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RAGE review

Tom Morgan
19 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

It isn't as revolutionary as we were hoping, but RAGE is still a great action game with big ideas

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RAGE is a massive departure for developer id software – its previous titles have all been dark, claustrophobic corridor shooters, but their latest action game finally lets you see the sun. As one of the last survivors of an Ark – subterranean vaults built to protect their inhabitants from an impending asteroid impact – you’re dropped into the desolate wastelands of a future Earth, in the midst of a war between the totalitarian Authority and the repressed guerrilla resistance.

In reality, the plot only serves to link together each of the games numerous locations, where you and an arsenal of weapons are left to your own devices, solving problems gun-barrel first. Don’t let the RPG-style quest, inventory and crafting systems fool you, as gameplay is as satisfyingly brutal as we’ve come to expect from an id game. However, despite having much larger levels than in previous titles, you’re still constrained to small areas at a time until you finish off all enemies in the vicinity. Waiting for the next attacker to burst through the door so you can progress soon gets repetitive, as can the constant backtracking between missions. Most quests begin and end at the same hub level, with a hefty expanse of wasteland to cover in between.

Rage racing

Luckily, you don’t have to travel between bandit-infested areas on foot – a fleet of mad-max style vehicles equipped with rocket launchers and miniguns are on hand to speed up your journey. New cars, weapons and performance upgrades can be bought, but not for cash. You’ll need to win races for certificates which can be traded for new equipment. These take the form of time trials and races against AI opponents around parts of the world map, and are surprisingly good fun. They rarely prove a challenge, as the shield and instant repair power-ups mean you’re rarely in danger of being blown up right before the final straight.

RAGE looks stunning from a distance, thanks to id’s proprietary mega-texture technology – without any repeating textures, each new environment is both unique and full of character. Once you get up close, however, things aren’t quite so impressive – objects have much lower resolution textures than their surroundings and stick out jarringly, which detracts from the otherwise immersive experience. The game had its fair share of graphical problems when it launched, mostly due to the lack of driver support from AMD, and although many of these have been solved via patches or updates, there are still places where you can see how console development has hobbled the PC release.

We didn’t find the game particularly difficult, mainly due to the abundance of quick-use healing items and the last-ditch defibrillator – when you lose enough health, a small mini-game kicks in, letting you revive instantly without penalty. You can stay stocked up with ammunition for very little cash, so there’s no need to conserve your bullets as you would in other games.

Rage shooting

The campaign can be finished in around eleven hours, even by completionists that want to finish all the side quests and find the hidden collectors cards. There is a multiplayer component, but we were surprised that a traditional deathmatch mode isn’t part of it considering id practically invented the genre. Instead, a co-op based story mode that compliments the main game can be played with a friend, or you can head online with the vehicle based Rage rally. Like a strange combination of Mario Kart and Twisted Metal, you compete against other players to rack up vehicle kills in enclosed arenas. It’s admittedly quite good fun, although we would have loved a regular first-person game mode as well. RAGE certainly isn’t perfect – the huge vistas and open wastelands are surprisingly linear, as is the main storyline, and the action sequences are just as orchestrated as any other action shooter we’ve played this year, but in spite of its issues we still had a blast. The pacing is quick, with just enough variety in its missions and side quests to keep you entertained until the end. There’s not a huge amount of replay value, but there’s plenty of fun to be had along the way.

Details

Price£30
Detailswww.rage.com
Rating****