as well as the materials to build them. Our highlight would have to be the card game. It takes the card games of FFVIII and The Eye of Judgement and turns them into a much more user friendly and competitive experience. However, we have found our first negative with the races. It seems that if you go all-out and win every race of RAGE, no one really seems to care. You’re not given any form of winning cut-scene or trophy. In fact, you’re not congratulated in any way! There’s even an NPC that says you have what it takes to win the lot, but once you do…he seems to have forgotten that conversation ever took place…
The Ending of RAGE
So far, we’ve only really found one negative with the completion of races. But the most criticised aspect of RAGE is unfortunately…how it comes to a close. Should you still buy RAGE? YES! RAGE is one of the best FPS games out there, it’s just that its ending should have been treated with more care.
All-in-all RAGE is a superb FPS that should be experienced by every FPS fan. Rumours of the game only taking 12 hours to complete are all false. We didn’t even complete all sub-quests (jobs) in the second half of RAGE and we still racked up 25hrs on the clock. It just goes to show that many critics simply can’t play such games the way us gamers would. They’re forever buried under review deadlines, leading to many rushed playthroughs. Believe us when we say that RAGE is NOT a 12hr game!
Id have proven that they have what it takes to build story, characters and addictive and strategic FPS gameplay. This is not only great news for RAGE 2, it’s also superb news for the officially announced DOOM 4!
Go out and buy RAGE new, if you haven’t already! Then come back in time for our next article which will focus on what we want to see in RAGE 2!