ID Software has finally released Rage and has delivered one of the most beautiful titles to hit consoles this generation. One thing that is immediately apparent is that id Software really knows how to get the most out of the Xbox 360. The graphical fidelity is pretty amazing and Rage controls smoother than any game I have played in quite a while. Everything seems to flow naturally and that is one of the factors that makes the gameplay in Rage so satisfying. At its heart Rage is a first person shooter, however, id has thrown in different mechanics as well to change things up. In addition to being a first person shooter Rage also has vehicle sequences that are a lot of fun. There will be times when you have to get from one point to another as quick as you can and then other times when it resembles a car combat game. It is this mix of different play styles that makes Rage a lot of fun to play.
You begin the game waking up in your cryogenic chamber. Once you get your bearings you head outside and are immediately present with this beautiful post-apocalyptic landscape. After taking a few steps forward you are suddenly attacked by a mutant and then saved by a stranger in the distance. You quickly learn that you are an “Ark survivor” and that an already dangerous world will become even more dangerous for you once everyone is aware of your existence. The Authority has been rounding up Ark survivors and eliminating them for reasons I won’t spoil here. In addition to the Authority you will also encounter various factions that will have no problem taking you out if they get the chance in addition to mutants roaming the wasteland. Seeing as how no one knows who you are you have to spend the first part of the game getting in the good graces of people living in settlements and towns. The Authority has put a bounty on your head and while the citizens of these respective settlements and towns won’t turn you in, they are nervous about you bringing unwanted attention to their area. One great way to earn their respect is to complete side missions which you can get by talking with people or checking the local jobs board.
There is also a bit of an RPG element to Rage as well. As you progress in the game you will earn money and find parts. Something that you must do in Rage is be aware of your surroundings and search everywhere for items. You might find something that seems useless but it becomes valuable to you at a later time. You will come across schematics as well and those will allow you to build different items and weapons. With these schematics you can build explosive RC cars, create bandages to help you heal quicker and much more. With the money that you earn you can go to shops in town and buy more ammo, upgrades for your equipment and various other items that will come in handy during your adventure. Each weapon also has different kinds of ammo that you can utilize. Obviously armor piercing bullets will work best against enemies with a lot of armor while utilizing “fatboy” ammo that is more powerful than your standard pistol ammunition will work better on a different group of enemies. There is also some decent weapon variety with a crossbow where you can fire electro bolts into a puddle of water that enemies are standing in to electrocute them and a shotgun that will send charging enemies flying backwards. You can upgrade the vehicle(s) that you drive by winning races and earning race certificates. This will allow you to purchase upgrades for your vehicle(s) such as adding mini guns to it, getting better tires, having more boost available to you and more.
As I progressed through the story there were a couple of annoyances that would pop up. The first thing that was a bit irritating was the checkpoint system in this game doesn’t work very well. There were a few occasions when even after an auto save kicked in, if I got killed then I had to start at the beginning of the dungeon. It can be incredibly frustrating when you have been working your way through an area and then all of sudden you lose everything that you did for the past thirty minutes. It is for this reason that you will want to get in the habit of manually saving your progress from time to time. Another item that was a bit disappointing was how they reused some of the environments. There is even an achievement for going through one particular area and then going through it again later in reverse. There also could have been a little more emphasis on the actual story but that is just a personal preference.
In addition to the single player campaign there is also a host of features to try with your friends in multiplayer. First off is Road Rage. Road Rage is the competitive multiplayer aspect of Rage. There are four different modes to select from including Meteor Rally, Chain Rally, Triad Rally and Carnage. Meteor Rally is a lot of fun and that is where you have to collect fallen meteors and drive them back to your capture zone. In Chain Rally you have to take Rally Points and chain them together for a high score. To prevent your opposition from racking up a high score you can take them about by shooting rockets at them as well as utilizing the guns on your vehicle. Getting to know the maps is a huge advantage as there are health packs laying around and more that will help give you the edge in this mode. In Triad Rally you have to capture three consecutive Rally Points to score, changing up some of the strategy you might have used in Chain Rally. Carnage is a big free fall and is essentially the “deathmatch” of the game. You have to kill enemies to score and the highest score at the end of the round wins the game. I had fun with all of these modes and enjoyed seeing the influence of other games from other genres. There is also another part of Rage multiplayer with the Wasteland Legends. Wasteland Legends are additional side quests that you can do with a friend that complements the campaign. There are nine scenarios for you to plow through ranging from shutting down a Gearhead’s operation to taking back Wellspring and more. You can invite your friends over Xbox Live or play locally via split screen.
When it comes right down to it, I had a lot of fun playing Rage. Despite my complaints above I enjoyed going through the world that id Software created and I do hope to see a sequel in a few years. As I mentioned above, Rage runs incredibly smooth on the 360 and it is definitely one of the most beautiful games to hit the console. I enjoyed the variety the gameplay had to offer and I thought the game was paced pretty well. Id Software has created a fun new universe and I can’t wait to experience the next chapter.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network